Little Russia is a complete story and written long ago as a rather romanticized remembering of a brief relationship I was in during my early twenties. Almost a lifetime ago. – Bethalynne
|Sometimes the mind never knows where these things begin. Was it that moment when I felt the hand slip below my waist? Or did it stem farther back into a distant place where I first saw the pinkish scar and red slashes? Was it that place where I was moving my mouth but only hearing the voice in the dream. I think it was there.
There were nights and there were nights. The phone would ring and I would hesitate to answer. The great drunken beast machine might be on the other end, to breath in my ear and scream for the oil to lubricate it’s clockwork. The sound was so familiar, and I thought… and I mused… there was a time where I loved that voice and listened to it over the course of the full night till I realized I had to say goodbye so I could slip into my work mode. So I could go snap and pack and make my money.
That was long ago though.
Long time had passed since I lay naked next to that machine, looking at it’s back, running my finger down it’s soft skin. Long time past since it could touch me without me feeling sickened and trapped.
These were new times. New music played and new cloths were used to express my change. I packed away the long skirts and coats of lace, in their place synthetics fabrics to express my synthetic frame of mind. My gold curls I combed out straight. My gold I stripped down and coated with the color of wine.
There were many nights where I motored across the pavement a hundred miles to my old home. My closest friend now gone to the other side of the conjoined states. She lived on the beach and tried to play the part of a tanned scholar -and I missed her. I never did turn off on her exit as I flew by, neither did I go that extra ten miles and take the turn which would lead me to my old apartment, my old thoughts. I kept on heading for the city.
In those times I stayed with her, the little shadow girl I knew. She was head strong and smart lipped and as beautiful as Autumn days. She bowed down to no one and no thing, but for me… for me she was tame and begged of me to take the lead. She begged of me to fall in love with her, to be the friend, to be the lover… she begged of me to become a part of her. There were times when I gave in to how simple it was. How simple it could be to move about the city with my best friend and know that later in that night we would touch one another, that my mouth would slip below her waist to kiss her thigh, and lick her lips, and listen to that hushed little breath she would make. Sometimes it was easy to pretend that she wasn’t all I needed her to be.
Those times seemed like forever. The nights we danced, the nights we watched after the same person and wondered what it would be like to bring them along. One night we followed after a little club rat, with her plastic looking hair and body of doll parts. And we had her that night together, treating her like a doll, tugging her this way and that to see if we could make her break. Eventually leaving her to another room so we could lay next to one another and sleep in each other’s warmth.
Such low days that followed, questioning my actions, realizing their effects. It would go lower. To the unexpected taste of something that made my skin sing. Made my skin turn inside out so the nerves rested on the surface. So I could feel every tick of the wind, so I could feel even the smallest mote of dust land on my person. So I could feel myself outside of myself.
Me and her didn’t find ourselves together on that night. She found herself under the stream of water with a woman not unlike me. I found myself on carpeted floor with a man I hadn’t pursued. He was lovely, from every inch to every pore. The body frame I liked, the appearance I called a fetish. The first man to push against me since the beast machine had gone away. But I thought of nothing, but the sound of running water and skin hitting skin. I thought of nothing but the way I felt.
Very low while still very high.
These were my weekends, my days of leave. When things were as they were, I stayed back in the city where I was born and played paid servant to my prudish friend. She had been living in another state, once again trying to reinvent her life. Once again it had failed and she knew herself to be the same person she’d always been. Mousy, confused, bossy, and on guard. But I was her friend, and never did I turn her away. We were perhaps the closest and most comfortable in these times. More so then we’d ever be again.
Now back home, she was the ruling force over a small place of visit. I, an employee as a favor to her because she needed the help so desperately. There I went each day, in my baggy tan pants, with the black belt tightly around my waist. The thick soled black shoes on my feet, and the green worker top to tight for my chest. With hair pulled back and make up at the modest, I could only rely on the necklaces at my throat to set me apart from the others like me.
