Slava Russian was a good fellow. Perhaps, that’s why he was disliked? Really, who now loves Russians, especially ones with such a euphonious name? Slava, too, hasn’t managed to fully find it out during his years of training in the school of life.
However, it may well be that Slava was disliked for a different reason – simply due to the fact that for many years he has already had his own, most real, manifested both in this reality and omnipresent Angel, while all others had only nothing. Or maybe they, the others, measuring one another by money, were these no-ones, and therefore Angels didn’t visit them quite so often?
Yet the Angel did not choose Slava from the first sight. Angels are, in fact, so selective heavenly folks that God knows who, God knows when and God knows why will never succeed in calling for them. But Slava did succeed. But let us not get ahead of ourselves.
Slava was born in an ordinary Russian working family. Well, what sort of ordinariness? He saw his Dad with own timid sight of an infant literally a couple of times when his Dad went to the maternity home and on increased in decibels tones argued with his wife and at the same time mother of Slava. Slava didn’t have a privilege to know any known words by that time – and that was, probably, for the best, for it’s really hard to understand Dads such as this one. Since that Slava’s Dad has been both a pilot, a long-distance sea captain, even a pioneer astronaut who has gone to fight with the Martians. In other words, there was no way for his Dad to find time for his little son and not so little wife and to visit them at least once, having returned from the far-away places of his great labor feats. So his Mom raised Slava alone together with Grandma. An ordinary family, no doubt.
And Slava’s Grandma was a sight for sore eyes! And so Slava looked into her wise old eyes, and listened to her tales, and dreamed of becoming one day a great space pioneer, flying to Mars and saving his father, who has been captured by the evil Martians. Slava fell in love with the stars since those most fabulous years.
By the time he was seven years old, Slava had grown and matured as much as his body and spirit would allow it. And rightly so, for the years of school life became his own Golgotha in miniature. By that time Slava’s family barely made ends meet, so Slava could not allow himself to have either modern gadgets or, say, fashionable clothes – and this was the first stone thrown by peers in the garden of his self-esteem.
Slava became the target of constant ridicule and mockery from very early school years – one can say, from the cradle of his adult life. His schoolmates laughed at everything: at the unsightly appearance of Slava in his father’s old, worn-out and oversized sweater; at the glasses he was forced to wear for quite reasonable medical reasons, which his peers cared nothing about; at the occasional speech stutter; and, finally, more often than not, at the level of financial income of his, if we may say so, family.
People are generally like that: they measure you by your clothes while still having horns and hoofs themselves. But Slava wasn’t able to see their horns at these times – for, all in all, this is a privilege of angels – to glance in the depths of human essence and to read their thoughts playfully. So, during those years Slava’s life was measured not even in days, but in hours instead: so many hours for school, this amount devoted for lessons, so much goes to the astronomical hobby club, just a bit for a walk and talk, and then to go for a bed, having warmed his heart in another dream. And he dreamed in those early school years of the stars being heavenly, and the earthlings being wonderful, and the Martians being cowardly, and enemies being timid, and mothers being happy.
* * *
Under the icy stream of constant attacks Slava hardened, and in senior classes even started to acquire muscles after he exchanged astronomical hobby club for a sport one. His shagginess had increased as well – all in all, he was a man by the right of birth. So, some of his classmates even started to notice him, glancing briefly so that others did not find out about this little secret of theirs and were not branded with shame for contacts with this “fantasist”. And they, these young ladies entering the period of their girlish heyday, had no idea that by that time Slava had almost ceased to dream any longer. Years of family’s poverty, the death of his beloved grandmother, usual mother’s tears – they all literally took Slava by the throat and repeatedly forced him to land down on earth ground, ordering to help at home and to earn their daily bread after school working as a carrier of heavy loads. And what there was more: either mental or physical load – we do not dare to say. And so Slava would have finally fallen from heaven down to earth, if not for one amazing heavenly occasion.
