by Carmen Firan [USA]
translated from Romanian by: Alina Roşu [MTTLC student]
pentru versiunea română click aici
It had stopped snowing for a long time and now a swift piercing wind had laid siege to the town blowing the snow as if a mantle of white pepper that cut your face and heated your nostrils. It was one of the many evenings when she was lying alone a glass of wine in her hand and Mozart in the background, exhausted from so much work, the cat dozing next to her on the couch. It got dark early; the northern cold swallowed both spring and autumn, the faint sun spread as a rotten yolk in the grey sky.
She had been a solar being, in love with the sea. In her youth, she used to spend a month in Vama Veche and almost every morning she would wake up to see the sunrise on the beach. She stayed with the same host all the time, an old tartar lady who spoiled her with cheese pie and yoghurt for breakfast and who fried huge amounts of chubs in the evenings which she gnawed at as if they were seeds while reading at the light of a bulb hanging askew in the kiosk in the garden. Friends were coming and going, she never got bored. She swam till she felt her muscles pulsing with energy, she took long walks on the sea shore picking up sea shells and rocks, she slept sound and read a lot. Life was tasty and Sonia was always hungry.
Communism had shown its ugly aggressive claws but she had her own shields she had cleverly made. Or instinctively. She had always been living two parallel lives. One for everyone, in the daylight, the other hidden, only for herself. And emigration had amplified her duplicity.
A clink came from the sleepless computer, a sign she had received an e-mail. She was not going to hurry and read it, it was most probably work, a demanding boss, an insistent client or an Asian business partner, it was daytime in Asia already. Being R&D director for such a big company, having more than 20 employees and two secretaries is a performance for anyone and not many women get to have this position. Especially when one is an emigrant. It was just that Sonia was extremely determined and aware of her intelligence and power of manipulation. She would have made it anywhere, under any circumstances. It’s a pity happiness has nothing to do with all of these.
She refilled her glass and decided to read her emails after all. She had an important meeting the following day with the president of a big American company, and as her director had repeatedly told her, the whole company was practically depending on her. She was the one who negotiated the contracts and got the terms she wanted. There was that blend of strength and femininity about her, that mixture of charisma and stubbornness that East European women show, being delicate and driven at the same time, being able to seduce, but also assert themselves. Moreover they were more sophisticated than their men, they adapted anywhere they would have emigrate to, and weren’t too nostalgic for what they had left behind.
She didn’t get it from the first who was writing to her. A short message, that he had found her email address on Google, that he was now living in America, and that she might not even be that Sonia thirty years ago, anyway he was waiting for her to confirm, and if she did… would she keep in touch? The mail was from one Sebastian. Sonia scanned it quickly, carelessly lit a cigarette and only after the mail had already been marked as read, she screamed frightening the cat: Sebastian? I can’t believe it! Sebastian?
She kept reading the message until her eyes became bloodshot, the cigarette burnt itself out and the ash spread on the computer keyboard. Time had healed her, she had stopped waiting for miracles to happen, she had forgotten him. But there he was, he had reappeared, reborn out of the ashes of so many years, of so many losses and so many conquests. Conquerors are however lonely and sad once they have reached the top, after a great effort, having sacrificed everything to their success, they look down from the height of the stage but everything around looks deserted, the horizon is just as round and remote and untouchable. And there is nothing beyond it, not a single thing. Each conqueror pays a price for their victory, and each conqueror will end being a loser.
Her first impulse was to answer to him immediately. What to tell him? Yes, it was her, she was alone, yes, she desperately wanted to reconnect, she wanted just what he did. Every time Sonia wanted something, she wanted all or nothing. But let not scare him off from the beginning. She did that, scare off men. Anxious as she was, she got straight to the point, using and entire arsenal of seduction, she knew exactly what she wanted and she always got what she wanted. And after that? It would have been different with Sebastian, though. He could have kept up with her. He was her other half. Why had she broken herself in half then? Faith will do such things. Only she pretends she can control her own destiny. Had age tamed her and she was now unwinding everything with a different intensity, without pride and vanity?
She didn’t slept all night long. She waited for a day to pass till she felt she could not bear the pressure anymore and the next evening she started writing.
