She has long black hair, it reaches past her shoulders, glistens under the lights, cuts above her eyebrows and continues over the ears, straight and fine.
Her face is roundish, the chin bone leaves an acute perimeter about her chin line, a pair of red lips with the bottom one more plush than the upper. A carefully crafted nose, that moves when she breaths in deeply. Her eyes were set under thin black eyebrows brown and revealing, that jump out whenever she becomes excited. From time her face would blush, leaving the cheeks, nose and neck bright red. Then it flushed out and left her cheeks red, as if out in the cold. This rested on a thin young face, that illuminated beauty and topped a tall slender body. On many occasions her attire consisted in dresses, as she was dressed now. It was a white thin dress, traditional in style. That stopped short after the knees, and sleeveless which left her arms bare fitting her splendidly. To match the dress, she had dress shoes. With a white cover and red straps, sitting on medium heels. Each word exemplified body language, as her hands drew pictures to accompany her explanations, assisting in describing that which she spoke. This was in a new upper floor café, where gathered were about five people. She, Sofia, was on the sofa. Next to her was Svidrigilov who sat on the sofas arm. Raskolnikov, sat across from them. Loosely dressed in a blue shirt under a checkered red dress-shirt with brown stripes.
He wore worn down brown shoes, that had brown shoelaces with a thick black padding on the bottom. Raskolnikov was a student, with thick black hair that covered his ears. At the front it stopped short of his eyes, had the beginning of a beard, round nose, and whenever he would tighten up his face, the nose moved up and the nostrils would flare. His eyes were hazel, a mixture of brown and green, yet decisively gripping, which seemed to reflect the depth of Raskolnikov himself. He too would talk using his hands and feet. Around them sat Raskolnikov’s friend Razumnikin and sister Ivanova. A few more people were seate d at tables near them. Everyone was involved in conversation with each other. Raskolnikov, void of individual company gets the attention of Sofia. Sofia is already weary from the heat and humidity, but willing to listen.
“these days, such interesting ones, and I’m always amused by them, what do you say Sofia, have you ever considered that what a man wishes to do he cannot due to that which he doesn’t want to do, but must. It’s what I call life’s hypocrisy, if one life to live is what we have, then live it as we see best fit should be our aim”,
Svidrigilov leans closer to Raskolnikov to catch his words carefully, it is no secret that the man has planned something toward Ivanova, and its also true they had a history even though not the best kind of one. Raskolnikov is deeply mistrustful of Svidrigilov and does not know how to react to any of his actions. Sofia, adjusts in her seat, and begins to stare attentively at Raskolnikov, her eyes now locked on the idea, and it is clear that she is thinking of what to say. Raskolnikov relaxes, takes a drink, and waits for Sofia to speak.
“Definitly, there is an issue with that, and I agree, not all things are looked at as equal even though some of the most treasured arts are scarcely paid for. I have always wanted to be a painter, that is my disease and my desire, but its impossible to pursue that desire. No, not in reality, and what I do in college, is simply what will make me able to live more comfortably. Even though, that is not where my heart lies”.
Ivanova glances over a few times, to catch parts of the talk. She is also beautiful, and a very desired women among the men. She came from the same backgrounds as Raskolnikov, and neither lived in wealthy estates. This is what made Ivanova stand out, and that charm and humbleness was a rare quality to be found in the cities. Sofia is now fanning her face with a plate and the humidity is wearing everyone down. Svidrigilov smiles curiously, revelaing a chipped tooth which he nicks with his tounge and speaks,
“Yes, you folk around here do have interesting things to talk about. Such vanity it is to talk about dreams. No such thing as dreams nor miracles. And you two have gotten into some nonesence I must admit to talk about it. What is there to what you are saying, I can finish it all simply – nothing exists save steel and brawn and the strong”,
Sofia breaths in deeply as she listen’s and Raskolnikov watches as her nose flares and lips tighten up. He replies,
“Svidrigilov, my dear friend, what has caused you to err so much as to make you speak so foolishly. Is it to much that you least of all respect our conversation. Yet, not only that but you also speak like a dead German fool who has not a sence of who he is. And what are we to make of it, that you are with us if you don’t respect our company – I do remember other days and you have not changed your antics.”
Svidrigilov sits back and lounges with his hands behind his head. He keeps nicking his chipped tooth and doesn’t look the least amused. It was not to long ago that they both had a quarrel, a long conversation which ended up with a very damaging confrontation to the respect of both the men. Neither men seem to be able to agree on anything.
“Let me ask all of you something, your answer will reveal who you really are. There was once a man named Dostoyevski who asked a few younger students this question, if you could choose only one what rather you have, an apple or a portrait of an apple? Now the younger students gave them an answer but I won’t say it yet. I ask you instead now this question, Sofia, which would you rather have the apple or its portrait?”
