The Russian Wife Ch. 03

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It was strange for me, with my almost military education (and my bad experience), to find myself in an unfamiliar bed, naked with a naked man, and happy of it. Yes, I knew that man would have married me (we had already started to run the paperwork for it), he loved me, he wanted to live his life with me and to die the same day, as we say in Russia. But it was quite strange all the same.

It was strange even the way I could talk of sex, and even of other women. I, the overjealous, could joke and smile talking about other women who went in bed with my man… Of course, they belonged to the past. I couldn’t think that an adult male, smart and clever in bed like him, could be chaste like an eremite just descended from his pillar to know me. An eremite doesn’t make love so well. He doesn’t turn you inside out, making you feel as if you were dancing with him at Bolshoy… Up and down between his arms, carried away by a stirring music, with no fear to fall, with no fear at all, … And he doesn’t make you think, “after”, that THAT was the Sex (yes, capitalized), as God had thought it (if not Him, well, then who?)… something capable to give energy, joy, calm, consolation… To get His sons and daughters to make children, regardless of all…

Yes, he had learn “tactical tricks” with other women. On other beds. Between other arms and other spread thighs and other open nimphs, kissing other female sexes… One, two, three…

Stop! It was history! He had been faithful to me since we had met, he had possessed me when I had told him “do it!” (I had been very more explicit, indeed), and for the future, he would have been faithful to me too. I could not ask for more, and I did not.

But…

Yes, the girl “with weak points”, the “gift-girl”. It was the one who galled me more. Because she was Russian, like me. Yes, she too belonged to the past, he had no obligation with me when he met her, he did not even know me, then. But I would have liked, after all, to be his first Russian female. To give him my body, for first, as he traditional bread and salt we gave to the welcome guest… Yes, irrational and not feminist at all. But I would have liked it. And she, just she, had robbed me this chance.

So I asked him to tell me about her. And since, as we say, “Moscow is a great village”, it came out that she was a friend of a friend of mine. He had had a good time with him for almost a year, and a little later, she had left the country with an American husband. Yes, big game… Big target…

Sure, to marry an American is not a crime, some of my girlfriends did it too, especially in the 90es. And they met two kinds of Americans. Fool hamburger-eaters (or six-pack-voters, you name it), in a state of psychical erection post-cold-war, sure to have found a squaw, a geisha or a white slave (you name it too), and nice guys, educated, interested on Russian culture (maybe a bit stuck with Cechov), and, poor cats, terrorized by their countrywomen.

In the second case, all was as smooth as silk. Our girls took those too beaten dogs and make them feel men again. And the guys became very good husbands, sometimes struggling to learn Russian language (always with that funny Anglo-Saxon accent), to make their wives feel more at ease, at least at home. In a few cases, to heal the strong homesickness of their wives, they found the way to work and live in Russia. And this was a real act of love and heroism, not only for the problematic nature of Russia, but even because, for all I know about Americans, this was kind of a religious abjuration… How could a REAL American REALLY move to “down there”?

Alas, the “friend of a friend” was not so lucky. In a nutshell, less than a years after his arrival, she skipped the rope from the “land of the free”, just like the heroine of “Brat 2” (Do you know that movie? “Goodbye America oh!”), came back to Moscow, married a “cisty Russky” (100% Russian) and became a nationalist firebrand. From an extreme to the other. And you know, extremes are never good. “Kràinosti nikogdà kharòshi”…

Talking about my education, I always recalled the stern epigraph of “the Captain’s daughter”, the Pushkin’s work I prefered: “take care of your dress since it’s new, and of your honor since you’re young”. Especially after the “incident” of the 15 years. A very teaching experience, with hindsight: when your first male first mistreats you in bed and then disappears like a ghost, you learn a lot of things, about the life in general, and the males, more specificly. You really “get your facts learned”…

But right because I knew how bad and fool a man (male) can be, I could really appreciate my man. With his humor, his patience and his loyalty, he had slowly conquered my heart and my brains. And my sex did just what the supply corps did in the famous Napoleonic aphorism: it just “followed”… “ensued”…

A bit anticipating, indeed…

Yes, as always then, there was also a political side of the matter. Maybe I had surrendered myself, not only to canlı bahis a stranger, a foreigner, but to an enemy. Italy was (and is) a very loved country, in Russia, but after all, it was a NATO country. Plus, we all knew, there were Italian anti-personnel mines in Afghanistan… Nobody told me that face to face, but maybe somebody told so behind my back.

