I like the idea of an arranged marriage. Someone gets selected for you by a group of wise women or men who take into consideration your class, education, temperament and your astrological sign. The perfect stranger then gets introduced to you, you marry and both of you respectfully work from unfamiliarity, strangeness towards intimacy and closeness. While marriage out of love and passion works the other way – from great intimacy towards strangeness and alienation.
One moment I was with my Soul Mate, the person whom I knew so well I didn’t have to exchange a word to know if he was sad or hungry or wanted a blowjob, the next – he had turned into a shadow on a wall. A shadow that could be coming from a man standing behind the light or something entirely else. The fact was – I did not know Lasse and didn’t have means to explain him to myself. Was it a difference of cultures or was it something else?
The heat of the passion was over and another thing took it’s place. Something that always follows the big lights, big noise, big party. Not exactly a hangover, but feeling low, dejected and negative. As if the brain spent everything it had on the electric surge to provide the excitement for the love affair so that it went completely dark to preserve energy for the next surge.
Lasse still thought we were soul mates. He wanted to show me his world which probably was exciting (Lund is a cute medieval town), beautiful (Lasse’s sister is gorgeous) and kind ( Lasse’s parents are generous and wonderful people) but everything seemed an effort to me, all I wanted was to lie in bed and sleep. Sleep. Sleep.
But once I was in bed, I couldn’t sleep. With cold eyes I was watching the man I married moving across the room looking for the things he wanted to take with him to Canada.
- Who is this man?- I wondered. – Why does he seem so strange? And how did I happen to be here, with strangers, where no one really knows or understands me?
I felt panic accompanied by nausea. I strained to be calm. My mother had told me that I had an unbearable character (loud, willful, bossy, egoistical) and she suggested that if a man finds it out he’ll run away from me screaming in horror. So far Lasse had seen only the nice side of me – submissive, pliant, eager to please. I was going to be a good wife and kill the other side of me – the nasty bitch that bites. So I forced myself to be quiet and calm, shaking from the effort, oppressing the urge to scream, to protest, to be nasty and irrational.
But one can never truly hide oneself. The needle always pokes out of the sack.
Lasse showed me “Dream Doll” by Bob Godfrey and Zlatko Grgic. The film annoyed me, I felt it was objectifying women and there was something strange and perverse about it. All the venom I had gathered inside now went out as I attacked the film with the might of my philosophical education, mastery of argument and irrefutable conclusions. Lasse turned pale.
- It was my favorite film. The work of genius, – he said with a stammer. He was sweating.
It was as if I attacked his very Soul, his Essence.
I wanted to scream that there was something wrong with him if he liked that film, but instead I shut up and draw back into my shell. Now Lasse had retreated into his shell, too.
- Oh, Canada, – I thought. – Once I get to Canada all my troubles will be over.
As if Canada was some magical land where people don’t feel pain when burned by hot frying pans and they don’t have to walk – they get carried from place to place by some sanitized cotton clouds of pastel colors.
I didn’t realize that Canada was even stranger than that.
Our apartment on Isabella street in Toronto had wall to wall pale blue carpet, conditioned and perfumed air was blown into it through the ventilation system. Every day at Noon a person came to the apartment to change the towels, wipe already spotless bathtub and vacuum already pristine clean carpet. As if Canadians after mastering Nature didn’t know where to stop and went all way towards Artificiality and Unnecessary Comfort.
But the wall to wall carpet didn’t stop the hurt.
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