White. All white. Too much white.
It’s still so, sometimes, in the hospitals. They think it gives an idea of cleanliness, of hygiene. And with the modern lights, the modern furniture, even a wiff of future, of technology. But if you hang there too much, maybe you understand why white, for many eastern people, is the color of the death. Of the mourning. Of the end.
Brassens was right. “J’ai bon m’dire que rien n’est eternel, j’n’peut pas trouver ça tout naturel”… I can tell myself that nothing is forever, but I can’t find that all natural… How can yoy find it natural, when it happens that way? A routinely operation, they all said. Excluding complications. You never think, when you say so, that complications, sometimes, happens…
I know, that’s a very good hospital, expert doctors, careful nurses. I has been here before, in a very bad moment. So I was not prepared to that… He felt bad during the night, thy carried out another operation, and now he is on life support yet. Critical list. Neither dead, nor alive.
A good hospital. He always said: your hospital are just like ours, it all depends on how you falls.
Yes, our hospitals. Ours… He was too generous, maybe…
When we were saying to someone where I came from, there was always a very short moment in wich, If I could have read in the head of those who were facing us, surely I could have read: “This gall has married a passport.”
It’s not a good sensation. First, because I did not choose a passport, nor a wallet, and even less, as they said once, “I-had-chosen-freedom”. I had chosen a man, and I had married him. And I knew that, if you take it seriously (and I did), marriage Is not freedom (for neither). Second, I was not so disgusted about my own country to get a man only in order to skip the rope. Yes, I had eyes for looking and a brain for thinking, and looking and thinking I had good reasons to be unhappy, and quite often I was. But from this to grasp the first stranger, in my humble opinion, there was a long way. Very, very long…
The first thing I liked, indeed, in what had to be my future man (yes: “man”. “Husband” does not cover it) was the absence of loftiness, of superiority. No missionary attitude, no attempts to teach me how to live, what to believe, no “I-am-free- and-you-are-not”, no American tricks of that kind. Maybe it’s because I’m not American, he said. Maybe, but I liked it all the same.
He had understood quite soon one of our antics: we can say all the worst about our country, and we do it (“stranà durakòv”: land of fools), but if a foreigner dares to say the same, or even less, we assault him, “fixed bayonnets”. Or at least, we cancel him from our lives. It’s the famous “Pushkin syndrome”, even our best poet was so. On the other hand, he never made us compliments we knew we did not deserved.
In a nutshell, he got used to the lay of our land, very well. Just as one of his friend I knew. But when I knew my man and his friend, his friend was already married. Since a few hours…
We met each other at the party after the marriage of his friend. We were a few people, a s it was normal then. The spouses, the witnesses of the spouses, the parents, and not even all of them… I was one of the witnesses of the bride, and my future man was one of the witnesses of the groom.
Carlo, the groom, was what we call a “goryàci pàren”, a “hot guy”, but, keep it cool, not in that sense. It means an easygoing boy, extroverted, a bit careless. I am sure he was happy me and my future man mixed well with each other. He had apparently entrusted himself with a mission: to cause the highest possible number of mixed marriages. And there was a reason why. Not business, something nobler. And even a bit crazy…
I remember, a new-year’s eve in the middle of the 80es. It was the “new-new-year’s eve”, the end of the year as even the West knew it. In Russia there is also the “old-new-year’s eve”, the end of the year in according with the Orthodox calendar, 13 days after the “normal” one. A way as another to balance the absence of Xmas as a holiday, under “socialism”. And still some kind of a holiday, now: a bit like “Halloween”, but very less gothic, of course…
But that day, that evening, was a “new-new-year’s eve”, and the TV programs were not so different from those the West is used at, in that date. A big show, celebrities. happy mood, and the count-down for the last seconds of the old canlı bahis year, as a “clou”. As tradition demanded, that count-down had to be celebrated on the Red Square, with the “courant” of the watch of the Spasskaya tower of the Kremlin.
Waiting for the “clou”, we had lowered down the volume (the same old-played out scenes, all the years…), and we all were busy in our old Russian sport: to talk about the universe and surroundings, as Carlo said once. We were six: Carlo, his wife Galina, me, my parents and my future man.
I don’t remember how, but we had come to talk about the second world war, or the “great patriotic war”, as we say, and then about the concept of “superior race”. Of course my father said there was not such a race, at all.
“It wasn’t, it isn’t, and it won’t be,” he said. “The Germans were disciplined, well organized, even brave, but they were not a superior kind of men. And we too are not, of course. Yes, we have beaten Napoleon, and Hitler too, we have faced huge sacrifices to win the war, to rebuild our country, to get the Bomb too, so the Americans cannot dictate to us what to do. But we are not superior at all. We are lazy, we drink too much, and we have other defects. Of course, not even the Americans are superior. Arrogant, but all in all, crybabies, compared to us… No, there is not such a race. And it will never be.”
“Do you know what could be a superior race?” asked Carlo. My father looked at him, interested.
“You and we.”
“We and you?”