Just another piece of little hell.
The noon hour would approach and things would become frantic. I would watch my prudish friend run her chain of command poorly, watch those around not listen in. I would do my job and cringe as I stank of pepper juice and honey sauce. I would smile and chirp and make believe I was friendly to everyone I encountered. When all the while inside of my head I could care less if they choked on the shit I was giving them. This was this, four days a week, four days that separated me from my shadow girl and our little games of make believe.
Till my eyes rested on the pinkish scar and red slashes.
I heard a voice from the window behind me. The voice was deep and heavily accented. It carried through out the back and sounded somewhat French, somewhat other. The other person who shared my space was trying to reason with him, but the accent would not have it. So I turned, looked his way, and fell to the floor even though my body did not move.
He stood there, taller then the window, wider then most men I knew. As fit as any male body could hope to be. Wearing his tailored cloths, wearing his silky hair cut just so. His eyes were dark, his skin was fair, the buried ends of his hair were dark, till the chemical process took over and lightened them to corn silk strands.
He was perhaps the most beautiful living thing I’d laid my eyes on at a glance.
But his neck bore the marks of red slashes, and on his brow the smallest of pinkish scars.
I knew what he was at a glance. I grew wet at the very thought.
I wiped the peppers from my hands and moved to that window, urging the other worker away because he was more frustrated now and not working with a level head. I looked at the scarred man, I let my lips pull back into a soft smile, and I hoped that he would see the same charm many lesser men had. To my satisfaction he did.
There was talk of a simple complaint, which lead to personal chatter. Till the prudish girl was at my back, irritated and pushy. The man dismissed her with a word and I realized my time of duty there was done. So I begged him wait a moment, washed the work from my hands, pulled the tie from my hair, and slipped my black shirt on in place of my worker green. I took a seat with him, among the people I had been serving. There we talked at length. There he touched my hand and my face grew flush.
Details… he was a Russian gent. Born out side of St Petersburg, but quickly relocated to Victoriaville in the distant land of Canada. A rushed move, one that came at night when an opportunity arose. He was barely a full breath old. His place of birth would always be listed in that Canadian place, so should those Russian folk wish for his family to return, they would have no claim to him.
He was not so much older then me at the time, but worldly, and traveled. He spoke four languages, even spoke my language with a thick tongue. He was cultured and high class, though he made a profession of a brutish sport. That was why he was there, to try out for the new team. He was staying down town. I would come visit him many times in that down town home, up till the day he had to move on.
I followed him as he moved about. When he stayed in my native home of the Dutch, when he found himself among the Swedes, when he found himself among the English. His calls would come in the middle of the night and he would ask “what does it take for a man to win the hand of a woman like you?” and what did it take? It was not the offer of dating and fun, but the question of commitment and lifestyle. Could I find love with someone, with all he had to provide, with all he had to give, for what? A vow, a ring, and a promise.
We were only friends.
Then back he came. Once again a team within the states, not so far away. He rang me every day, he came to visit me on the weekends. In that time I forgot myself. I kept myself away from my shadow girl and confusion with her long time male lover. I kept myself away from that crowd. I discovered the false life of the computer and called on it for company. I made the trips with my prudish friend to the games. To watch my accented man, to lose myself in the game.
There came the call, the visit. “Come stay with me, we need to talk.” So I did as asked, I always did what he asked of me. No request too simple, no request too beyond me. The car that came to get me, to the dinner we talked over. Trying to remember my proper silverware and the proper attitude in this cultured and expensive place he had me come to. And when it was over, he took my hand and we walked. Side by side, in the night, and he told me what he thought of me.
Was it an inventory list or the expression of love? I could never tell. Was it that I had looked good on his arm when I accompanied him with his team, or that he had some deep rooted affection for me? Maybe for him it was all the same thing. Appearance, from the outside and from within, all swirling and needing to reach some high set goal in his head. How in the world I’d ever reached it.
