Ardakh Nurgaz. The Apple School

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(A novel)

I. The Study Room

I am ignorant and miserable. Other people also think like that. Even my wife and my daughter share the same opinion. I feel it from their gaze when they ignore and feel annoyed by my words. My elder son works as a security and thinks of himself as a brilliant minded and wise person. He believes that he is from head to toe just like his mother and does not talk much to me. As he does not want to be approached by an ignorant, old-fashioned, silly person. Mostly he seems to hide the fact that he has a father like me. He acts himself as firm as possible, and grins from ear to ear to everyone, he is in good relation with everybody, however after some while act as if he does not know any of them. He was taught such behaviour by society and by his sphere of communication. It is clear to me. But, I do not want to disclose it. Why do I need it? My youngest son is nine years old. Only he cares about me. He communicates with every person equally, calmly, and straightly says his opinion. We have a good relationship. During a discussion or a debate talk, we speak likewise and coherently. There is no barrier between us. I consider that because he is young. My elder son seemed to be like that too. Yet, as time passed, as he got older, our relationship became more complicated. He became an adult, and we were alienated from each other. He has his own life, and I live with my own. Even if we have an amiable and pleasing discussion during breakfast or dinner, even if we talk about life, it is clear that our relationship is and will not be the same anymore. I consider that he is an adult, now. Maybe one day my youngest son as his brother will find his path in this world. That is a pity. Nevertheless, what can I do? When I play with him in his childish games, I think about something when we happily spend time together and do whatever he wants. One day you will not have a desire to play these games anymore, and you will not ask me to spend time with you, in that case, an old game will be replaced by a new one. That day approaches faster than you think. However, till that time I will play with you as long as you desire. My wife Sara is one of the most stylish people. Even though she is over fifty years old, always prefers to wear the latest glowing fashion designer clothes and communicates with young girls and boys aged from twenty to thirty. From the morning to the evening she cares only about cloth, fashion and her hectic work. She leaves the house in the morning and returns in the evening. She is always in rush. My daughter studies in the fourth year of university in a foreign country. In the future, she wants to continue her mother's way, so at the moment she is studying design. Right now, I am a teacher of philosophy at the university. But, lately, I stopped working. Why did I do so, is not clear even to me. One day I got up and had my breakfast, and when I walked in the house back and forth like someone who had lost something. What I was looking for was my black, leather bag, where I usually put my books. I could not find it. It was not in its usual or previous place. I did not know where I put it and neither did anyone else would know about that. Anyway, I could not find my bag, and I was late for work. While I was being late, I notified in advance the teacher on duty and told her that if everything is good I would be there as soon as possible. I switched off my phone, and at that moment something came into my mind. It seemed like I had finished something vital and felt more freely. What if I stop looking for my bag, or even do not go anywhere even to work and stay at home. I thought that I did not need an unnecessary and meaningless job and that I was controlled by it. Then I neither wanted to go there. Except for me, no one was at home. Nobody cared about my existence and location, no one looked for me. In our three-floored house, I moved from here to there as a ghost. I entered my library. Once all my pride and meaning in my life were here. My books stayed in perfect order and took up three walls of a room. The works of philosophers, politicians, famous people, great poets, writers, economists, and scientists. I felt them from deep in my heart. I considered them acquaintances of mine. But nowadays, it seems like they went back into their books. As they look from the top to me. I went to the kitchen on the second floor. I turned on the oven and boiled some water. I was in a dilemma about drinking a coffee or water with lemon. It would be better if I drank the coffee. I made the coffee to myself; I began to feel that not going to work was a good idea; I considered myself a free and independent person. My next goal was to drink a cup of nice coffee. About other things, I would think later. My coffee was ready. I went to the second floor with a cup of coffee and had a choice between the bedroom and the library. While I was lifting to the second floor, my eyes were inevitably beheld by the portrait on the wall. It was my father’s enormous portrait. His appearance seemed as it was yesterday. I inevitably felt trembled. My father was a hot-tempered, serious and strict person. These features were clear to mention even from the portrait. I glanced at my father. Last night I had a dream about him. He was the same as I am looking right now. As from my childhood, no, as this portrait that was looking at me with furious eyes. You ask what did he say. He said exactly this one. ‘You offended me, you are miserable and useless, you are not my son, you do not have a character, our name, reputation was insulted by you, now you are repugnant, do not you embarrassed by the next generation, I am going to be embarrassed instead, why do not you leave instead of living with such life…’ My mother was also there and was trying to save me from my father’s punches, again and again, she was trying to hug me. I was standing without any movement. It was not clear whether I was listening or not. I was soundless. Even, though it seemed like I was not afraid of anything. Then I woke up in my bedroom. I was sweating. I had been sleeping in a different room with my wife for years. I sat on my bed for a while at night and considered my father’s behaviour and imagined it. I was about thirty years old when my father passed away. My elder sisters are happily married, and my parents were extremely satisfied with it. My father was a politician. Reached many political achievements. He was very honoured