I take a photo with me. It’s a snapshot, a momentary picture.

This picture shows a woman.

In fact I don’t really want to see her.

(We rarely see each other and barely talk).

I wouldn’t call her to say «I leave» neither to say «I love». It would appear ridiculous to someone, who is purely and passionately in love. Putting aside purity and passion, I’m not in love. Strictly speaking I’m… Well, I’d rather put it all in order.

To someone I may appear a blown bulb, but I’d rather say I feel like a graphite core, carbonized, half burned, still smoking in the heart of an atomic reactor. It no longer gives the heat, doesn’t produce no energy. Just once in a while, under specific conditions, it squirts (squirt – that’s the word!) some radiation.

Follow the weather reports, ladies and gentlemen! Especially when the winds are blowing from the northeastern direction!

That’s how, briefly speaking, I can describe my relationship with that photo. Not with a woman, but with a photo. I think there’s no need to explain…

Still I’ll try.

The picture I’m taking with me belongs to the times I took pictures: not shots, nor close-ups… pictures… Do you get what I’m saying?

There’s one more important question to be answered: why she? Maybe it’s because she creates some specific meteorological conditions in my room? As Tom Waits puts it: «a precarious emotional situation in a left wing of my apartment?»

I never miss her, actually.

I’ve lived without her for too many years and will go on living that way. It may be the reason why I allow myself to think I love her – I know perfectly well: we’re never to be together.

My cowardice may be speaking for me now, saying that I love her, because I know – it’s secure. And possibly that’s why I never loved anyone so strongly. And, probably, never will.

I don’t want to see her, don’t feel an immense need for her. I just know that when this graphite core senses the water (or any other liquid, dripping on it) the reaction is guaranteed…


And for someone all those are synonyms!..

Drop of a deep blue substance slowly resolving in some transparent matter. Nothing’s happening here – no fizzing of the chemical ingredients, like on the school chemistry lessons. Just one incredible formless spot. That is LO-VE…

Still, I can turn the tap off; I can cover it all with a waterproof sheet.

Everyone has this graphite core. Even quite a few of these.

That one in particular is harmless, and, therefore, so dear…

Those, that are dangerous, are stored at the very bottom of my trunk. I couldn’t leave them at home, pretend to misplace them or threw away in an old bag with a broken handle.

What can I do to them? How can I misplace (disintegrate, get rid of) things, which are a part of me?

Tightly rolled in tarpaulin, they remain where they always where, and for some time I can fear no reaction…

And this face on the photograph… This face. This knee. This grace…

Today she’ll come to my farewell party. I know she’ll come – she called me a few times, saying she couldn’t let me go without seeing last minutes of me here. She never asked to remind her an address – she knows it by heart!

She loves me, so she’ll arrive.

Well, she hadn’t…

Ease… I’m at ease now!

The Geiger counter hasn’t clattered even though the conditions were most favorable.

We’re both free.

Now I can leave. And never come back.

The baggage is getting lighter… less 0.5 grams

Someone said it is the weigh of one’s soul. No talk of soul here…

I just take the picture out of the book, already packed in the very bottom of a heavy traveler’s bag…

text and photo by Aleksei Bobrovnikov

For Russian version click here — http://chtivo.org/archives/306