He took me to his bed. Not for sex, but for comfort and convenience. The ride back home was too long and he wanted the company. I lay next to him, happy, warm, watching a movie as my hands moved over his back. Till he rolled over beneath me, and sat with a blank stare on his face. Never could I read the thoughts behind his eyes. Never could I read him.
His hands came up and took my face. For a moment the only thoughts were of the strength in those fingers. How the grip was air tight and unmoving. He came up as he pulled me down and our lips touched. Half his size and no where near his strength, but for that touch I became the aggressor. My hands moved through his hair and cupped his head, my hips pressed down against his body and his arms encircled my chest. Minutes, moments, fragments of time, my panties were pulled from my legs and I felt him move into me. Too much of him, too little of me, I winced through the first motions. It all came together in the end.
With him, many new things. The discipline of restraint, a commanding voice, the scenes, giving in to almost all things. There were the gifts “I bought you something, now let me see you in it.” Peering into a name brand bag, seeing something smooth, shiney, and meant for my form. Moving away from him to put it on, to slip my kimono over top to obscure his view. To see him sitting in that chair, smoking his imported cigarettes, indulging in his one vice despite his need for good habits. To see the way he looked at me, how he motioned me closer before telling me to stop. As he reached down and slipped his hand into the front of the kimono, removing a stocking covered leg, putting his lips to it before looking back up at me. Telling me to turn around and let the robe slip down my arms slowly.
On my knees, licking wine from the bowl, licking wine from my lips. Rearing back, hands sliding over the corset, hands sliding over thighs as they moved apart. Hearing the sounds of Nina singing in the background from the manufactured tape. Moving on my hands, mouth to his knee, mouth to his thigh, coming up between his legs to stand and move, like a belly dancer now having to move for a dollar, move against a pole. Hands on his shoulders, hips moving in slow circles, swirling the air. His hand pulling the zipper down so the shiny top I wore pulled open. His hand between my legs as he told me to keep moving, keep dancing for him.
Training me, to see if I could be what he wanted.
Days later, sitting in the grass of my closest friend’s yard. She newly back from the palm trees and beach lands. She spies the gentle purple spots that mark my pale skin. Her mouth waters at the idea. I lean in, smile, speak in confidence of all that was done, all that was felt. Of being held in the air effortlessly as his sex touched mine. Giggling, blushing, feeling seventeen all over again. Feeling giddy.
The sensation couldn’t last though. My gentleman wanted more. Love, sex, money, commitment. Come be with me in London and I will give you everything you ever wanted. Be kept. And my close friend eggs it on, never knowing how serious he really was. The shadow girl mourns the loss of me. The prudish friend never knows, I never allow myself to tell her, knowing what she would have to say.
Another weekend together, secret, no one knows. I am away in Detroit like usual, but I am much farther, over the line, in the other country, sipping my drink, paying attention to the details for a change. Your hair, I prefer it natural to these dyes you use. Your attitude, you have to grow up some day and think of your life. Your love, I need more of you, I need it all. He speaks those things, I listen. Listen to him answer for me, speak for me, control me. Thinking, there is a time and place for everything, but no one dictates my life to me, no one. Finally telling him no. Pulling myself away from circumstances I could never live with.
Different times. There was meeting someone else, there was loss & death, there was moving away, there was loneliness. A new voice speaking to me in the night. Neither had it the accent, or the character, it wasn’t even close to the man before. How that voice shied away from telling me what it wanted. How it told me it put me on a pedestal so high the air was thin and my head spacey -how in that place he could not soil my image by imaging me sexual, imaging me on my knees, imaging me touching my lips to any place other then his lips.
In those late nights, even as I spoke to him, I thought of the other. Not memories of lost love and longing, but of an experience that moved by too quickly. The feelings of being with a man amongst all the boys dated. Wine and skin, the scent of him. Wishing for one more chance to be with my Russian again.
Reprinted here with the author’s permission.