I don’t know about you but I am one of the women who likes her men talented. Sometimes I even marry them as if I could co-own their talents through the act of a state-recognized marriage. How this supports the theory of natural selection I am not quite sure, although I fully agree that human mating rituals and feelings of love are not quite outside the bonds of biology.
My second marriage was to a very talented Swedish animator Lasse Persson.
We met at now abandoned and forgotten Nordic Light film festival that attempted to enhance animators from three Baltic countries with Scandinavian culture and charity.
I was 28 and have never been outside of the territory formerly called Soviet Union. I didn’t speak English and never sustained an extensive conversation with a Westerner who didn’t speak Russian and who didn’t understand the inside operations of Soviet Union and the powers of Communist Party. For much of my teen years I thought that since there is no definite, empirical proof that USA, France, Germany or Sweden exist, they might as well be a fiction invented by KGB to keep USSR citizens in check.
So, here I was, in a fictitious country of Denmark, eating their fictitious cheese and looking at people who might or might not be a figment of KGB imagination.
The people definitely were different. They smelled clean, they were shaven, they had nice hair cuts and friendly expressions on their faces that had shorter noses that I was used to.
I couldn’t speak more than a few broken phrases, so instead of talking I went to the dancing floor to show off my other skills.
– Here, dance with him, – my Latvian fellow animator Inga shoved into my hands a Swedish man she was dancing with. She spoke passable English and had an affair with a married Icelandic director who’s wife 3 seconds ago went to a bathroom and Inga had exactly 2 minutes 27 seconds for passionate groping with her lover. We, animators, are really good with time and can squeeze a lot of action within a short minute.
The Swedish man resented dancing with me and I didn’t like him for that. The conversation didn’t flow and the dancing was awkward.
– I go back to hostel, – I said, to get rid of him and the rest of the ridiculous non-communication.
I found out an interesting thing about Swedes – they are charitable.
– I’ll take you to the hostel, you won’t find it by yourself, – the man said. He still didn’t like me but was willing to get me home at his expense.
As it turns out, the signs of charity in others brings out the best in Latvians. When we arrived to the hostel, I felt it would be rude to repay this kindness with disappearing into my empty hostel room that I shared with 3 still dancing gals.
We sat on the sofa in the hostel’s lobby and tried to tie another conversation. I had only three or four words of English and one grammatical tense to express my complicated views of life, world and films.
Without talking there was not much else to do, so we started kissing. One thing lead to another and soon some zippers were unzipped, some panties moved aside and things got really hot.
At that moment, two drunken Estonian animators entered the lobby and plopped down on the sofa right in front of us.
– How are you doing? – one of them asked. – Everything good?
The other animator was zooming into us, as if he didn’t quite understand what he was seeing.
– Cultural enhancement is fun, – the first animator continued. – Are you a Swede?
There was a long silence. One of us had to say something.
– Can’t you see we are busy? – I said. It was an expression often used by Soviet state-owned store officials when they encountered buyers who wanted bread or some other goods.
– Ah, you are that Latvian, – the Estonian had a flash of recognition. – Respect to Latvians.
The Estonians got up and left, but they left us feeling united. The presence of two strangers made us realize we weren’t quite strangers anymore.
I could sense the man changed his mind about me. I took a second look of him, too, and noticed how vulnerable he was, how tenderly sensitive, as if the slightest careless move could unravel his balance and cool. But he also exuded dare and defiance in face of convention and society’s rules. I admire men and women who do something unexpected like having sex in a lobby of a populated hostel. I had a feeling I knew this man, I knew who he was as if some mysterious gates had opened and his Eternal Soul was in front of me like a flat landscape covered with blooming dandelions, the horizon laced with alluring misty mountain tops.
– What is your name? – I asked because, although the man’s name was ultimately not important compared to Eternal Soul, the landscape and dandelions, I thought it might come in handy if I tried to contact him at some point.
– Lasse, – he said. – Lasse Persson.
– Ah!… – I said. The name was familiar. – “Honey Bunny”?
– Yes. “Honey Bunny” is my film.
That was the best film in the whole festival program. If I needed a nudge, here it was. I was in love.
(to be continued)
Here’s a link to “Honey Bunny”: