Park Kultury – Teatralnya

Apollon felt entrapped, enclosed, yes caged here in the street where he could walk freely, where everybody passed him by, disregarding him, and yet, this multiplied indifference, like the carelessness of the hunter for its prey, that stared at him from every angle he turned, not just stared, but negated him, denied him what made him free, his thoughts, this very same freedom had him trapped. It was cold and drizzling, it was already June however. Hundreds of free people, that is free of autocratic rule, because looked at each individual closely, none of them were actually free, free, freedom, this word, this abstraction, did it ever really exist? Who invented this word anyway, what was it suppose to represent, free, being unbound, without obligations, attachments, expectations, that is absolutely lonely, deserted? Yes, he was free in a sense, in the absence of meaning of the word, if you didn’t think about what you actually meant it was easy enough for him to say: I am a free person, I could go wherever whenever I want to go. But the reality of the fact was, he didn’t, he just stood there, thinking, but his thoughts had no real purpose. No purpose, that is, his thoughts were free, without meaning, without thought, barely perceiving the entrance of the Park Kultury station, behind those odd lost souls standing without purpose as if waiting for someone before the rounded facade. Soap bubbles appeared and splashed apart. A densely clothed woman, throwing her arms back and forth, busying herself demonstrating colorful soap bubbles toys in the form of pistols, pistols, as if to threaten him, but before they could wound him, they splashed in thousand parts and dissolved into the air, soap bubble particles must be everywhere.

Apollon felt damp, cold, the air was gray, gray like the gray matter in his head that was now without thought, as he merged into the wholeness of the crowd that pressed as one into the narrow entrance leading to the abyss, the crowd that pushed itself a way toward the abyss like sheep thoughtlessly driven to the abattoir. And as the entrance where he entered from become his only escape, his only exit, he could no more turn around and simply leave. He could of course, but he couldn’t, he was free to do so, except for the circumstances of being caught between others, random guards who held him, toughing him slightly with their elbow, shuffling their feet toward him, closer and closer, forcing him to move without speaking, without acknowledging each other even, this mechanism that rolled along like a chain just kept moving in the same direction by collective will to drive closer to that abyss and that abyss bowed before him in an endless depth. At the bottom of the elevator sat a fat lady in a gray blue uniform in a plastic glass watch house, staring consistently upward at the thousands of faces that came down toward her, ensuring that this falling huddle processed orderly downward, watching the thousands of backs that anonymously were spit out above her. This machine was famous around the world for the esthetics of her architecture, the design of this meat processor was indeed fabulous. The steep staircase sucked Apollon down, not really Apollon, but the massive whole that had absorbed him. In the massive passageway below, he escaped into one of the dozen arches on both sides that released pressure like the valves of a motor. He looked left and right, where blackened holes opened up, this system was a body with veins running through the city. A light dimmed in the darkness, from somewhere he could hear the sound of rattling metal getting louder, that is getting closer. Would it crush him like a moth? Wasn’t that what he was, a moth, clamped against the wall, ignorant about that hand that would end it, except for that last moment in its life, where the air pressure created an unusual wind that played alarmingly along its wings, before… it all suddenly stopped. A train approached on the Sokol’nicheskaya line, azure blue metal and its yellow insides flashed by his eyes, which he closed, but he still saw the reflection, the rattling still pounding on his ears, until with a final squeak it halted. Door opened with a bang, bodies poured out, bodies stumbled in, again a bang, a voice, a squeak. Dry heat hit his head, sweat broke out on his head. Apollon felt nausea, should he sit down? But no seats were vacant, and he didn’t want to make a weakened impression, so he just stood there feeling the pearls of sweat forming on his forehead, his back and chest getting wet, his thoughts trying to calm himself, not knowing if he had gone out of his mind, or if it really just was the heat, the lack of oxygen that was sucked in by these hundreds, thousands of bodies. Who knew how much oxygen was still left in these pipes, these holes with their scarce openings to the open air, who was in charge of air circulation any way, who guaranteed him that air circulation controller was competent, wasn’t really psychotic or depressed, there were many idiots in all kind of positions, there was no guarantee and it was terribly warm, wasn’t it? Stantsya Teatralnya, a voice echoed, was this his stop, he should get off, he really should get out of here. His head ached, the thought pounded against his skull, this is it, this is where I get off.

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