by his colleagues and acquaintances. But, he did not want me to follow his steps. Instead gave me a chance to choose my path and life. We had never talked or shared ideas about life as father and son. As usual, he was cold to me. He had never said anything extra. Even, seemed like he was a stranger to me. I guess, since my childhood, he was strict with me, so we were in a quite complicated relationship with him. However, I loved my father. But, I had never told anyone else or even hid it from myself. I had a dream about him. In my dream, he was worse than he was alive, insulting and scolding me. He said that I am a huge ‘ embarrassment’. I left my father’s portrait and entered my library. Am I really stupid and miserable? Of course not. But, others do think like that. Moreover, even my deceased father thinks the same. He said: ‘ that as alive person you have no worth, in front the young generation you have lost your dignity, you are nothing…’ Then what should I have to do? Maybe, I had to be a leader, or had to become rich and have a luxurious life, or had to become a fat politician in front of society. They consider as I have to be in a noisy area, where the money is the most important thing, then I could become someone that they could respect as a smart person. When I think about it, I become furious. After drinking the coffee, I put it away. In the last thirty years I saw independence from different angles, the desperate kind of problems, betrayals, deceitfulnesses and different kinds of greed, and the personalities, who were considered a success, after became worthless.They know and understand nothing about me, and yet consider me an ignorant person. By such behaviour, they seem to appreciate that my miserable life is not good enough to change their deceitful and full of lies lives. My father was furious with me that he insulted me in front of the younger generation. Am I? After two or three years who knows what will happen. Today’s life might be considered a myth. The next generation will only dream about you. They would say: ’ I had such an ancestor, he or she was compelling, and that or this.’ That is all. No one can tell then anything about nowadays exactly and clear. The distance between truth and lie will become too close. If nobody could tell the exact thing about who was who, who did what, then it will be meaningless. The next generation says, writes, and creates the past for their needs. Were you a martial or coward would make no difference to them. But, if you will write correctly and keep it, then that is different, of course. The future generation will know you depend on how rightly you wrote. How you write, it might be that you will be understood in that way. Then why not write? I should write this year’s history as I have seen and walked through it by myself. The desperate kind of problems, betrayals, deceitfulnesses and different kinds of greed, poverty about all of them I will write as I wish. Then who will become successful? A person who was — in his life, but, wrote it in a different way, me, or who lived as a bastard in their life, but, at the end was forgotten as a cloud of dust? Dear readers, here I am sharing my work with the next five hundred thousand years old generations. I want to clarify, as you have mentioned the miserliness of the story is not about my life, it is about people who think that they are superior to others for stealing money from the nation such as politicians and rich men (businessmen). My life is the same as yours: not successful. The successful people consider me ignorant and miserable. Then, let’s see who is who. Moreover, I would like to mention that while writing this story, I as well as want to share about my daily life during the writing process. Now, have a piece of good luck. So, I decided to write a novel. At that moment, I remembered about the room that was located upstairs. It was the first room that I made by myself about 15-20 years ago when we first entered this three-storey house. It also was a library and I kept there some of my books. Most of them were collected by me in my youth. When I was studying in Moscow and bought books on Arbat street. I loved them so much. In youth, people tend to be more selfish. I did not want to show my books to anyone, not even mentioning about lending them. There were also my necessities during the army and the items, I received in Afghanistan. This room seemed like my homeland, where I dream a lot by myself. Absolutely everything in this room is related to me. I wanted to go there. I went to the third floor and stayed in front of the door. The key should be in the drawer beneath the flower cube that is next to the door. That is it. I took the key, opened the door and went in. There is a ring staircase leading straight to the ceiling. So I got upstairs. My writing desk, books, a long couch, two glass surfaces with a whole open wall. It is a wall of white Alatau and a few places in Almaty, as it is in the palm of your hand. Before, I could stay in this room for several days. Reading the book was my main hobby. After a long meeting at night, I did not usually hurry to sleep, instead, I came here and read books. Reading books and listening to music used to be my favourite hobbies and habits. Sometimes I stayed here for a whole night. There is a room behind the wall full of books. But I did not want to sleep there, instead, I preferred to relax on the couch. In the morning, firstly, one of my children while standing on the stairs called me for the breakfast: "Daddy, are you there? Let’s have breakfast!” And I answered them with a sleepy voice: ‘Ok, I am coming, wait for a second...’ Here, that is the room. As it was before. I entered and came near to the shelf. I looked around as if I was looking for something exact. I saw three volumed books by Hegel in English. The next one was Platon. I touched a blue, hard covered, double volumed book. I took the first volume. Bertrand Russell's work is called "Wisdom of the West". I remember another work of Russell. The work is called "The History of Western Philosophy”. I flipped the book and put it in its place. I turned to my desk. The table was almost empty. Just the pencil case and one sheet of paper were on there. I sat on the chair. As if I returned to the abandoned days. When I took the paper, I saw something back on it. Half of the paper was written. It seemed like the beginning of a note. At that moment, someone knocked on the door. Who was he?

Translated by Bayan Ardakh

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