The twenty-eighth chapter of the book :
A TRAVEL ON THE ISLANDS OF IMAGINATION,
WHICH ARE GIVEN RISE BY THE FIRST LOVE
AS THE LOVE GAVE RISE TO AN IMAGINATION.
The iridescent childhood ended unexpectedly. It happened when I was six years old, and we moved with the mother and father to live in other place, from the mountain - to the Bryansk forests. The grandmother and grandfather remained in our old lodge, and we lodged in the new big house.
I had a younger brother, and I had to sit with him. Not always everything turned out well because of my absent-mindedness, and I was getting it from the mother every day. I lost the grandmother's smile and support, and there was nobody to protect me.
The father would come in the evening and read me an adult books. The mother didn't like it, she never read books and considered it as a useless and harmful occupation. With the father she only swore, but when he was leaving for work, she beat me and frightened: "Only try to complain to father, I will crush you!"
I started to understand that it is impossible to suffer as earlier without support of the grandmother. I felt helpless and pathetic. The mother as though learned about this my weakness and scoffed over me.
Near our house, through the meadow, there lived a woman who became my first teacher. She had a son. He was much more senior than me and played a bayan. He was fond of biology, brought together frogs, snakes - he had just about everything under the sun in his house. I, for the first time, very deeply and seriously, fell in love with this boy. God in me failed, was smashed, and I found a God in him.
The mother guessed my love to him and began to say every day that I am a complete nonentity, a weed in field and a terribly ugly creature, and that in vain I admire this boy. If he suddenly learns that I run after him, he will spit at me. When I tried to sing, she told that I should cease to croak as a crow because I have no hearing. I wanted to dance, she said that I do it awfully.
After such statements of the mother I was afraid to open the mouth, I was afraid, very afraid that somebody will see my love to the boy, and I hid it. A huge forces were required for it, the love didn't vanish, and on the contrary - grew and became stronger and stronger. Soon it became the only thing in the soul and absorbed all the dreams and imaginations.
I was no more, God in me died - now he lived in the son of my first teacher and as a magnet, attracted my thoughts.
"I am a terribly ugly creature! I am not able to sing and dance! I can't do nothing in general! The only thing that I can and I want is to make something great for the darling!" So I thought and dreamed of different fantastic situations, where the favourite boy gets in trouble, and there is me, and I rescue him, but he wouldn't know about it, and that he never learns about my love. Why such a tragic element was invented I couldn't explain to myself.
Perhaps such situation was planned in my imagination even before my birth on this Earth to perfect my violent and unreasonable imagination.
Books stimulated to imagination.
The father aloud read to me Stefan Zweig's "Maria Stewart", "A Letter from an Unknown Woman". They more when anything helped to dream of future tragic love.
The desire to study stories of heroes by books was such strong that I quickly learned to read by myself and read Hugo's "Notre-Dame", where developed and fantasied over Quasimodo's theme. I saw myself in different roles, I remade man's images in female's, and played all the roles.
I so strongly began to feel images, so strongly endured numerable deaths of heroes, every day supplementing the scenes with some new and new details that torments and anguish from which they suffered began to be pleasant to me. Now I realize that such strangeness and aspiration to tortures was connected with a particular range of development of the soul.
The imagination violently developed inside and carried away to an unknown world of mental anguish. I got used to it and couldn't live without it any more.
Later, when I got married, my first husband and friends called me Joan of Arc and Alexander Matrosov. And the husband was saying to my friends that Masha even if there are no embrasures, all the same, will find them to cover by herself.
A feat became my constant aspiration, I would even tell masochistic tend as it always finished with my death. But death was regarded by me not as end of life, on the contrary, death somehow turned over in my consciousness as a great victory over old life, and I was coming back from death alive and healthy in a new life, as if nothing happened. But an immersion in death opened in me an area of hell.
From children's paradise there happened a resettlement in hell. At six I already knew much about life getting a knowledge from books.
I learned about Joan of Arc and about her heroism, that she was burned on fire. The imagination opened for me Janna's time and brought me to her before the execution. I experienced, as in reality, her throwings. I cried, and a question: "Why the voices left her? Why nobody prompted her anymore what to do when she was interrogated?" - terribly tormented me as if I was her.
