для читателей старше 18 лет
If I love the other person, I feel one with him or her, but with him as he is, not as I need him to be…
— Erich Fromm
An understanding of his horrible situation came to him gradually. He couldn’t say with full certainty when this nightmare began, but he took the day when he first woke up with a terrible headache as a starting point. He was staggering, sick, suffered from intense thirst, and judging by the sensations, he could fall and give up the ghost at any moment. The first time, he attributed everything to exhaustion: receiving many orders, he worked tirelessly, and sometimes he slept only a few miserable hours a day. Of course, any other person would recognize a banal hangover in such symptoms. However, one important fact contradicted with this diagnosis: a talented young sculptor didn’t drink alcohol at all — not only on the previous day but in principle, making no exceptions even for the celebrations.
However, the situation repeated over and over again. Now, the artist suspected to have some kind of disease. And he was right, in a sense, although the disease was entirely different from what he had imagined.
Then, he noticed that his money disappeared, next — dishes and family jewellery, and to top it all — everything that would be possible to put in pledge in a pawnshop, sell to a usurer or exchange for questionable services. Naturally, these incidents couldn’t be attributed to fatigue: realizing that he had been robbed, the sculptor, at the same time, couldn’t claim any particular person.
His inherited house stood detached, so he had no neighbours. A few friends, pals and acquaintances paid rare visits. And that suited the young man perfectly: he devoted himself exclusively to work that required full concentration. In theory, someone could sneak inside, steal something that came handy and run away. But the sculptor spent most of his time at home, where everything was within sight; he ate during work, slept a little and was attentive to household order. Let’s assume that the theft occurred during the sparse periods of his sleep — then new questions appeared. What kind of thief could stay on duty near the house for twenty-four hours, days and nights? How did he guess those occasional and unexpected moments when the young man allowed himself the luxury of a brief rest?
After receiving the prepayment and borrowing money from everyone who could loan to him, the sculptor reluctantly installed the bars on the windows. In his opinion, they ruined the entire marvellous landscape, like a dead rat in the middle of a pie. Then, he changed the lock on the door and acquired a safe. At first, the mysterious thefts seemed to stop. But soon everything continued in the same way as before, and to all his troubles — some bastard (or bastards) seized the moment and destroyed all the sculptures in his workshop. No money could compensate for that — it was the grief of a father who lost his beloved children; and if it was possible to understand the thefts (if not forgive or justify), then this was beyond any limits. Who did this? Why? For what? Who would feel better from his tragedy?
The police scrutinized the house as well as the surrounding area and interviewed the owner, who was angry and heartbroken. However, they found no signs of breaking or any evidence left by the criminal. There were lots of confusing details in this case, and first of all, the fact that the workshop owner didn’t let anyone inside and also didn’t wake up from the terrible clatter accompanying the destruction. Sometimes, tired soldiers could sleep even during the bombing, but still…
An idea flashed in the investigator’s mind: what if for some strange reason the sculptor had made the whole fuss by himself, and then called the police, pretending to be an innocent victim in the eyes of the public? But even allowing such a wild possibility, the investigator couldn’t find a motive: the sculptures were not insured, and the sculptor didn’t receive a penny for their destruction. He still had to work out the prepayment while all his long and scrupulous labour had come to nothing. The artist must start everything from scratch. He wasn’t known for fame craving in any way possible, distancing himself from scandalous escapades and any particular eccentricity. He had certain opportunities, but lived modestly, without showing off. He worked in a classical manner, had nothing in common with avant-garde trends, and didn’t use cheap tricks. For him, the creative work itself was the cornerstone, not public opinion or praise. From all sides — the young man had no reasons for such a strange deed. Anyway, even if he did everything by himself, there was no evidence, and if there were any clues, they couldn’t be the ground for his arrest.
Anyway, after mourning over the precious shards, the artist returned to his work. By his sole, he solved the mystery that every ordinary piece of clay concealed inside. He discovered the hidden image diligently and zealously; he gave freedom to beauty. The series of misfortunes seemed to end, and he began to forget it as a nightmare, but soon, the troubles continued.