Am I dreaming? I can’t believe I am writing to you now after all these years I kept the words inside me, I screamed on the inside, I wish I could say I even cried, but I don’t cry. I didn’t cry I saw you for the last at the window in the train taking you to Timisoara. I had found out that you had filled in the forms and that you and all your family wanted to move to Germany for ever. I never knew anything about America, maybe you will tell me how you got there. I have wondered on many occasions why our love mattered less than the hatred against the system and the desire to leave the country. I had the feeling that you wouldn’t keep your promise to come back and take me with you, I didn’t have any illusions, I am not the type to fall for that nor do I like looking defeated or abandoned. And to be honest with you from the start, I regretted it wasn’t me the one who was leaving and you the one standing on the platform. Breakups are easier for those who leave than for those who stay. From that moment on I have been dreaming to revenge. And I know how to get my revenge. I swore it to myself that no man would ever defeat me, that I would always be waving goodbye out of the train window. Yes, with a heavy heart, but heading for something different. That’s why I got married so quickly to Stefan, turning my parents against me, shocking everyone. To punish you. My poor mother died soon afterwards, from an illness she had hidden from me and my father. So we wouldn’t worry. Unlike me, she always thought the others came first. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have had time for her sufferance; I was obsessed with myself, with my future and my happiness. I didn’t even cry for her either. I am not cruel; don’t rush to misjudge me. I have got a kind of wisdom and a particular kind of realism that scares many.
Thank you for finding me. It’s late in the night here, it started to snow again but no snowflake will touch the ground. Here in Sweden it sometimes snows like this, only in the air, the wind will brush everything. I can focus on myself now, I can abandon myself to my thoughts, to my febrile imagination… ME. Me and myself. I made it all these years because I had these moments of introspection, of freedom. It was the same in Romania too, I used to have my own inner world. It saved me. I absolutely love to listen to music, to read, to philosophize, to reflect on things. It’s a vital necessity for me, a refuge where I can find my peace and charge my batteries. Despite all appearances, despite my imperial and troubled personality, I still am a very lonely person, trapped in my world. Maybe, just as my mother said, I have a high degree of arrogance that would not allow two suns in my one-planet constellation. ME. Here, I will talk about myself for a while, a unique occasion to let you discover me the way I am, be it only in the name of our past love… to allow you see how I changed over the years, and if your emotional memory helps you, to allow you to visualize me not only physically, but also psychically and spiritually. When you met me I wasn’t only beautiful. I was also intelligent. And conceited and arrogant. Smart though, even witty, knowing myself perfectly, I knew how to value the things which were to my advantage. But in this life, Sebastian, despite the fact I asked for a lot and I defied a lot, I only loved you. It seems insane. You meant everything. Love-love: from all points of view. In fact my first love. My first man. In fact, everything.
Today, time has turned upside-down. I had a febrile day. The sound of your voice in my ears, movies from our youth unwinding in my mind, tens of files I had to process at work and to duplicate proposals and calculations, my heart throbbing. I lived oscillating in between an insane happiness and an immense sadness. I downloaded your photo in my computer, my fingers trembling all along. You are just as handsome. And your eyes have the same powers over me. I can hear your breath somewhere behind this screen, I can see your eyes sparkling like that day when you drew in the sand the monogram of our love, S&S, Sonia and Sebastian, and afterwards we entered the tent set up on the beach and made love till dawn in the noise of the waves and in the harsh screams of seagulls. Do you remember? As a matter of fact you are even more handsome now. Some men look better at their maturity than in their youth. They gain weight, their features become spiritual, they look good in their own skin, they seem self-confident, in charge, they breathe force through their pores. (I can consider myself a man from this point of view.). However I can see on your face a content, satisfied, fulfilled expression. This has troubled me. Should I tell you that you seem happy? Happy??? Even though you are not with me? I can’t step on my pride, so I am going to tell you there is a shadow on your face. I can still feel there is something you miss. And I would know how to chase away all shadows. If you give me the chance. I don’t understand why you’re saying you’d rather chat via email, why wouldn’t you call, or give me your number to call you. But I will respect this demand. I will do whatever you say, we will communicate under your terms. I wouldn’t lose you one more time.
I relived, again and again, the moment we had met at that jazz concert. I was with Stefan. How would I know they would let you come and visit after all?! It was said the ones who left weren’t allowed to return to the country. But there were no rules in our world. I didn’t though believe you had returned for me. I can’t find the words to describe what was happening in my heart when you came to me and congratulated me for my marriage. I was madly in love with you, the way I loved you from the first moment I saw you… but I had lost you forever… there had passed only a few months since I had finally had the proof of your love: you introduced me to your friends and to your former colleagues, you brought me to your house. Your father couldn’t take his eyes off me, and I think your mother liked me a little too, didn’t she? Then I found out you had broken the engagement with the girl whose name I can’t remember just now… you did everything the right way, but when you had to choose, you chose freedom. I can’t blame you for it. I wonder if I would have done the same, had I been given the chance. Maybe yes.
