– All right, – you’ll say. – Everybody can have sex. How do you get from sex to marriage?
It wasn’t just sex, although I won’t deny the part it played in opening the gates to the flood of oxytocin and endorphins that went straight into our bloodstream making us high and highly unrealistic in evaluating the choices we were about to make.
It was the extreme romantic scenario that took hold of us. A beautiful man of Viking descent, a mute woman (well, not really mute, just deficient in some languages), their two countries divided by Cold War and lengthy mutual distrust, overcome their differences through true love. Sex and love ends the old politics of war.
Ah, you’ll be surprised. It was the year when a movie about a mute, sensual woman and a rough, simple man who understood her needs like no other although he wasn’t her husband, was unleashed on the unsuspecting but susceptible world. Remember “The Piano” by Jane Campion?
Later I grew to hate that movie because, just like the folk and fairy tales, the moment the man wins the woman and their life together starts, the movie ends.
The fact is, the story how we got from the first sex encounter to marriage is very short in time. It took only 3 weeks. If it took any longer, we might have come to our senses.
I came back to Latvia. Lasse went back to Sweden. I thought of him. He called. Obviously, he was thinking of me, too. But calling a woman who doesn’t speak any language you know is like calling your dog. All you get is the panting in the receiver and, if you are lucky, an occasional, random bark.
Phone conversations didn’t work. Lasse came up with an ingenious idea to fax me pictures, little love storyboards. I faxed him my own little love storyboards back. When we got too explicit, the prudish old time animation studio secretary who received all the faxes would turn red and her hands would shake holding the “filth”. She didn’t dare not to pass “filth” to me. Her job description was to receive faxes, not to censor them.
Now, if you think that a girl of 28 doesn’t have any luggage from the past, that she is like a pristine annual flower that springs out of nowhere just to be plucked by you exclusively for your needs, you are painfully mistaken.
I had several suitors each tucked away in separate corners and I kept them all in a perpetual state of hope as one can never be sure how things will turn out and what if I needed a man to go to a friend’s wedding?
One of the suitors was my Russian Ex. Ex husband, to be absolutely precise. We had a notorious on-and-off relationship that involved a lot of hotel rooms in various places like Moscow, Riga, Jurmala, Cesis, and in summer time – floors of a forest, parks, or beach.
The Ex Husband was not an annual flower himself but he loved to check in on me time to time to see how perceptive I was to his schemes which he called “getting back together” and “giving it a fresh start”.
Apparently, before I left for Nordic Lights I had given him a dose of hope larger than usual, so now he called to cash in on it:
– I got my visa and a train ticket. I’ll be in Riga in 2 days.
I was horrified. No way I could “give a fresh start” with the old meat when something new and truly fresh was just around the corner.
But I wasn’t sure what exactly was around the corner. What if it doesn’t work out? It wasn’t my habit to burn the bridges. If I could avoid using matches, I avoided it.
– Is there any way you could wait a little bit?- I asked.
– How long?
– I don’t know.
– Ah, – he said and paused. – There is another man.
It wasn’t a question. It was a statement. Sometimes, his statements were correct.
– Yes, there is a man.
– How long do you need to get over it?
– I’ll call you.
The next call, strangely, was from Lasse. As if he sensed my distress.
What I did next was a complicated thing that am sure we all have sinned in our pasts. I needed to expedite things. I needed them to move even faster than they did. Did I put a pressure on Lasse? Did I consciously manipulate his masculine sense of ownership? No. How would I even know Swedes have an instinct for ownership?
I tried to explain Lasse that my Russian Ex had called. But in my broken English it came out as :
– My Russian Ex is coming in 2 days to marry me.
Lasse’s reaction was immediate and resolute:
– Fend him off. I am taking the first ferry to Riga. I’ll arrive in 2 days.
Here’s an example of one of our picture exchanges. My drawing of a cat (me) looking out a window at a night sky inscribed with a lover’s name. Note the dilapidated state of the room the cat is in, the cat is too good for that room. Note that the cup with the picture of fish actually has a piece of the sky in it, but the cat ignores what’s available to her. She wants the sky. It is a picture of longing. Of a dream so great that it makes reality look banal and impossible to live through.