Well, until my father did not tell me that, I could dismiss all those things: “mnyè bìlo pò- figu”. He had all the rights to talk about “patriotism”. Four years of war, started as a private at 19, and ended as a NCO at 23, in Berlin. He was my only judge, about that.

And he told me that my man was “a man you can go on a patrol with”. It was a common expression of esteem, in Russia, but told by a man like him, who really went “on a patrol” throughout half of Europe, a stone’s throw away from the “Fritz”, the German soldiers, and going and going had learned to value the persons for what they really were, that “expression” was worth a medal for bravery. “Za otvàgu”…

My father always called my man “tot pàren”: that guy. Not to despise him: he just disliked the foreign names without Russian equivalent. So one day, while we were alone on the balcony of our flat, he asked me:

“Well… what news from that guy?”

I thought he wanted to know, whether we had slept together. No, we hadn’t yet. Our story had just begun being serious.

“My yeshò niè perespàli”, I answered, using a polite, semi-religious term for “slept together”. He was not upset by my frankness: all his reaction was just a raised eyebrow.

“And you see him yet… that poor guy is in love, then…” he snorted. Then he looked down at the “dvòrik”, the little yard among the four blocks of the bulding complex where we lived. There was half a dozen of tall trees, some bushes and a small basket field. The spring had come later, that year, just a month before, but suddenly, like a huge explosion of green. A real show, after months of rain, snow and mud. “That’s good!” he said.

“The trees?” I asked.He snorted again, looking right below our balcony.

“That guy. Don’t let him go, Sashka”.

“I thought you wanted a thoroughbred Russian, as a son-in-law…” I said, quite surprised.

“I want a smart and clever son-in-law, who loves you and treats you well. And on the other hand, he is half-Russian already, in his head, after all this time here… Surely more than many young Russians of today,” he spouted. “Oh, yes, they only sing… “Change, we wait for a change!”…”

It was a popular song of those days: “Peremén”, that is: “change”. He didn’t like that too much.

“Well…” I muse. “He speak Russian quite well. But he is always a foreigner.”

“Hm… That could have its silver linings…”

I was even more surprised.

“What do you mean?” I looked at him. He was a bit hexitant.

“Gorbachev is a man of Andropov, and you know that this is a guarantee, for me. Those guys who say he is a traitor are just a bunch of fools. He wants to do what Andropov wanted to do. To change without destroying. The point is: he is NOT Andropov. He is not “krutòy” enough. He could do, but he could fail too. And if he fails…”

“If he fails…”

“If he fails, then the “change” those other fool guys want will come. But it will be bad, devastating. New “troubled times”, as after Ivan the Terrible. There are people who are just waiting for that. Inside and outside the Country, and the Party. Ambitious without talent, and without conscience. Idealists without patience, and without brains!”

“Idealists without…”

“Yes, the “democrats”! Those guys who go chanting “Amerika nam pomòjet”… Craps! America will NOT help us! They just want the control of our resources, of our land, just like the “Fritz”! And our end as a power, and maybe as a nation. Oh, no worry, they will try, but they will fail too. Mother Russia has seen worse things than that, it will survive. It will take ten, maybe twenty years, but the core of Russia will stand tall again. But I’m too old for all that. I can’t wait twenty years. So I hope I will not see it… And not even you. At least, not too closely…”

“From abroad?” I asked.

“From abroad,” He nodded, always looking down. “From a nice country, not from America. And not with a foreigner whatsoever. Whith a man who loves you, who respects our country, who knows our culture, and who understands our history. He will teach all that to my grandchildren, no doubt about it, he will help you… And not only for that. He is a man “s kèm idtì na rasvèdku”. You are safe, with him. Here or there.”

“Does he understand our history? You disagreed about Tukachevsky, right?” I asked. My father thought Marshal Tukachevsky had really set up a plot against Stalin, who was Stalin, of course, but was always the leader of the Country. My man said it had been all a hoax, a “disinformaziya” organized by Nazi “services”, and Stalin simply believed to that, because of his paranoidal tendencies.