I married Stefan to shock. I went to a party, he was there too. I got drunk. Being afraid not to become ridiculous, I went to a room to sleep. He came after me and sat on a chair near the bed, he began to tell me he had watched me for long, that he was head over heels in love with me but he didn’t have any chance because he was an outcast he also explained why he was an outcast. Dizzy as I was, I pretended to be sleeping, but I was carefully listening. Noticing he was talking in vain, he left. I told to myself: here is a man who worships me. He will never leave me. He will be my slave all his life. He fitted the pattern. And I went to bed at peace with myself. I woke up in the morning, I made up and went to the room where the party was still on, but the party people were exhausted. Stefan sat on a chair, a couple was dancing and the others were lying around. I went straight to him and I asked him: will you marry me? Puzzled, but ecstatic, he said yes. It was the first time I had met him. A month later we were married. It was a challenge for me: to save the outcast! I was young and I didn’t know one doesn’t have the right to try to change someone’s destiny. The payment soon came. I didn’t love him, I became frigid. I passionately hated almost all kind of intimate closeness. I am horrified even now as I am writing. After Anamaria’s birth, he changed dramatically. Or he started being himself. An extremely jealous and violent guy. When I told him I wanted to break up, he threatened to disfigure me. It was a terrifying chapter for me as I am extremely keen on my physical appearance. Being frightened of him, I managed to run away and I hid for almost one year. I finally got the divorce and I lived alone with Anamaria for seven years. Job and home. Yes, and friends, but only friends. No kind of affair, no relationships.
In 1989, shortly before the revolution, I met Radu again, my childhood boyfriend. Ever since we were in school, our parents had dreamed to see us together one day, the way parents keep having stupid dreams. To him I remarried. In the beginning, Radu seemed the perfect slave too. He pretended that I was the love of his life, that he had waited for me, hoping I would divorce one day and I would become his. Here I am! Another chapter and another failure. We planned to emigrate to America. Alas! But we accidentally ended up in Sweden. Radu had a brother in Stockholm who was working for a plane factory where he arranged that Radu would also be employed. Radu was a good computer worker but he lacked initiative and energy, a fair but jaded nature. No one would ever give him a promotion and all he ever wants is a computer screen and a secure salary. The monotony of a rigorous life, deprived of glamour was reassuring for him, while it drove me insane. At 28 I wanted more, at 30 I wanted everything. I considered him a loser, and losers become antipathetic. I grew even more frigid.
If I feel I bore you, the river novel will end before it starts. It is said in life one reincarnates for a few purposes. In my case, I had to learn to be humble and to give my unconditioned love. Life slapped me enough. This is only a glimpse of all I want to reveal to you. After all, you can read my lines at night, having thus the impression of a living book, with real characters. I feel though that you are quite silent. Why are your emails so short? Or shall I say concentrated? I unleash myself, I am a storm of words and senses, I am like a tsunami, I invade, I take over. Am I intimidating you? Don’t be afraid, I will not swallow you. Not yet. (I am joking.) I can see you learned something in America, being concise, without useless details. Useless? Anything about you will be interesting to me. I want to know everything, to read you, to understand you, to know every detail of your life, what you wear, what you eat, what you read, what wine you drink. Everything. I am waiting. Although patience is not one of my strengths.
I am saying good morning darling. I want you to wake up every morning with my words, to let them caress you, dare you, ravish you, spoil you, so that you could imagine me, want me, love me… to win you to take control of you with words before I win you and take control of you for real. I go to bed later and later at night, I get up very early in the morning. I am afraid of losing you in my sleep. Maybe you are still asleep. Which side do you sleep on?
I had a horrible day today. I haven’t had a moment to catch my breath. I want to leave this company I have loved as if mine…. I was rewarded for it. I have earned good money here. I am in fact a rich woman, I own a big house, an expensive car, bank accounts, the whole package. But the stress is enormous. And the responsibilities too. Loneliness is overwhelming. I am surprised I am not insane with all this work and loneliness. A sterile world, that goes around the clock. Americanization has reached everywhere. Anyhow, today I talked to one of the owners of an American firm that I have been collaborating with for years. He appreciates me a lot. I didn’t let my employer think for a second that I want to leave. I manage everything: budget, forecast cash flow, studies, marketing, training… I would need a few months to train someone to take over my responsibilities. The Americans want me right away. They know how to choose and to buy. And I answer well to the temptations. (I confess that your image is floating in the background above the New York skyscrapers.) I was loyal to this company but I am unprincipled. My interest and my happiness come first. And they are both no doubt related to you. Yes, I can move to New York! You never asked, but answers will usually be braver than questions. And many will come earlier, before questions. Don’t be afraid, I will be standing on my own feet! And what legs! Not only beautiful, nervous, of a thorough-bred stallion, but also champions. I can make it anywhere. I proved it both in Romania and in Sweden. It will take me a day to conquer America. You will proud of me. And I am a pilgrim. I carry my house with me on my back. I am fluent in five languages, including English and Spanish, so I am perfect for America. Europe has fallen a lot, it has become intolerant and intimidated by the waves of immigrants. The clear northern spirit has also altered. Cold and darkness cannot be compensated by the security of tomorrow or by some sort of mysterious purity. I am intolerant by nature, but I can pretend. I have a problem with the Indian accent, I can’t stand Muslims but no one would ever realize it, don’t worry. And don’t be afraid, I will not burst into your life (although I would love to!) You have turned my life upside-down, you have stirred me, you have let me think it would be possible… you have given me hopes so don’t be surprised if I am so impatient now and I plan to fly like mad. I know exactly how to fly.