Sofia takes her tea in her slender fingers, buying time to take sips and think. Its apparent on her face that the question had somewhat confused her. Raskolnikov leans closer in and rest his chin on his hand as he waits. The café owner walks upstairs to open the window, a rather large man without much fashion sense, by his looks it would seem he was just another simpleton looking for refugee from the sun. “Kasparov, yes please open the window its to hot here!”, Svidrigilov yells out still reclining back on the sofa. His forehead is sweating but his convenience sitting in between Sofia and Ivanova makes his stay still. He is wearing a button-up dress shirt which is unbuttoned at the top, underneath looks like a heavy gold chain, and his skin is fairly tanned. Kasparov attempts to open the window but can’t budge it. Svidrigilov now completely annoyed walks over to Kasparov and they being arguing. Raskolnikov looks Sofia in the eyes, without blinking and makes her blush, so much that Raskolnikov blushes as well. The heat has already made them both very red. Putting the cup on the table Sofia beings to answer the question with wide eyes holding her hands in front of her.
“That isn’t hard at all-I would take the apple”, she decides to give her answer sooner because she doesn’t want Raskolnikov to think it confused her. “The apple because for one simple reason, one can eat an apple-there is benefit-but a portrait won’t give you anything”.
Sofias mouth dried up as she spoke, being nervous about the intent of the question. She had always enjoyed Raskolnikovs company, since the two had a long history together, and whenever around him expected a very fine level of thought. It made her raise her expectations around him even though she didn’t know if she truly like him. There would be times that seeing Raskolnikov would give her butterflies and she cherished that excitement. Even though they would make a good couple, there was resentment in her mind of ever becoming taken in by a relationship. Her heart slowly began to beat louder. Raskolnikov satisfied leans back in his chair. He is very calm and collective seeing that the conversation is in his hands now, and happy that Svidrigilov was still to the side talking to Kasparov.
“Ah, Sofia, you say you would chose the apple. Interesting, but I have come to expect that type of answer from you. The physical holds more constraints on city-folk. The truly amazing thing is that there is no right answer, instead it’s a deeply psychological question, and each person need simply to figure out why they picked one or the other. That is where the real treasure is, as it will reveal how one thinks in general, and what to expect that person would do in given circumstances.” Sofia is amused now. “You say it’s a psychological question? Surprising, and what is it to measure, how much one likes apples?”, she jokes innocently. “Indeed, or perhaps not so much the apple but the substance itself of an apple. I suppose one would come to realize its not the apple that is important but the comparison and the representation of the two.”
Ivanovna decides to join in the conversation. She has brown silky hair that stops at her neck. It’s in a near-perfect line. Ivanovna is also wearing a dress, it’s a very simple summer one which benefits her eloquent personality. The two girls greet each other and whisper into each others ears. Raskolnikov is pleased. He is tired although from the temperature and is growing slowly restless. “Ivanovna my dear, well now that you have come into our world you must answer a question. Which rather you have, an apple or a portrait of an apple?” Ivanovna settles in with Sofia taking Svidrigilov’s space. She places her finger on her lower lip as she thinks, occasionally looking Sofia in the eyes and they both go into laughter.
“I’m not sure what I would really choose. But, hmm, well, I think I know where this is going, and I would actually-although it might not seem smart to you, take the portrait. At least with the portrait I can always see the apple. And it will always let me know what an apple should look like” she now looks at Raskolnikov waiting for him to tell her what he thinks, as she herself doesn’t quite know what to think. “Tell us what you would pick, for goodness sake, you haven’t told us that. And here you are asking us all these things, now let us know what you think”, Sofia is already anxious to know what the answer is and thinks Raskolnikov is playing mind games with them.
“Very well girls, I will tell you fairly simply what I rather have. I would choose the portrait of an apple”. Svidrigilov butts in, he has a very mean look on his face and has been standing behind Raskolnikov as soon as Ivanovna came to the table, “A portrait? What are you going to do with a portrait? Have you ever eaten paint or paper or both at once. Is a portrait going to give you anything. You folks love this vane philosophy but I can’t see how someone would choose a portrait over an apple.” “Well once you eat an apple its gone forever! But with a portrait you can always keep it”, replies Ivanovna, “and I would assume looking at a portrait will feed you as well, even at least once?”. Raskolnikov steps in, “I have said from the start, there is no right answer. Each will choose according to there liking, to there way of thinking. But I have picked one and I sure do have a reason. Why the portrait? Ask yourselves what a portrait is. Is not the purpose of a portrait to forever envision the beautiful truth of what it seeks to present. And may it be an apple, the portrait will always show what a true apple is to be. If we had no knowledge of what an apple looked like, we would eat pears thinking them to be apples. Or we would take rotten things and assume them to be fine. But that is not the real reason, there is much more. What attracts us to an apple, or sweetness or sleep? Or why do we read great authors with esteem and talk about how great Pushkin was although we never knew him? Do we not boast of great things and great places and marvels in which we never set foot? I may know of Pushkin to be a great writer but I have never met him. To me his writing is much more greater than the man himself. The portrait is the life of the apple and it is exactly why we would rather have an apple. And all of us know of the great planets about us although none of us have ever seen them with the naked eye. Yet we know the power of those things, and better yet we know from the name and the purpose of them that which they are. So is the portrait of an apple the greater of an apple.”
Sofia is spent and all this conversation has taken a toll on her. She is completely taken in by Raskolnikovs explanation. She slips him a note that reads, “café at 7” and runs off with Ivanovna, both are late to other appointments. Svidgrigilov has a foolish grin on his face and pushes past Raskolnikov out the door. Raskolnikov remains seated and finishes his tea, then goes home.