“Chush!” bahis siteleri my father said. Craps. “We have just discussed. “Kak vsròstly”, as adult men. I did it to weigh him, to evaluate him. We disagree on that and more than that, it’s logical. We have had different educations. But he is loyal, outspoken, he does not talk to please someone. Not even the father of the woman he loves. That’s fine. He was a guest in my house, he didn’t forget it, he knows what respect is. He doesn’t say “it’s so”: he says “I have studied it so, and I think it’s true”. But he knows how to hold the line, “nastoyàtsya na svoyòm”. That’s fine too, so a man must be. When he says he is agreeable, you know he really is. And he is, on many issues. And he is an educated man, he likes history, like me. I was surprised that he knew somethings about the semiclandestine military school of Kazanh, that we and the Germans created in the 20es. He says that Germans used the documents written by Tukachevsky in that schools to frame him in their false plot, imitating his handwritings. I don’t think so, but that school existed, until Hitler seized the power in Germany. And not many people know history enough to know that. Sure he is not a fool who thinks that Stalin woke up in a bad mood and kill one of our best marshals just so, for the sake of it…”

I snorted. Surely not. Too much American stuff…

“But there is another problem, maybe.” I muttered.

“What?”

“Well… He is from a NATO country…”

“Love stories end, and alliances change… Just wait…” he smiled. “It’s not so important, no worry…”

“But… there are Italian weapons in Afghanistan…”

“Andropov was against that war. He knew it was a trap.” he said somberly. Then he shrugged. “But do you think that guy is responsible for that? Do you think they have asked his permission? Maybe he doesn’t even know that: it’s all CIA stuff, a secret war… And if you ask him if he knows that, maybe he will think it’s all propaganda of ours. Drop it. Anyway, what can he do about that?”

I breathed with relief listening these words. I looked at him.

“So you don’t think I’m a…”

“A traitor of the country? “Ràdi Bòga, nièt”!” he smiled. For God’s sake, no… “If you go ahead with that guy, you have my blessing.”

“How much go ahead?”

“”Do pobèdnovo konzà”!” he laughed. Up to the final victory! “Hasta la victoria!”

“I mean… “perespàt”, or not?”

“This is up to you. You are a honest and smart girl. I trust in you. Just don’t use sex to frame him. Don’t get pregnant and things like that.”

“Of course. But, do you want me to marry him just in case things went wrong? And what if all will go well?”

“Oh, then… He could even find a job here… to teach Italian language at the MGU, maybe…” he fancied. It was Moscow State University. My “Alma Mater”.

“And become 100% Russian?”, I snorted. He smiled to me.

“Why not? With Variag vikings it has happened…”

Of course, my father liked also the professional status of my man. He had a serious job, a responsible position, and a good wage, for Italian standards. They had talked about that too.

But money was not even in the top five, among the causes who led me to sleep with him. Yes, I would have been happy to live in Florence. But the money, by itself… If I would have wanted only that, I could have done another job, maybe “part-time”, as many girls did… I don’t criticize them, “jìsn takàya”, life is so, don’t judge and you’ll not be judged… But I DID NOT do that job. And to marry a man just for money IS to do it: what’s the difference?

That is: there IS one difference. You bind yourself, for years, at least, to ONE man you don’t love, or maybe you don’t even like. BOUND…

Could I find a man like him in Russia? Of course, yes. A man like Gosha, the hero of “Moscow doesn’t believe to tears” (an Oscar-awarded movie, you know), whit some more money. Maybe not in Moscow, but in Leningrad (oh, sorry: “Saint Petersburg”, right?). Or maybe not so soon: maybe after the end of the great illusion that was the “perestroyka”, and after the mess (to be polite) of the 90es… We met many Russian, some years later, in Florence, on vacation. Smart guys, they had worked hard, in that messy decade, without getting too much dirty, and unlike many others, they had been smart enough to adapt themselves when the “far west”, somehow, came to an end with the new millenium, and to become fully legal businessmen. And someone offered to my man a workplace, just in case we would have liked to come back to Moscow. We did not, but we kept in touch with them.

But then, all this was yet to come, and I had met my man. Yes, he was not Russian, yes, sooner or later, he had to come back in Italy, and I would have had to follow him, if I had married him. So what?

