Dmytro Bondarenko, 'How to Become President'
We all laughed at him at school. It was very hard not to laugh at a person who is telling such nonsense.
However, our classmate Yehor Khmurov, a.k.a. Khmurik, declared very seriously that he would become a president in future. And he didn't mean that he would be a president of the Dental Association or something like that. No, he was telling us that he would become a real head of the whole nation, the guy who appears on the TV screen every day.
Well, I can understand a lot of things. Our school was well-known in our city. And many boys and girls were learning there who had ambitious plans for their future. For instance, Van'ka Ivakovsky dreamed of being a top manager of a meat factory and Les'ka Sklyarenko was thirsty to become a top-model. But anyone could see that their wishes were real enough! For Van'ka had an uncle who was working as a deputy boss of our local meat factory. And Les'ka was so beautiful girl by nature that a lot of boys even from the other schools visited us in order to see her.
But Khmurik? What could he expect? He was a very ordinary boy, lived only with his mother who barely earned money to feed them both. How could he dream of such extraordinary thing as to become president?
‘Listen,' we were telling to Khmurik. ‘Are you crazy? Do not you understand that everything in this life is already defined and divided among the big boys?" We poked our forefingers upwards pointedly. "There is no place for strangers. So how can you become president?'
‘It is easy to do.' Khmurik always answered calmly. ‘I will win the presidential elections.'
His firmness annoyed us and we often beat him.
In these occasions, Khmurik suffered a lot but stayed absolutely undefeated. He shouted furiously in reply.
"When I become president, I will give an order to my people and they would punish you! Oh, you'll pay me a high price for that! You will drop down on your knees before me, pleading for mercy."
We beat him even more, but I have to admit that at the same time we began to doubt. Who knows what if this fool really becomes president some day? What if he really wants to revenge on us then? There would be the only one thing for us to do in this case - to emigrate from the country!
And I must confess that there were some serious reasons for such thoughts. Our strange classmate really was a quite different boy among all the other students.
First, Khmurik was a grade grubber. Really he was the biggest grade grubber that I've ever seen. Any science didn't come easily to him, but his persistence and obstinacy were impressive. He studied hard, day and night. And his efforts gave results. He was a student with predominant good grades.
He took his mother's maiden name Steshenko when he turned sixteen, getting a passport for the first time. His father left his mother and him long ago. The father's family name was Khmurov and it was Russian name. On Khmurik's opinion, such surname would not suit him for his future career of the president of Ukraine. So he took the mother's one. The family name of his mother was Steshenko. It is also not sounded good enough, but at least it was undoubtedly Ukrainian.
Second, as I remember Khmurik has never been photographed and it seems that I do not have any picture of him. Every year a photographer visited our school in order to do a collective portrait of our class. Yehor knew when he comes and just did not appear at lessons that day. If some other classmate was trying to make shots of our class by his amateur camera somewhere on the street or just in the classroom, Khmurik did his utmost not to be caught in the frame.
We all were surprised by such his strange behavior but Khmurik was declaring: ‘When I become president all these pictures can compromise me. I must always keep my nose clean.'
In short, this boy was really crazy about his idea.
Khmurik had not any close friends, but as soon as our graduation came nearer we became friends.
First, he was one of the top students though and he could always help me with my lessons.
And secondly, I was a hundred-percent idler on those days. I had absolutely no dreams or ideas about my future adult life. So I was involuntarily fascinated by Yehor and by his firmness of purpose.
‘When I become president, I will make you... for example, the Minister of Transport.' Khmurik told me sometimes when he was in a good mood. I enjoyed such conversation and smiled in response. Yes, it is probably cool to be a Minister. And no matter Minister of What You Are.
We were entertaining ourselves by such fantasies for some time. But one day it turned out that our school was over.
After graduation our ways have parted and we had not seen each other for a long time.
Twelve years later I began to worry.
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@ Dmytro Bondarenko 2016- 2022