|The day is a Sunday. The placement of the day where things are slowly slipping into night mode. When the sky appears to bleed a little bit like a woman in cycle. You should know I compare most things to a woman, it’s just my way. I could say it’s because of the way my mother spoke as she raised me, though I think it’s just one of my many habits. And I am a woman of many habits. Like smoking, like finding myself getting vulgar when I talk around men, like the way I sometimes forget myself to a situation while I never forget my manners. I know I’m influenced greatly by my Russian birth and heritage, but I can’t discount my life of travel from place to place, even as a child. As for introductions, Baptista is the name given to myself, not the name given to me. It is the only name you will ever really need know me by. This is a random start to a random moment in my life.
It’s evening now, in some hotel where the snow outside is keeping us in, and keeping those already inside from going out. As a result, my room is still being cleaned from the previous occupant who only ten minutes ago finally decided to brave the weather. As I wait, one of my prized possessions sits next to me, breathing heavy enough I might accuse her of snoring. My frostrós doesn’t snore though.
Her name is Yukiko, though I’m not sure if the name was properly used in a traditional fashion by her parents. However, she’s always been my Minka. We are all about names her and I, and there are a dozen names between us. A woman should have a special name for each person special to her and she them. Just as I am my lover Sill’s Devotchka, and I am my father’s Greta, to Minka I will always be Dimitra, the name my mother gave me but which I never let her call me. Only Minka whispers this name, only when we’re alone and close to one another.
I met Minka when I first came to the West from Canada. I was trying to adjust to the warmth of the weather after having been in the cold of a deep frost. I was pale, paler still because I had dyed my naturally red hair the very whitest of blondes. My goal had been to look as though I bathed in bleach. I wore glosses instead of true colors, and dabbed glitter at the corners of my pale eyebrows. The only true color I wore was a berry shade which looked like a wine stain on my eyelids and the middle of my bottom lip. Minka thought I looked like a snow imp, but it took a long detailed conversation from her to come to this one little statement. A history of dead Nordic ideology and masochistic literature all to simply say you look like a snow imp and I like that. I fell in love with her immediately. My new friend then, friend forever.
I would run into her often when I was down by the library. Most of my things at that time were scattered in lock boxes in places of public transit. I had no place for myself, however, so I stuck near the library. There were always students about, people to eavesdrop on, so I could sort of learn my way around the city as I tried to get myself settled. It was also close to the peepshow I worked at four nights out of the week.
I remember when I told Minka this the first time. She had asked how I was making my money. I told her I put on some barbie doll make-up, used a wig, and made pouty faces in a room with four other women as these little windows would open and close. No contact and in most cases you couldn’t even see the person’s face. It was like making an erotic show for your bedroom mirror, something I was practiced at by the age of thirteen.
She wasn’t shocked, just fascinated in her odd little way. She asked if I liked it and all I could tell her was it was like a cake job at a store. It wasn’t a lot of effort, it gave me a nice check, but I didn’t exactly enjoy going to work and often I was bored. The other women made it entertaining. I liked watching the other women dance and Minka liked that answer. It led into one of our many conversations about how women are natural around one another in every way; how no type of affection really seems out of the ordinary. After that conversation, she offered me a night in a warm bed. If anyone else had offered me such, I would have thought it a hand out, or suddenly been struck by how pathetic my situation was. I mean, I was homeless, the ultimate sign of poverty in America, right? But I felt neither pathetic or impoverished. I always likened it to simply being a gypsy. I made do with what I had, I moved as I wished. Leases and man-made structures gave me no sense of security. Only the knowledge that I could go where I pleased, when I pleased, gave me comfort. This too she understood, even though she didn’t practice such ideas.
This was ten years ago I think. In that time I have never known a more unique woman than my Minka. Sometimes she’s like my personal geisha, sometimes a porcelain doll crafted by an eccentric’s hands. She’s worldly and blessed with her own erratic way of thinking. And sometimes she’s just a flustered young woman happily at odds with the world she resides in.
I once had a dream where Minka, who looks faintly Asian from her father, was pale like the color of buttermilk. At her eyes, her lips, her cheeks was the most delicate of ice blue coloring, like an ice artist set to her make-up. Her black hair was woven with silk strands the shades of winter. And she wore this beautifully elaborate prom dress, or wedding dress, also made of winter hues. Atop it all she wore a small tierra of ice as she was the princess of snow.
In this dream she was walking across a river made of snow and her crystal slippers made no mark no matter how hard she stepped. She was walking towards a field where cold, large, war weary deities were clunking one another over the head again and again. There were no ice giants, they were long dead. The Valkyries above the battle were nothing more than harpies with wings, so they couldn’t even sway Minka’s attention. She passed through the dropping hammers and battle cries, leaving them all behind because the world was white in front of her. A white palate painted with all those subtle winter shades She kept walking till her whole form simply became one with the ice. Somewhere on the other side of this ice a child found a doll in the frost. A little Yukiko made of porcelain and silks, a small hint of a smile playing at the edges of her painted lips.
Sometimes when I want to describe Minka to people, I want to try and make them visualize this dream of mine. Of course they wouldn’t be able to understand it, or see it as I saw it while sleeping. They wouldn’t be able to understand why this dream so perfectly represents her. Why a collection of vivid and cold imagery, which makes no sense, even though there was some really profound truth in it, so aptly described her. Pity I’m no good with words. I believe the name Yukiko means Snow Child in Japanese. Perhaps that says it better.
In this moment Minka is turning a bit in her shallow sleep. She came awake long enough to see we were still in the lobby, registered this fact, before letting herself drift back to sleep. Right now I want nothing more than to be cuddling up to this ice woman in a warm bed. Especially one of these warm beds which are outfitted in good soft sheets and comforters of down. Kicking off a hundred dollars from our night’s tab was a good gesture for our budget, but it didn’t help with my want. My need for sleep, comfort, and the warm–almost soft snoring sounds–of the woman at my side. Another thirty minutes pass before a bellhop comes to show us to our room. A room that will offer another moment in my life.