I passionately hate my moments of mental inconsistency, like the one I had today. And I passionately hate the moments I feel tethered. I can become violent in such moments… as a matter of fact I am an extremely violent person… I tried to control this challenge, to fight against it by practicing yoga, sport, music… But remember I am an Aries. I am looking for trouble and danger. I know to show off and to market myself, but I can also be generous. I love freedom. But I sometimes think that the stars had a bad influence over me at birth and I live the dark scenario of an Aries that can become exalted, choleric, hysterical, violent. But no, you have no reasons to be afraid. You have always brought the best out of me.
I sometimes don’t know whether I am writing to you or to me. A therapeutic exercise. I sometimes have doubts. Is it really you? Is it real what is happening to me? Or it is only one of my fantasies, me, the creator of fantasies, allegories and farces meant to keep my soul alive? Your messages are sometimes so cryptic, so reticent, so hermetic that I feel bare. Naked in front of you. I invite you to picture it for a while: naked in front of you! What would you do? I am warning you that I look hellishly well for my age and that I am maddeningly sensual… tonight I have listened to a song of the old times. It filled me with my image back then, dancing, happy in your arms, void of any convulsion that could defile the blend of two souls. A journey into the imaginary, platonic and innocent. I abandoned myself to the music and I let my soul vibrate in peace… In such moments I become one (I am not joking) with the universe… And the feeling of cosmic affiliation invests me with a dimension of love beyond control. I would dance till I drop exhausted… I am crazy about dance. Father (whom I take after) was a big dance fan. Mother, who was extraordinarily sober, constantly refused his invitations to dance. When I grew up, I was my father’s ideal dance partner. I remember, on a holiday in Bulgaria, at Nisipurile de aur (I was sixteen) I danced with him boogie in a club. This girl is extraordinary, I could hear people sitting at tables saying. We got a champagne case on the house, the German tourists’ applause completely out of their mind and mother’s reproaches for “having made a foul out of ourselves”. Oh God how I could dance right now… I would love the following scenario: you and me at a party… dancing, then you minding your own business, small talks with friends, having a drink, whatever, as you call it, while I would go into my world… dance, have fun noticing lusty looks of frustrated males, of jealous wives… it is said I have the most extraordinary eyes ever, a fascinating charm, a terrible magnetism and that I am an unbeatable “charmeuse”. Well, I use all of these to serve my own interests. I feel a voluptuous pleasure knowing that the male population is panicking. One of these days I will scan for you messages from my colleagues, victims from the start, reading what they write to me will drive you crazy… In America they would probably end up in a law court charged with harassment. So how come I want to move to America? You got it right. First of all because you live there. And also because here I have exhausted almost all there was. How up could I climb? I have reached the top. I am now going to the cold and empty bed, uselessly big, a king size of loneliness, thinking of you, the kitty warming my feet.
Can you imagine madness in all its forms? I came back, I am a complete mess I can’t go to work like this. I have to tell you what is on my mind this morning. Get used to the idea that I am extremely straightforward, even if it cost me my life. I feel extremely vulnerable, you have brought me in this condition, maybe by saying a few words that opened Pandora’s box, carefully locked many years ago. I wanted you last night. My body was craving for you madly. Shall I thank you? Yes and no. You still are my painful weakness. You were my first man and you still are the one and only. My hands are trembling when I am writing to you… Although last night I was trying to oppress any physical desire I had, my body defeated my brain. As it happened on many occasions during the last 30 years, I woke up wishing YOU made love to me. I used to be an extremely sexual being but I displayed a hellish frigidity, this chapter being a dead one for me. In the name of my feelings last night, I want to tell you that I love you, I re-love you. It is slightly too soon, isn’t it? After all, we have always skipped stages. I feel my eyes water, almost in tears. Can you believe it? But I am not crying. Why are you so far away? Had you been anywhere in Europe, I would have been with you now. I would have got on the first plane. I am aware I cannot just burst into your life. Not now… Today I missed you madly. All my being needs you desperately. Remember Sebastian how noisy we were when we were young, how passionate. I am just as crazy, as you once said I was. I need to throw myself into your arms. Will it be possible? When will it be possible?