About Joan of Arc my father has told me, and something I read from a school textbook for senior classes. All the rest was a fruit of my imagination, or a vision of Janna's time?! Still I can't tell precisely from where I knew everything about her so precisely as about myself. When she, or to be exact - when I prepared for a fight, jumped across the field of battle, some voices talked to me and prompted what I have to do. And at the time of the game I really heard them!
But when she (me) was seized and put in some high tower - I saw this tower, saw the room where Janna sat, I new all situation in details - she was in trouble. She didn't know what to do, nobody answered on her questions anymore, and she was afraid of fire, very afraid. And even I was afraid and I was ready on everything that wanted the judges, if only not to burn on fire, if only to save my life.
She renounces of everything in what sacredly trusted, and fire is cancelled and life is spared to her.
When my dreams or visions came through such cowardice, I began to despise myself: "Mother is right, I'm really worthless. How can I give life for a beloved, for a country, if in a game I was afraid, in dreams couldn't die adequately!?" I tried to change all game anew, but I was ashamed return to the voices again. What will I tell them now?
I didn't know how to change this game. But, in my subconsciousness since the childhood there was a painful question: "Why Janna was left by the voices?"
The question lived in me many years. And once I met a person who contacted to an aliens, and he prompted me to ask them anything I want. And I asked them this question, but the aliens couldn't answer, and such they lost my trust.
But then, in the childhood, I lived in a condition of shameful shame for some days. I won't wish such torment even to enemy. And at last the children's imagination invented a pass through that game. I overcame the fear to fire, because the tortures of shame from own cowardice were stronger, and I demanded in the game to burn me on fire. I asked to consider my refusals invalid.
I saw the faces of priests and exulted. Again I managed to win the desire to live without purpose, and brought myself to death on fire! I always looked for a meeting with death, or life with high aim for the benefit of all mankind.
Dear friend, you won't believe how strong can be children's imagination! I go on fire - fear and fearlessness mixed up in the soul - I almost losing my mind. Yes! I became mad and endured this madness in reality! And here - fire and smoke, and I don't choke, - lungs extend; they such big, they explode and depart to the sky, and the fire licks my heels, and it isn't painful, it tickles, and I laugh wildly. Suddenly in the head something blows up, and - darkness... And then Light!!!
Such I endured the Joan of Arc's death in my dreams. Of course outside world existed for me, but it wasn't so important. I only waited to remain alone, to escape in the forest and to dream.
If to describe my imaginations, they won't get into even of millions of books, I assure you. But I will tell that my love to the son of my teacher, secret, unexpressed, lasted till I was 21.
And all these years he was a main character of all tragedies, and I rescued him, or he was an observer of my heroic acts and - of cowardice also.
Sometimes I needed to see him furtively, to catch his look and smile. It lasted for a long time. Fire inflamed in me with a tenfold force, the speed and number of imaginations increased beyond all bounds.
My God! That was so wonderful! I flared, burned down, his look was as gasoline, the world of imagination extended, feelings increased. Every day I lived on a verge between life and death.
Being 16, I went to study to Bryansk, and for me was enough to see him at least once a year. I worked without thinking, automatically, and what's interesting - I managed a lot of things with ease. I worked with a huge speed. Many years later there was a saying about me that when Masha works, the feeling is that not one person did it, but a whole regiment.
Because I was shy of myself, of my ugliness, about which the mother was constantly going on. When I matured and boys paid to me attention, I was becoming even more timid because the thought that they look at my ugliness. But actually it was the beauty, unearthly beauty which for my primitive mother seemed ugly.
But I learned about it not at once and therefore didn't become proud, and always was before myself in a continuous constraint, what also helped develop the Virtues. Sometimes that is useful not to know about yourself, external beauty often spoils girls. And incorrect knowledge sometimes helps to find virtuous qualities.
And till 17 I always knew about myself that I am not beautiful, until I met one man who was 30, and he changed my views. But it is in the future.
The absence of objective knowledge of the external form took me away from all external deep in the inner world and developed some new persons and new forms of energy, not connected with the outside world. It took me so far away from the external role orientations that it was almost impossible to return back. God had some plan about me, and this plan was carried out by special, only his laws.