Carlo had had to do another choice. Galina was an only child, like me, but his father had gone away since a long time, and his mother was not so healthy, and could bahis şirketleri not travel, so she had to take care of her. So when Carlo married her, she asked him to do all he could to remain in Russia.

And he promised, and kept the promise.

He lost many career opportunities for that, but on the other hand, he became an unreplaceable trump card for his firm. He learned not only the language, but the places, the offices, the people, all the laws, written and unwritten. He had friends and relations more or less everywhere, and the relations (the “blat”) have always been very important, in the USSR and in Russia. As in Italy, if not even more.

A man like him was absolutely safe from any “restructuring” or staff reduction. On the other hand, he lived the 90es firsthand. And that’s why he always respected Putin…

But I digress…

For all the time the story with my man remained on a “platonic” level (I mean, a “non-sexual” level), even my mother had nothing to say. She too liked my men, for his respect and his sensitiveness. She too took part to the discussion about Tukachevsky, and of course, she supported her man, my father, but at the end, both of them greeted my man with friendship, as the countess greeted Pierre Bezuchov, at the beginning of “War and Peace”, after a discussion about Napoleon. “Mnènya mnènyami”, opinions are opinions…

Things changed a bit when I decided to make love with my man, before to marry him. I had to go to his home to do it: there were no motels, in Moscow, in the 80es, let alone Japanese- style “love hotels”, and I could not ask my parents to go out for air while me and my man were “doing it” at my home. Some guys and girls used to take the train to Leningrad and back (then it was STILL Leningrad), but I disliked it. Maybe another time, but not the first. The first had to be on a REAL bed.

So I had to tell my parents where would I had passed the night, for to avoid them a white night of worries, and even for loyalty. I was a grown-up woman, but they had the right to know what I was doing. My mother started to contest. Yes, she knew and liked my man, “Kharòshi celovèk”, nice person, but to sleep with him, without being… no, it is wrong, it doesn’t…

I knew, if I did not want it, my man would have not touched me, not even then. I wanted to do it. That’s why I had refused to meet him again in that “restaurant” or another, for lunch, or for dinner. Not for the price, not for the danger: then it was still relative… I would have eaten with him, at his home. Cook for him. And my man had understood: the test period was over, and he had passed it, full marks…

“Satknìs!” my father said. Shut up. Not to me: to my mother. Then he looked at me. “The water follows its course.”

My mother quit talking: the head of the house had spoken. He was the only one who could really stop me, say “no” and be obeyed, order me to wait for an official proposal and the marriage. But he looked at me as if he was reading inside of me. I had been his little child long enough. The fact of the 15 years was nothing, his little child had got hurt, and had learned the lesson. Now she had found his man, his real, right man. Did she want to have him, as a male too, now, without passing through the “Zags”, the Registry office? Natural: she was a woman, she loved her man, and ten years were ten years… and “Bog pròstit”, God will forgive.

Tender, old bear…

So I went out of my house, of my block, of the “dvorik”, going to meet my man, and to make love with him. Almost ten years after my first and only experience. I was feeling myself almost a virgin again. This time it was not haste, curiosity, “cosmopolite influences”. It was love. I loved the man with whom I was going to sleep. And I know he loved me, he had been faithful to me all those months, while I played to test him, as the princesses in the fairy tales do, with the men who want them… Yes, he wanted me, my body, my “thing-between-the-legs” and he never hided it. But not only that, it was sure. And he deserved all he wanted, from me.

Yes, he would have penetrated me. And I had a bit of fear, after all that time. Someone said that the hymene could regrow, if you don’t make love often enough. A legend, likely, but who knows…

All around me, the usual Moscow life scenes, in the streets and in the “mitrò”. Just a day like another. No, nobody knew where I was going and why. Nobody could read my mind and find it. But I had that feeling, now and then.

He was waiting for me at the entrance of his block, or the policeman who surveiled it would have never let me in. Normal procedure for to meet “expats”, and I knew the policeman too. It had been looking at him that I had had the real sureness that I was the one and only who met with my man. Sometimes I accompanied my man to his home, when we strolled together, just to be with him a bit more. If other girls had met him, and maybe even gone to his flat (I never did it), maybe the policeman would have looked at me with a sneer: another whore who chases the foreigners, ready to share a foreigner with other whores too… Or maybe, if he was a good man, he could caution me: you seem to me a honest girl, don’t trust that man…

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