No. I don’t want to scare you. It is true, in the Chinese horoscope I am a Dragon, the symbol of force and madness to the highest degree. Dragon- Aries. Imagine the combination! A dragon will always do only what it will. It has a magnetic force and a courage that make it succeed where no one would even dare try. But no, I didn’t notice I use the word madness so much. It must mean I am not afraid of using it. Tell your friend the shrink he is wrong. I heard there in America even sadness is considered an illness and is being treated. But does this mean you told your friend about me? About us? I do not mind it, anyway at a point our relationship will be public, I am in fact glad that you talk with your friends about me.
My computer crashed. Exactly now! When you are at the other end and I assume looking forward to receiving my messages. Ah! I could break everything around me. I simply feel like going crazy. Until I have it fixed, I will be writing from the office, more concisely (are you happy?), but more intensely.
No, I am not calm yet. I am in a kind of storm of my senses, mental and spiritual. A trap has opened that I do not want to close again, but I do not know how beneficial it can be for me and for us. I am extremely impulsive, passionate and sometimes impossible. I am the most womanly woman that you can imagine. When I told you about punishment and other penalties, I was joking, Sebastian. I have suffered a lot and I have punished myself. I swore I would live each moment as if the last. We have to meet as soon as possible. Otherwise, I will go crazy. I have a feeling of intense happiness thinking that maybe… the dream will be possible… I love you. I want you madly.
It was cold, it was snowing today when I went out to go to work … I remembered a cold winter day thirty years ago… I had finished my courses… it was snowing. You were at your parents’ and I did not know anything about you for some time. I was missing you terribly… I was craving for you madly… I was climbing down the stairs at the university with a colleague. A snowball hit me in the shoulder. I see the attacker: you, in your blue jacket that made your eyes look even bluer, with your black and white scarf wrapped around your neck, smiling amused… Ah! I was so happy! Ah! I knew what to expect… Ah! in the blink of an eye I was in your arms, lost in the kiss that I knew so well…
I re-read the messages – mine are much more and longer – you seem more and more reticent while I seem to be more and more unleashed. Am I wrong? Ah! Sebastian… My love Sebastian… tell me something, tell me what I need to hear.
There is nothing you should be worried about… no need for you to be concerned. I am after all a normal being that has a much more rapid life rhythm than you. I am forever extremely busy, I have four or five things to do at the same time. When someone enters my office, they know they have to be fast, straight to the point, ready. That is what my employers ever wanted, that is what I have turned up to be. Other than that? I am fine, just exhausted. I caught a cold last night. (Making love to you virtually? What voluptuousness! ) I cough, I am running at the nose, people say I am red in the cheeks. I do not think I have a temperature, I have not had fever in my life. I have antibodies and an immunity system hard to defeat and to imagine. Yes! On my birthday two years ago I shaved my head and everybody was shocked. They all said I was extremely aristocratic, arrogant, beautiful. Well? What do you say? Am I frightening you? Are you afraid or happy?
No, I do not think I am a narcissist as you suggest… Or maybe your shrink has told this to you? They put you in a little house, they make you draw a tree, tell a dream, and that is it, they know what pill to give you to kill your soul, your sensitivity, your emotions. Earth will end up being inhabited by unfeeling little people. I am warning you I am not going to enter any little house. My ego is bigger than the therapist’s couch, my soul lies above the ocean, stretching so far as to reach you. And if it doesn’t find you there, it will go farther, it will stretch even more, until it reaches the line of the horizon. Not indifferent, not unfeeling. Hurt. Yes, sad, heartbreakingly sad, but strong. Tell this to your shrink.
Anamaria was a very controversial child and the target of unjustified charges. Stefan used to say she took exactly after you (and our common friends thought the same). As long as we lived together, Stefan tortured me a lot because of you. He would tell me I refused to sleep with him because I saved myself for you, because I was still obsessed with you and I was the slave of your love. When Anamaria was born, he had the proof, according to him, I was already pregnant when I married him and the girl was yours. I broke up with him when the girl was eight months old. He was firmly convinced you would come back to take me with you and start a family! If I showed you a photo of Anamaria when she was little, you would say she is you and that she is undoubtedly your child. I do not know how thins could happen. Maybe because in intimacy, I was sleeping with him and I was intensely thinking about you?
I did not want children. I had her. I cannot imagine why I did not get pregnant with you, despite the absolute union between our bodies and senses. To make a girl on her first night have five orgasms, this is something hard to imagine or to explain. And our moments of physical love were so sublime that I consider it a punishment that the fruit of procreation did not produce… maybe we did not deserve it. It is said that in life we get exactly what we deserve… And, yes, Anamaria is Stefan’s child.