“Yes, you and we, Italians and Russians. Not THE superior race, just ONE superior race. Among the other possible ones.”
“Because we know how to get away, with everything can happen. We know how to survive and thrive, where the others can’t. We both are not without defects, we lack your capacity of endure, to keep the hardest blows, you lack our initiative, our individualism too. But when it comes to inventions, capacity of improvise and adapt yourself, we and you are the best. We were both destroyed, after the war, and now? We are one of the ten richest countries of the world, and you are a superpower too. And you have rebuilt your country without the help of Marshall plan. We know how to rise from the ashes. And we even know how to live…”
“You more than us!” sighed my mother.
“No, madam. We are NOT better than you. Yes, you have the breadlines and we have not, but I guess in a 10 years’ time they will be over, if the reforms will go as it takes. I know, your hospitals, especially out of Moscow, are likely places where it’s better not to go, but we too have these problems, especially in the south. You have bigger problems than us, but it’s the country which is bigger, the problems are on scale. If we should have to reserve such a big amount of our GDP to the defense, we would likely have the breadlines too. And if we would have to manage a country like yours, capitalism or not, it would be fun… postal services, means of transportation… A fine mess, really!” And he was saying those things almost laughing…
“That’s what I like of You Italians: you are the only one who speak of themselves as bad as WE do!” laughed my father. “But tell me: it must be something of your country you miss, when you are here. What it is? Oh, besides the sun and the sea, of course…”
Carlo looked at his wife, and Galina looked at him. A glance of cheerful complicity, of trust.
“Since that gall has learnt to cook the pasta not so much, there are very few things which I miss, here. Damn!” He raised his glass to her, as if he was toasting her. “She made of me a potential traitor!”
We all laughed, but my father seemed not so at ease.
A veteran like him was not used to take the word “traitor” so easy…
We kept chatting a bit, mostly in Russian, with me and Galina helping to translate, when Carlo and my future man had some problems (I’ve heard there were Anglo Saxons, living in Moscow, who BOASTED they did not speak Russian. Silly boys, pretending to be Englishmen in India!). Then we saw the countdown, drink a bit, exchanged wishes for the new year, and then I accompanied Carlo, Galina and my future man down in the street. The “mitrò” was going to close, “domòi”, at home, everybody…
Carlo and Galina were in a hurry to get home. Me and my future man could only guess why… They wanted to start the new years as well as possible…
“A wonderful couple, bahis siteleri ain’t it?” my future man said.
“They look like the big dog and the little mistress…” I answered, quite ironic.
“He is not so stupid…”
“I’m not telling this. It’s nice to see a man in love with his wife.” I said. He nodded. I looked at him. “Would you marry a Russian girl? I mean, REALLY marry… Maybe living almost always here, as Carlo?”
“Why not? Marriage is a lottery, everywhere. He has got his right number, here. Why not me too?”
“And living always here? It’s not heaven, you know it…”
“Well, do you know what Baudelaire said? “The world is a hospital, where everybody is sure he would heal, if just he could change bed”… “
That thing, to burst all the bubbles I could have about the West, was always a target for my man. He never though Russia (then, USSR) was the Heaven on Earth, but he did not want me to make that mistake about his country. Or about anyone else, coming to think about it.
Many months later, when we were officially “fiancées” already, there was a small party at his house. It was 1987, to meet foreigners was not so forbidden as before. Neither Russians not foreigners were always so totally selfless, when they met. But I could answer “with my head”, as we said, about my friends who met with him, I mean, I totally trust them. And even him.
The problem was, my friends, as many young Russians then, had a too much romantic idea of America, the West, and everything. And my future man did what he could to take them back to the planet Earth. He knew some Russian poems, even one of the dissident poet Axionov (if I well remember: a dissident poet, however). At a certain point of the poem, the poet was telling something to the young western protesters: “Keep protesting, guys, don’t quit yet. At least, we will not mistake a cesspool for a heaven again…”
“But hey, so you deprive Sashka of any illusion!” said one of my friend, who dreamed to go in America. Sashka was me.
“I don’t want Sashka having illusions!” my future man said.
“Because illusions rhimes with disillusions. “Rasocharòvanya”. And there’s nothing worse in life.”
“No, tell us the truth!” my friend told, as headstrong as any real Russian young man. “You want Sashka to LEAVE you. You want to be free again. You want to look for other women. That’s why you tell her so!”
“I want Sashka to MARRY me,” my future man told, calm. “If it would be necessary, I would go down on my knees and ask her about it, here and now. You can laugh, but that’s so. But, I want her to know that I will never carry her in a Toyland…”
“You come from Florence, right? Isn’t it a beautiful city?”
“It’s wonderful. But, you know, in winter, and even more in summer, as for the climate, it’s exacly like to be here…”
“EXACTLY?” my friend shouted. Everyone burst out laughing.
“Well… yes, some degrees more, some degrees less …”
“TEN Celsius degrees less, here!”
One by one, all my friends went away. I had told my parents that maybe I would have stayed there at night, and my father had raised no objection. For him, my man was one of the family already.