We seem to have completely forgotten to mention the fact that Slava was a bit of a lunatic. Not in the sense that he used to wake up at midnight and go for a walk on the roofs until his rescuers arrive thanks to someone’s urgent nigh phone call – but in the sense that he really loved to look at the night starry sky ever since he signed into the astronomical hobby club. He wasn’t much of an astronomer, though, but at the very least he did remember the names and appearance of the major constellations, and every now and then he used to look out of the window at night to see if any of them was now painted before his sore eyes. He did even write a poem about stars and mumbled it from time to time under his nose at nights. And, as it usually happens, it all would probably have ended with the fact that he would have given up all these childish rhymes and clubs, would have entered the institute, studied economics and become some petty accountant, so that at least he could observe large sums of someone other’s money and rejoice for these sinners – but, well, no way. Heavens had their own plans for Slava. The sky is generally like that: glorious, especially if filled with stars at the same time.
* * *
“Still dreaming? About the stars?” asked the Angel who has suddenly appeared out of nowhere sitting on the windowsill next to Slava. “Don’t you worry that much, you’re definitely not imagining me,” he smiled, folding his white wings behind his back and hopping gently from the windowsill down to the floor. “Yes, I know, I know, you don’t usually see things like that no matter how hard you train your eyes,” he added, watching how Slava still sits on the windowsill with both his mouth and eyes wide open.
“I dream… ed,” was all he could say.
“I am on a mission,” immediately answered the Angel, pacing in the room so rapidly and impetuously, that sparkles of light kept flowing from his wings in all directions. “I have a task at wing. Will you aid me?”
“What… mission? Who… in the name of the heaven are you?” Slava still couldn’t connect heavenly and earthly aspects.
“You can call me Ariel. Although this is a very imprecise transcription of my name into your human language. What of the mission? The task is simple: to help you implement your most cherished dream in life. You still haven’t quite forgotten it, have you?”
“But… why me? I am… absolutely common.”
“Just the opposite. Ones such as you are the peak of singularity in our times. Slava Russian – this does sound proud, right? That’s what I think personally. And I am not alone in my thoughts. There are a lot of us, you know, who share these common views. And don’t you stare at me like that! What, have you never seen a living Angel before?” Ariel grinned and added conciliatingly, “Well, where can a weary traveler have a drink here?”
* * *
And that is how the memorable meeting of Slava Russian and his personal Guardian Angel once happened. Stars are generally like that: if you come to them with all your soul wide open – will they not light up your way? And so Ariel began that day by sanctifying the water offered to him by Slava – so that this water has been sparkling for a long time afterward with some mysterious light and even helped his mother to recover from her senile diseases. That’s what life-giving stars can do!
Ariel even possessed the wonderful ability to become invisible to everyone except for Slava. And to light up the night road. And to lift objects into the air. And to read people’s minds. And to heal with genuinely holy water. And to foresee the future. And so much more!
Slava’s classmates even initially shied away when he suddenly started to respond aloud to their thoughts without stuttering. And when Ariel folded his glowing hands around Slava’s head so that they look like a halo – even started crossing themselves! Not to mention that memorable case when during the exam all student notebooks except for one of Slava’s soared up and flew out into the opened windows precisely like some kind of birds, having taken a course somewhere into the sun. And at some point all school questionnaires became filled with variations of the puzzle about the notorious Slava’s teleportation from point A to point B. Not to mention how many lives and nerves were saved thanks to Slava-Ariel’s foreseeing – physicists wrote in their scientific dissertations precisely like that: “Space-time anomaly of Slava-Ariel”. And Newton law had to be renamed to “Arielton law” after the events when on Slava’s request Ariel lifted a child into the air, who then made a couple of somersaults and soared up with acceleration of free takeoff directly before the eyes of his dumbfounded mother, having subsequently safely landed in her outstretched hands.
That was not a common life, but a fairy tale coming alive, the truest of the true! Yes, there are that kind of Angels living in the world, who bring Russians glory. Russians are generally like that: if they go after their purest dream – who can stop them, really?