Жанна ДЖАРМИН | Проза



One day on my way to Arcadia, a beach in Odessa, I passed an overweight woman pushing a pram with a 10-year-old crippled boy in it. Some disease, probably innate, damaged his extremities. His underdeveloped crooked legs were especially noticeable. I heard the boy asking, «Mum, do you think the sea is warm today?» The woman did not reply, obviously lost in her not so happy thoughts. She looked tired and aged, more like his grandmother rather than mum.

The weather was beautiful and the sea was warm. I was out of the water and back on the shore when the woman was just going down to the beach. She struggled pushing the pram on the gravel, and then onto the sand. Finally, she stopped, got a rug out of her bag, shook it and laid it out by the water. Then she put the boy on the rug and went to change.

The boy became animated at once. He tried to sit up a few times, but all he could do was lift his head off the rug a little. Then he started grabbing pebble with his left hand and throwing it into the sea. When a stone reached the water and splashed with a loud noise, the boy shouted in joy:

— Mum! Look! I got it!

The woman did not react, she already had her swimming suit on and was blowing up an inflatable rubber collar. Then she put it on the child’s neck, took him in her arms like a baby and carried him into the water. He started swimming, paddling hard with his arms. The boy could move on his own in water, his mother only pushed his collar a little. The warm soft seawater and their bodies’ weightlessness transformed the child and his mother immediately. She looked younger now splashing and playing with her boy like a dolphin with its baby. She checked the depth of the water several times by reaching the bottom with her arms up. The mother and her son at last were happy; they moved farther and farther from the shore. They were barely visible in the sun glittered water, and only some fragments of their laughter and seagulls’ cries reached the shore of Arcadia carried on the gentle breeze.

About the author:

Zhanna Jarmyn was born in Vladivostok. She lived most of her life in Odessa and graduated from the Odessa State University. For the last sixteen years she has lived in London teaching mathematics. She has been a member of Authors and Publicists International Associations since 2014.

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