Denis Usynin

Denis Usynin is an Irish lad with a Russian background. Currently at 23, he took up writing again last year after giving up on it about 4 years ago.





Would You Rudder?

What we did was not a decision, but it ended with searing touch. With explosions of fervour and of dried skin recovering from so many smacks of lips and sweat. The bed across the room from us remained serene and plump. Like a turkey that swells its wings to make itself a shivering, feather-ball. Around us, instead, was a linen cataclysm. Crumples cratered the spread. The duvet, withdrawn to a far corner, was a mostly melted pile of snow. Our naked bodies beat warmth into each other like two halves of a heart and we stayed, like that, for some time. Trying to ignore the not-so-distant whirring of vacuums, hairdryers, and other cleaning machines, above and around our room. Trying, in the middle of the morning, to finally get some rest.

Making sure that she was fully asleep, I gently peeled myself off from under her and stood up. Immediately, I was dizzy, but I had more pressing parchedness in my throat. So, I took two steps towards the bathroom, as lightly as I could, then leaned against the door to refocus my vision. Satisfied, I pulled on the knob to exit the haze.

She must not have turned the light off last night. It bored into me. Stuck in the white box, it felt like I was being purified by the overhanging rectangular bulbs, criss-crossing the ceiling. They made me cold. Bending over the sink, I felt my hair rising, tightening the skin at the base of my neck. To my right were four upturned glasses, atop a towel. Brilliantly white, like every other bloody thing in this hotel. I grabbed one. Turned the tap. Filled it. Took a drink.

At this point I was awake. More or less. Conscious enough to think, anyway. And of course, I began to worry. Feeling it first in my extremities, through my toes on the stone floor, my fingertips against the icy glass, it sapped the heat from me. It swept through me like the winter season sweeps through the leaves of a canopy, and exposes it. From there it flooded about in my thoughts and found a valley in which to reside. It pooled in me the same way the tap now, still flowing, filled the sink basin. I forced it out, a little at a time, but it kept coming. Kept sloshing at my banks. Still at the basin, shivering, I stared into it, into myself, and imagined the two of us within, as two birds wading at opposite ends of a lake.

Two swans floated at opposite ends of a park lake. On one side, the water passes into their pool from above, decorated by a Japanese garden bridge. It shed its chips through the years, like rose petals, some said, or more likely like dried blood form the dried scabs being itched incessantly by passers-by.  The source was a perfectly calm grotto, eloped by a family of firs, nestled together in a photographic pose.

On the other side, the pool dropped off into a grated underground system. It was littered with debris, both man-made and natural, all degraded and dead, making their last sail. A gluttonous moss made its home on the metal railings that cordoned the pit off. It spread itself underneath the water into a fibrous evergreen carpet, and in turn was torn out in clumps by the waterfall, filling the park with whitewash agony.

They, the swans, did not look at each other but swirled about the pool. They made no effort to swim in or away from any direction. Nor did they glide from the pool onto the pathway that made a concrete perimeter around them, to perhaps dry and preen their feathers, to try and look their best. All they could think to do was to watch the ripple of water as it cascaded, as it carried them in its frigid uncertainty. Occasionally, the drift would collide the two together, and even then, they avoided eyes. Rather, they nuzzled their beaks under each other’s wings. In the search for warmth. In the search of direction. To nurture with that heat, the hope that maybe, maybe they could make a decision one day, one with lasting impact. A decision that would hurtle them towards destiny’s rapids, to a new place, together or separately.


I rip my heart from out of the basin, my head dripping. I wiped as much of the wetness from my face with a single stroke of my right hand, then turn the other way, back to the door. Alex was in front of me. Still naked, as was I, and I was sure she could see every unsightly pore. As could I. Her eyes darted. Her mouth made no sound. We stood. We looked. Wary, shameful, tired, sore. Melding expressions so fast into one indiscernible composite. In the sheer lighting, our bodies glowed like the humps of two white elephants.

[Dialogue Begins]


© 2018 Denis Usynin