Daria Ermolenko

United Kingdom

Message from Writer


The Shaky Hello

February 14, 2016

(Diana’s narrative)
Sorry I couldn’t reply for ages. I was at training. 
By the way, you’re very welcome to come next time x
I put the phone aside: I couldn’t bear to lie any longer. What was the use of it, anyway? Creating a false reality, tricking my brain to believe what was but a fanciful romanticized life story. It was
like therapy for the needy, but therapy with dangerous side-effects, limitless, yet so constrained at the same time…
I turned to face the ceiling. Even covered in posters, the surface lacked character; so high above me it seemed to be compressing the stuffy air. Directing where I should go. Down through the bed and beneath humanity. Yet I was still here…Closing my eyes in hope of falling asleep. The uncomfortable attempts distressed me. Coming from the little opening between the worn blind and the edge of the window, was a pinkish-yellow light. It was sunset. I rubbed my watering eyes and, slowly reaching for the calendar hanging off the wall, crossed out today. Another day had come to an end. Another one would start tomorrow.
You done for the day?
Yeah, just watching a movie J
How about we meet up? I’m bored.
I shivered.
Why don’t you… just come to mine?
I could almost hear my own brain cells rioting. Too late. In all fairness, I had nothing to lose. Me and Eti had never actually met in real life. We started chatting last year, after both fiercely defending a criticized photograph of a model on Facebook. Since then, we have kept in touch every day. I only told her what she needed to know, carefully hiding the unnecessary details of my repulsive state. If we had happened to meet on the streets, I doubt Eti would even have recognized me. Still, she was my best friend. And as I ran my fingers through the rough damp stains on the carpet beside my bed – where I had been sick this morning – I concluded that today was probably the last day of this friendship. I thought of praying to God, so that Eti wouldn’t run away from me, but deep down in my heart I knew she could never stay. Unless she was an angel.
I heard the doorbell ring a couple of times, and then she must have let herself in.
“Hi. I’m…I’m in my room.” My voice was weaker than ever.
I pulled the duvet closer to my chest, hoping to distance the confrontation. But her footsteps came closer and closer until she stopped. I gathered some remains of strength and faced the doorway. God, Eteri was beautiful. She looked like a goddess – so confident with just enough sophistication, her kind brown eyes and thick curly hair loosely tied back.
“I’m sorry.” – I broke the silence.
“No, no.” – she said, entering the room.
“Look, you don’t have to stay; I won’t be offended, really. It’s my fault, I should have just told you…”
She didn’t seem to have taken any notice. Instead, Eteri carefully sat down on the edge of my bed and held my cold bony hand.
“Do you always stay here?” – She asked.
If there was any hesitation in her voice, it was only slight. I took my time.
“I can’t go anywhere in case people might see me. You see, my father applied for this cancer research grant. He and his company. But the therapy doesn’t work on me. He’s really well-known. And it wouldn’t at all help if his own daughter, you know, it just wouldn’t be fitting.”
Eteri’s expression lacked judgement and her patient gaze penetrated my feeble composure.
“But it’s nice when someone like you…”
She stood up suddenly.
“I know!”
“What?” I was now in an upright position for the first time since I had gone to brush my teeth this morning.
“I’ll see you. I’ll see you very, very soon.” – and she ran out of the room.
How marvelous it was that she had left a gentle freshness, an energetic breath of the human soul behind.
(Eteri’s narrative)
Yeah where’d you go? x
You’ll see xxx
I didn’t bother ringing the doorbell. It’s funny how people make such a fuss of locking the door when there really is no need for it. Diana was asleep when I came. For a second I was unsure what to do, but when I put my bags down, she was instantly aroused.
“Did you go shopping?” – she asked, taking quite a while to sit up.
“Yeah! And guess what? I got you a little something!” – I handed her a box of doughnuts.
“Crispy Kremes?”
“Aha! I saw some chocolate on your shelf yesterday, so I gathered you would be allowed them…Oh, don’t you start tearing up, I’ve got loads planned”.- I hurriedly unpacked the rest of my shopping. “I went to Clairе’s and – look!”
“Sun glasses and… a wig? You got a red wig?”
“Everything we need to go outside.”
I could tell she struggled to justify such a possibility. I, too, understood that it was hardly sensible. But I remained firm in that such speculation was, however, not going to stop my resolute nature.
It was spring outside. And I could tell by the way Diana crouched down to stroke the grass and later asked me to help her balance on the edge of the sidewalk, that she had not been outside for a very long time.
“I love you, Eti!” – She came running towards me, her sunglasses slightly tilted, enchantingly blissful innocence. “You’re a wonderful angel.”
It was my turn to tear up, but there just wasn’t any time for it: ice-cream was to be brought, roller skates were to be rented, but most specially – Diana’s happiness had to be upheld.
She was already queuing by the ice-cream van when I realized that I still had her phone from when she had gone running round. I took a few selfies. How could I not?
“Stop it, Eti! Delete them! I want to remember today especially, but I want to remember it just like it is in my heart. For ever and ever.”
I thought of telling her that we would have many more walks like this, and she would get better, but I stopped myself just in time. Promising the unknown is dangerous. Together, both of us knew that until tomorrow came – we only had today.


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