Dominique? Oh, God! I want to see him, please send me a picture of him… And his name astonished me. During my pregnancy, it did not even cross my mind I could give birth to a girl. Two disasters at the same time were hard to imagine… Poor Anamaria! She knows these things by heart and they do not please her. She is always telling her friends that I did not want her, that I wanted a boy. I add every time: but I loved you. Anyway, the name of the boy I was expecting was… Dominique. It is unbelievable. When I read that, I froze… Anamaria looks a lot like you, you gave your child the name of the child I was expecting. It simply makes me sick. I am afraid even to try to find a meaning to so many things that link us.
P.S. I am sorry for your wife.
P.P.S. I do not know how many other women you had and I do not want you to tell me. I consider myself (in my insanity) your only real woman. Let me keep dreaming. Dreams are the weapons of the future. I want to part with the past. With yours and mine. And I see the future as ours. The two of us together, for ever.
Because you invite me to be rational, here it is, I am rational. You do not have to lie to me, you do not have to hide or to invent excuses to escape or to keep living your life the way you have so far. I am intuitive, clairvoyant. I can feel it. Anyway, your life will now divide in two stages, or three, the time with me, my absence, and us meeting again. But you do not have to be afraid of me. I am afraid enough. Sebastian, my love Sebastian, if you only knew how much this strong woman Sonia wishes she were a simple woman-woman, who someone could take care of, wishes she were protected, loved, appreciated, important… If only I weren’t so frightened, so alone, if I knew life can really be a dream and not a burden…
Yes, I have all kind of thoughts. Yes, I change moods suddenly. I have this disposition. I sometimes double myself, sometimes I even multiply myself. I can climb mountains without gasping, and dive and hold my breath until people on the shore would report me drowned, I can leave or stay and win all men in a room, in a street, in a city. But I want only you. To smother you with my love. To devour you ruthlessly, just like it says in my horoscope. What about you? Sebastian, do you honestly think you can love a woman who changes amazingly day by day, who is a pure-blooded feline, an arrogant woman, who will possess till she smothers and who will for ever claim her right to freedom? Could you love an angel/ demon/ sublime/ hellish/ violent/ affectionate/ nonconformist/ conservative/ rebel/ obedient/ intelligent/ fiery woman? Do you think you could? I am the biggest paradox you could imagine… But beyond all these, I know I am exceptional. I know that someone will rarely get bored with me. Please do not be afraid and do not worry. I am all yours.
I have many times wondered how my life would have been like if I had stayed in Romania. I am not the typical emigrant. I did not leave because I was forced to, nor because I chose to, it just happened. No matter where I live, I could get blood out of a stone. I am not nostalgic. I do not grow attached on people nor on continents. I can be myself, only myself, wherever I would be. I was forced to have only myself. And after a while, I started to like it. Of course, I will have Anamaria, who is now an independent being. And the kitty of course. And now you, Sebastian, you, my lost love. And I hope with all my heart, it is a love I won back. Do you believe in the power of words? Do you believe in the reversibility of destiny? Do you think we could be together again, a whole, unbreakable this time?
Sometimes I think what it would be like if I were born one more time. Under a different star configuration. Maybe I would meet you. And you would not run away to Germany. We would have got married, would have had a Filip and an Anamaria, or not. Would we have settled in Bucharest or we would have moved to Timisoara? Would we have emigrated to America together or we would have got to Sweden by chance? It is all the same for me. As long as we would have been together, loving each other. Madly loving each other. But what if…? What if live had played one of its tricks on us? I feel dizzy… Shall we not take into consideration the good side of our break up? Shall we not believe that destiny knows what it is doing? And if it does not, we can help it! Shall we not take advantage of the fact that we are grown up and fulfilled, that we did everything there was to be done, we had children, a career, and we had everything one could have had, we had our successes and failures, so that now, at a beautiful and wise age we could have each other in peace to cherish the chance and defeat time? Maybe destiny, I will say it again, knows what it is doing, maybe the 30 years of absence were only the sign that love has been latent the whole time and it has been waiting for us. Just as strong. Just as mad. Don’t you think that we should be together and love each other until we die? Can’t you see that destiny is yelling at us: love each other and be one until death does you apart?