“Do you really think that there is nothing worse in life than to be disillusioned?” I asked him while I helped him to set up his flat.
“Sure. And to be disillusioned means not only the bitterness of an unfulfilled dream. Someone has said that there are two tragedies in life: when the dreams don’t come true, and when they do!”
“Yes! You want something, you get it, and then you see that it’s not how you were expecting it, but worse, maybe very worse. It’s bad! You know, someone has said you have to be careful about what you wish, because you could get it!”
“I know, even the Chinese say: may you get what you wish. As a form of curse, indeed…” I snorted. “But I would not complain if one fine day I could live without breadlines, or something like that…”
“Of course. But, you see, it’s just like sex. If you marry someone just for it, for to have a man or a woman in bed… A fine morning you wake up and say: well, is it all that? And if you do it just for some other , say, practical thing… it’s the same, sooner or later. You’ve got that thing, but for all the rest, you ask yourself if it was worthwhile.”
“I don’t want marry you just for practical things.” I stated, looking in bahis şirketleri his eyes. He shrugged.
“I know it…” he answered. I smiled. I knew he knew… He kept cleaning the table.
“But, seen from here,” I said “your country seems Toyland… Like in your fairy tale, “Pinocchio”…”
“It doesn’t “look like”, maybe it IS… But, do you know how the kids ended up in Toyland, what they were turned into? Do you know?” He took a pile of dishes from the table, make some steps towards the kitchen, stopped and looked at me. “Donkeys!” he said.
“Hm!” I answered. Yes, in the original version of the tale (not in the “Russian version” called “Buratino”), so it was, I knew that too. But when he came back from the kitchen to take the rest of the dishes, I confronted him. “You want me to leave you. You want to be free again. That’s why you tell me so!”
“No! It’s not so!!” he said, surprised.
“Don’t deny it! I’ve seen how my girl friends look at you! You want to have a good time with them! Or with other b…”
“Your girl friends don’t exist, for me. I’m sorry for them if they have these ideas. I want you.” he said calmly. I raised my chin and stared at him, with almost closed eyes. My finger pointing at the ground.
“Then ask me to marry you, now. On your knees!”
He looked at me, then knelt and open his arms wide. Oh, my lady… My Goddess…
“Want you marry me?”
“Come closer! And without that ironic face!”
He came closer, always on his knees, but with the same face.
“Want you marry me?”
He came closer, his knees wide open. I could kick him, yes, there, where it hurts…
“Want you marry me?”
He came even closer. Now I could hit him with my knees, on his face, on his lungs, on his heart. And I was looking at him as to make him understand it. Beware, slave: I’m barbaric, beautiful and bad!
“Want you marry me?” he asked again, always with his arms wide open.
He came closer, spread his arms again.
I unbuttoned my skirt, and it fell. He looked at it, then looked at me, I nodded, and he started kissing me, there. Through my thin panties, which soon got damp, then soaked, and then without them, with his tongue, his nose… his nose inside, for to sniff me better…
“Lick my cunt, slave…” I said. He mumble and kept kissing me. At your orders, my queen… He made me come, raised on his feet, I smiled to him, he kissed me… Taste of my sex on his tongue, on his lips… And then…
“Do you really want just me?” I asked him, later. “I don’t believe it. For a male like you, a woman is not enough…”
“Oh, what a…” he moaned. “I want to live with you, not only “that”. And however, making “that” with you is fantastic. Really. What should I do with another woman? What’s the use?”
We were in his bed, a single bed, but I was not looking at him. I felt insecure. Before, I was like a mistress, a “domina”. Now, like a weeping little child. Why? Eh, “why”… “After”, you know… When you “finish” two or three time (we say “finish”, to mean “come”), you are no more a rational, thinking woman: you are a slave. Weak, resigned, in love with your master… I felt him yet inside, his strong sex, his semen… so warm, so much… And I wanted him again, I was of his own. But he was not mine. He took me, he can take me again, if he wants, how he wants, I thought. Or else, he can take another woman. Why couldn’t he? And what can I do?
“My girl friends are pretty. Really you don’t want them? They like you. You could have all of them, I know…”
“All of them? I’m not made of steel!” he said, apparently worried. I snorted.
“You can choose all the ones you want… One, two, three…”
“Oh, no, that’s not good… How could I tell them, “yes, you can, no, you can’t”… Not good! “Niekharashò”!”
I was not weeping anymore: I was laughing. Yes, he was kidding… But I was not. Yes, theoretically, he could possess other women, and I mean “seduce” them, not “pay” them, let alone “rape” them… Foreigner, nice, strong… And yes, there were many other women in Moscow, in Russia. Besides my girl friends too. Was it enough to doubt about him, to accuse him? He stroked my hair, kissed me on my mouth.
“I want only you, “devchònka”…” he said. I had worked it out already. Some minutes later, he was inside of me again, between my arms, between my thights… Strong, warm… mine… Only mine…
But, believe it or not, it was happening MONTHS after we met the first time…
And the first months had been absolutely “white”… You know what I mean…