by Volodymyr Bilyk

for a very long time
i wanted to have a dictionary of synonymous words
simple reason – i want to know more
and it offers you an opportunity to speak just like you’re castin’ a spell

and so
few days ago
i’ve visited a bookshop
and while wandering there
i saw the book i wanted for so long:
Caravanskiy’s Practical Dictionary of Synonyms,
Fourth Edition.

And so i take this book
and go to the salesgirl

and she looks just like i feel:
– pencil skirt
– BJ-specs
– no bra
(but i saw the book called “Bra” near her)
And she smiled to me A LOT
in a different manners:
– mock smile, shy smile, grateful smile, playful smile
and this famous enigmatic smirk
– she smiled so much – you can draw a study of smiling from her

– she had this strange presence
you know – something in her style that shows me
– there must be a Pulp song in the air

so i give her the book –
and she says:
“one moment, i’ll go to the backroom and look for another copy…”
And she goes there
and resumes the conversation:

“…You know,
years ago –
when i was in high school –
i hated dictionaries
and always tried to tear them to pieces
and then kindly reassemble them into something more pleasant to me
you know – chaos reigns”

and i say “yeah, i know that”

and she laughed and returned from the backroom with another copy
and continued talking while holding the book before me:

“you know –
i still think
they make you go in circles
instead of moving forward –
but i know it’s not my business
but i can have a certain kind of influence on your vocabulary experience…”

And so she took a bottle with a blow-gun
and perfumed the book with some dizzy flavor

And then she gave it to me and said “Have fun”
indeed i have – A LOT –
I can’t flip a page without smelling it
and gettin’ really dizzy.

BUT i think it’s allright.

Now reading this dictionary is like diving
You need to hold your breath
You have very limited amount of time
And you need to stay very focused –
You need to get to the point – period.

And somehow she knew i need it.
I guess she get it just by looking in my eyes.

Another tremendous achievement of kindness of strangers.
Weird manifestation of concern and care.


  1. That’s one hell of a story. Funny how these kind of ‘occurences’ stick with us. Usually the world is filled with people doing their own thing who don’t care one flip about each other. Or, you know, sometimes it’s hard opening up to strangers. So it really sticks when a person ‘sees’ you. It’s got its own beauty.

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