I am trying to understand why you have drawn this alarm signal. I am not going to place any burden on your shoulders and I am not going to pressure you in any way. I am only being honest, I am writing only what I feel, what and how I want things to happen. I have mentally relived everything that could have upset you, disturbed you, and aroused suspicions, everything that could have made you suggest to me once more to come down on earth. My feet are firmly planted on the ground, I can assure you. That does not mean I am not also a performance flyer. Now that I have found you, Sebastian, (ah, how well has destiny had the dice be thrown to my advantage, and by your hand!), I need to make you understand a few things: first, how important you were to me. Especially in time, especially after we broke up; then, to make you understand that once you have found me, we cannot just have a formal relation on the internet, as you probably intended when you sent me the first message. No. I cannot do that. It is all or nothing. Because our love story did not have an ending (not from my point of view). And once I start something, I always finish it. Just as I told you on that train platform, I could predict the breakup, I knew in the bottom of my heart I had lost you. And it wasn’t your fault. I had to give you some time and space, that’s the way you were working… maybe you are just the same. I, on the other hand, wanted everything, immediately and unconditionally. I am just the same now. In fact, I think no one really changes during his or her life. Most of us do not learn from their mistakes. Does history repeat its mistakes? Well, people make history, so implicitly, they will keep making the same mistakes all over again. Take me, for instance, no sooner had you come back than I had fallen in love with you again. Wasn’t it enough for me how much I suffered? Yes, it was, but there is an attraction to sufferance. I have not healed. I have not healed of my love for you. People like me are born for tragedy but claim victory on the top of cliffs. There is voluptuousness in sufferance also. Despite everything I have been through, if I ever reincarnate, I want to reincarnate in myself again.
When I die, I will drop as a skittle, bang! And that’s it. I haven’t got time for illnesses and treatment. My body, the vehicle I have chosen for this life, has to know how to fight against weaknesses and abuses, to defeat its vulnerabilities, to raise to the expectations of the soul I have. It is I and only I the one who brings in my sentence. I will die when I want to. No, I am not a hermit. I will not think of committing suicide, I’d rather kill than kill myself. No, I will not die when I have nothing to live for. Or if I lose my minds. Like my maternal grandmother did… Schizophrenia, depression, God knows what. She killed herself at an age when it is pointless to kill yourself. I live now for you only and I madly want you back, just for myself, for ever. But I live for myself first of all. Have you ever heard of a narcissist who committed suicide? This is just to give satisfaction to your shrink! Ha, ha!
I promise to you, and please forgive me.
Sebastian… Sebastian! Thank you for being there somewhere, thank you that I wake up in the morning to find your few lines that are so important to me. Thank you for having found me. Now you will have to bear the consequences though. I will love you or relove you madly the way I like to say it. Shall I describe it to you? At first, I will take advantage of you until I know I can lock you in a room full of beautiful young women without you even noticing them… Dead… dead… These are not harmful thoughts… I want you to consider yourself mine and only mine to your every cell.
When I asked you if you were afraid of me, I referred of course to the extremely complex character I have. It is both fascinating and hard sometimes… The big secret, do not forget, is that you force me to remain a woman, by exerting your manly role. This is a crucial thing for me. If I ever claim my freedom, listen to me! Never give it to me! Don’t let me be the one to take initiative. My experience so far has proven it is not recommended. The moment I turn into a man, I am far from being this person. All my life I have wanted that I be a woman, wildly woman, and a man should be a real man who knows how to love me and value me… Not because I didn’t have any value. I am aware, trust me, of my qualities and strength. It is more important for me though that the one I love value me so that I live every second for him. In society, I can have whatever I want, effortlessly. I can make such an impression that you cannot even imagine. I hope I do have the chance to prove it to you and you see this with your own eyes. I want you to worship me, to appreciate me, to make me feel I am important to you… What I mean is that I want to come first in your life. I will live only for you too. I give you the right to do whatever you want with me, to experiment on me anything that you want, to think that I belong to you, so that you can explore me, know me and understand me… I want you to be mine, I want to be yours, and I want that the extraordinary divine forces be completely revealed. Will it be possible? We have to start though, let’s embark upon this extraordinary expedition! I will be the ship and you will be the captain. If I sink, you will be the last to perish. If we reach the shore, we will rediscover an endless continent of love. Is this what you want? Is it how you want it? Tell me you do. Tell me to come to you. When?
Today, under the shower, I felt I was all yours and you all mine… You needn’t whip me, you needn’t scream, but I need to feel firmness, virility, force. To make love to me until I faint, until our cells begin to migrate from one to the other and we will not know anymore whether it is you or me… I will devour you out of love as a termite and I will let myself be devoured by you. My pleasure will be more than organic. No, I am not paranoiac, nor nymphomaniac. Shall I tell you I am a lonely desperate woman who doesn’t have the time and wants you all, wants you madly? Only you? How long shall I keep repeating this to you?
