The eyes of the wolf
He works in law enforcement as a junior authorized investigation officer in one of the Moscow districts. His name is Andrey. He is thirty-two. There is warmth but yet weariness in his eyes. He looks in a way as if….he was trapped. I met Andrey at his work where I arrived to receive commentaries for an article for their department. We got into a conversation – he asked me out – in a formal manner that later turned out to be not that formal…
Andrey has a sullen look. He is drinking black coffee ¨espresso¨, no milk or cream, but two full spoons of sugar. He is chain-smoking trying not to blow out the smoke in my face. He fails. But it’s ok. He has a nice face apart from that wolfish look in his eyes. It scares and puts me off. I pull myself together and smile as I talk to him. Though I want to do something completely different – for example, to hide behind the small wall separating the tables in the café and wait there until this look changes.
He gave me a bouquet of flowers – tender cream-coloured roses. He doesn’t push me to jump in the sack right away. There was not even a hint of anything like that. He is acting like a gentleman. Romantic. Authorized officer. It turns out to be some kind of “fusion of a man” – a romantic officer. Incongruous but true. I´m surprised – pleasantly surprised. But this look in his eyes… He admits that he neither drinks alcohol nor takes bribes. At first his colleagues made fun of him but then they stopped. They started to respect him. Some even show envy.
However, nervous strain has to be relieved one way or another – in his case it is a huge amount of cigarettes and strong coffee throughout his open-ended working day – mornings to late evenings and sometimes even through the night.
“Working like a dog…” – Andrey frowns and waves off nervously demonstrating his unwillingness to go into details of this topic in our conversation. – Just one year left to work under contract – then I’ll set about something different”, - with these words he finally smiles – apparently, for the first time since we met that day.
Looking like a wolf, working like a dog…
We talk about different things, about life, tastes, weather, traffic jams, Moscow…
There’s plenty to talk about with him and so I try not to go back to the issue of his “doglike work”. We slightly touch upon relationships. He has just got divorced and so far is not ready for something new: «Still feeling the aftertaste of my ex-wife» - Andrey says half-jokingly half-serious. He is afraid of women – or, at least, that is my impression of him. Who knows, maybe it is again because of his eyes?
When it comes to a conversation about male and female interaction he becomes much more animated and his emotions burst out:
— You women sometimes can be so funny! When are you finally going to understand that happiness is not about us, men? Let alone about money…
I’m slowly nodding in silent agreement but at the same time I’m pondering about his words.
— You know, happiness is about something completely different…
I give him a questioning look.
— Happiness, it’s… - he pauses for a few seconds and looks somewhere into the distance.
His wolfish look that I already started getting used to, disappears giving place to something incredibly sweet and exalted emerging in his eyes.
— Happiness is in seconds, short and sharp ones. Generous to children and stingy to adults¨ - he quoted the lyrics of some vaguely familiar song. I felt shivers all over my body. At this moment I wanted badly to hug him tight. Not as a woman – as a human. I wanted – but didn’t find the strength to do it. Another moment – and exaltation on a romantic investigation officer’s face once again is gone. The wolfish look is back as if it hadn’t ever gone away.
A desperate feeling emerges inside me that it’s not “just one year” left but a whole another year, long year by the end of which nothing will be left in his eyes – nothing but the wolfish look… “You’ll find yourself someone right, after all”, - said Andrey as a good bye, nervously shrugging his shoulders, his eyes directed to the floor. – And I’ll just…just get by somehow…”
His cream-coloured roses stayed in a vase on my table for over a week and refused to wither. It didn’t seem to matter to them that they were given by a man with a wolfish look who worked like a dog.