OK. Having thought about it for long, I have chosen a skirt extremely tight at the upper part, a top that obviously covers my breast, sleeveless and strapless… of course, if someone pulled it down, they would undress me completely to my waist… to my despair, who would do this to me? Around my waist, to highlight it, I am wearing a red leather belt, a double wrap, should someone… but who???… pull the top down, it will still cover my navel. Although it is cold, I cannot wear my mink coat with this outfit, because it is brown and it doesn’t match, so I will take my black arched overcoat, long to the ground, that looks a lot like the overcoats of damsels walking on the misty bridges of St Petersburg… I am wearing a black toque on my head, covering my forehead to my eyebrows. All these are highlighted by a sublime blend of perfumes that I got by wearing the “Magie Noire” perfume and Dolce and Gabbana body lotion. What do you think Mr. Sebastian? (Do you think I have changed a lot compared to the girl you first saw? Who was wearing a black mini-skirt – mini, it was the mini period! A lace blouse with black flowers and braless, of course… only the flowers were well placed and could perfectly hide my nipples…) Yes, I forgot: I am wearing red leather boots, the same color as the belt and black leather bracelets… I did my nails in black Dior nail polish… Do you think you could like me today??? Would you tear my clothes? Do you think I could stir you???? Do you think I could take you out of your shell??? Could I drive you crazy????!!!
With my typical arrogance, I declare myself a genius. The efect was a deadly. The American was knocked out. Along with my experience and professional value, my physical appearance was devastating. I signed the contract. I am coming!!!
You can imagine maybe what is going on in my heart: lust, love… madness… I am not embarking on this trip thinking we will see if we (still) like each other, if we find each other agreeable. I simply don’t want it… I embark on this journey knowing that Sebastian is waiting for me somewhere… One has to be prepared for many adjustments, of almost all kinds… the list is long. Everything can be adjusted, with common wishes and purposes, with positive thoughts and with lots and lots of love. Although, I repeat it, patience is not my essential quality, I do understand that everything must start with the beginning… And to start with I ask only one thing from you: that you love me too. Only thus will I have the courage to risk everything on one card… Only thus will I have the power to pull everything down and to start all over again. Knowing that you are waiting for me, knowing that you really love me, knowing that I belong to you and you belong to me. I do not want experiments, I do not want adventures and I do not want trials. Is it too much what I am asking, Sebastian? I have been dreaming you for years on end… You have found me, you have started the storm, now you have to keep firmly on your feet. I do not want to lose you again.
Yours for ever,
The dangerous shrew is clearly me. I have placed our photos next to each other in order to decipher the chemistry between us. I looked at you: you, detached, analytic, content, calm? jaded? balanced (although a Libra!), in control of your feelings. In my face: the ravishing passion, the despair, the exceptional and (oh dear!) the hellish woman. I got angry. You have your feet planted firmly on the ground while my heart is in the sky? Beyond the shock given by putting our pictures next to each other, I got effectively sick. Sexual attraction however is to the utmost extent. It transgress our neighboring photos like the lava of a volcano erupting. Is this maybe because of my febrile imagination and my predisposition to extreme eroticism that I have when I think of you?… I am bursting into fire! I do not know what you once did to me, now you bear the consequences, dear sir…
I see myself gone, in your arms, a spectacular meeting after three decades. The emotion exhausted me. Plus the pressure at work. Is it madness what I am doing? I am throwing myself in the ocean without having any idea whether the life belt is inflated… I am terribly afraid… I am absolutely exhausted, I am dying of work overdose and exhaustion like a Japanese. I am dying of love and impatience. I am hurrying to take a bath. And I hope I won’t die in the bath tub. The witch killed for good by the force of the good… then I take the luggage packed already for a week, I grab a taxi and I fly to you. I feel my pulse exploding. Something probably similar to what Armstrong felt when he set foot on the Moon…”
Summer had come hesitatingly and waveringly. Sonia was listening to Grieg in the purr of the tomcat that pretended to be sleeping at her feet. She had emptied a bottle of wine and she was thinking of opening the second. Evenings were longer, silence more overwhelming, loneliness had found a place in her home and soul. She was now working on a project with a Japanese firm and she had to wake up early. Maybe it would be a good idea to learn Japanese. Maybe she should quit smoking. Dye her hair red. Take up Pilates.
A cling came from the computer, a sign that she had received an email. Anamaria was writing to her she would pass by the next day to see her before she left on a holiday to New York with her boyfriend. A tall and gentle Swedish man, insipid, according to Sonia. But it wasn’t her business. All she could remember about New York was the ambulance siren. Doctors in blue robes running with the gurney to the operating room. And Sebastian’s face distorted with pain. Heart failure, a nurse had yelled at her before the massive doors closed behind him. His heart had exploded as if a red carnation opened forcibly. If he had given her space and time… She didn’t have any time left. She sat in front of the computer and started writing. What should she write to him? From behind the screen, silence only, like foul water.