для читателей старше 18 лет
EMOTIONS RULE ( or MAY I FEEL SAID SHE)
Dedicated to the women I’ve known …
In the room of darkness, there was a single patch of sunlight escaping through the blackout curtains from both sides of the window. Katya woke up in her king-size bed, her limbs scattered as if of a seastar. Her state could be compared to a shaken bottle of soda that had just been opened. In fact, it was her uncontrollable giggle of joy triggered by her memories of the previous night. To be precise, her late alfa-gravity class with her coach, the thirty-seven-year-old Alexandre. Broad-shouldered, tall, fair-haired young chap with piercing grey eyes and deep confident voice. What a treat for a single aging woman…
During the class, Katya might have stretched one of her arm muscles, which was not surprising- she was no longer a young lassy. Feeling responsible, Alexandre thought he ought to do something about it. Thus, he suggested massaging it. The deep voice of his assured her that she could fully trust him as he’d finished massage courses.
As his hands began their firm and confident gliding along her arm muscles, Katya closed her eyes and relaxed. A moment later, she wished he would never stop.
‘Tell me if it hurts,’ Alexandre said as-a-matter-of-factly.
‘Damn, it feels so good. You must be having lots of clients,’ stated Katya, slightly rocking from his strong gliding hands.
‘Oh, I’ve never thought of massaging as earning money. I just do it when someone needs it. Like, to my relatives or friends when they’re in pain, now you… maybe I should try earning some extra dough with it,’ he said chuckling.
‘I’d be the first client then. I’ve been thinking of having my back massaged for ages. Just didn’t know where to go to,’ said Katya with a slight moan in her voice.
‘I could give you the first massage now if you want to. The first one is for free, for my first client,’ the coach suggested seriously with a hardly noticeable playful undertone.
‘Right here?’ wondered Katya rounding her eyes, but expecting an affirmative answer.
‘No one is here. It’s my last class, and the receptionist has already left. On Fridays, I am responsible for closing the place. No worries,’ informed Alexandre with an innocent smile.
He fetched a mat from the corner of the room and a clean towel from the receptionist’s shelf. He spread it out on the mat, ‘Would that do for a massage table?’ wondered the ex-coach and newly-hired massage therapist squatting on the mat.
‘I suppose,’ responded Katya raising her shoulders and stretching her lips in a satisfactory smile.
‘Make yourself comfortable, I’ll be right back,’ uttered the jack-of-all-trades Alexander leaving the room.
As he came back Katya was lying on the towel on her stomach, topless, anticipating his touch.
‘Do they have some music in here?’ wondered the patient.
‘Some yoga mantras, I believe. They have yoga classes in this room as well. Let me check,’ he said. ‘What ancient equipment,’ he said trying to turn on the cd-center that he found in the corner of the room. As Alexandre held a wire he said, ‘Wait a minute, I think I can plug in my iPhone. I think I have some jazz. Would that suit you for the massage?’
‘I guess so,’ was Katya’s reply.
As the music began, he approached the mat and kneeled down near Katya.
‘Sorry, no massage oil here I would find,’ he warned and began rubbing his palms against each other.
‘No problem,’ Katya said paying attention only to her back.
What welcoming and ticklish anticipation covered her back! It seemed to be a giant runway ready for a plane to land. Finally, she felt his warm palms spread over her back – gliding, pushing, making her feel like dough in his firm men’s hands. The dough that was getting constant knots of electricity from his touch. Katya knew the feeling. A hell of a lot of chemistry she was getting from this young stud. And she felt the chemistry was mutual, so why not enjoy the evening? Her thoughts were interrupted by her own moaning as the masseur began to handle one spot with persistence.
‘Does it hurt here?’ Alexandre asked as a doctor pressing the spot harder with his firm fingers.
‘Yeah,’ said the patient. He concentrated on the spot now catterpillaring with his thumbs up the tension zone.
‘I think not a little,’ he said and added, ‘You have hell of a tension right here’.
He kept on working on the same spot, now chopping up the tension zone with his loose hands luring Ekaterina’s blood flow to come up to help him heal her body.
‘It hurts but I like it. It feels good, a bit painful and ticklish but good. The same feeling when your muscles hurt when you’ve overworked, but I adore the feeling,’ explained Katya, her voice as if coming from a dungeon.
‘Good for you. Some cannot stand the pain and plead me to stop the execution,’ Alexandre informed chuckling.
One song ended, and Teach Me Tiger by Marilyn Monroe poisoned the atmosphere around with its seducing, flirting, sexual vibes.
‘Didn’t know men listen to Marilyn Monroe these days,’ meowed Katya under Alexandre’s probing fingers.
He said as an expert, ‘Well, who else would Marilyn sing to… actually, it’s not my music. My sister borrowed my phone for one night, well, me with the phone, for her jazz party, cuz her phone got broken down on the very evening. Good that I kept the music. It appears quite handy tonight.’
As the procedure was close to an end, Alexander placed his palms on Katya’s back and held them still. Then he took Katya’s T-shirt to cover her back.
‘That’s it. Lay still for a couple of minutes and only then get up,’ he instructed.
‘I’m afraid I can’t,’ she exclaimed turning over on her back, her T-shirt flying over. She held herself on her elbows demanding, ‘I would also like a massage on my front side, please,’ her no-longer-firm breasts exposed and her eyes boring into his pupils surrounded by light grey.
He stared steadily at her for a whole minute. Never losing eye contact, the masseur silently placed his right knee and right hand close to the opposite side of her body and sat on her like on a horse. Instead of horse reins, he cupped her breasts. He gave her a gliding but confident kiss. Was he still in the massaging mode? Or could it be simply his style? His feature? Confidence all around him as his aura?
‘Call me Sasha, Ekaterina,’ he informed. ‘Would you like an inner massage too?’ he asked, his breathing deep and frequent at the same time, eyes half-closed.
‘Absolutely,’ Katya whispered in his ear and began pulling off his gym pants.
‘G’od, I’m nuts – he is a cute lil boy. He is nuts – I’m almost fifty-five, damn, almost a pensioner …but what a night!’ Katya exclaimed and sailed out of bed, drew apart the heavy curtains smiling to the morning sunshine.
She turned on her laptop to find the Teach me, Tiger song and sat down silently listening to the beginning. Her pinky finger between her teeth. Her tongue somewhere in between. She got up and started floating across the room playing with her purple nightgown. Finally, she approached the mirror and looked at herself. What did the woman in the purple nightgown see? Did she see the real self? What kind of woman had she grown into? And how had she been transforming into the one she saw then in front of herself?
There stood a tall, ripe woman. The wrinkles on her face and neck suggested she could be somewhere in her mid-forties. She took great care of her skin with no injections, that were so popular those days, but with masks, massage and facial acupuncture. No one could ever tell her real age. She was barefoot and in her purple satin nightgown. She was slim, fit from swimming and her recent alfa-gravity classes. Hanging on ropes attached to the ceiling did its wonders to her body. She was proud of her looks. Ekaterina winked at her reflection and smiled. Her hair used to be blonde, but now she was dying it blonde to hide the grey color of aging. Her besties had once nicknamed her Blondie, hence, she should remain so. What if they changed the nickname to Grey-haired? She would never like to be called so, would she?
‘Maybe I should stop dying it and let it be natural. Why should I hide age changes? Cuz everybody does. But I’m not everybody. Or am I?’ she asked herself roughly touching her strands making them fluffy from tangling. She danced more in front of the mirror seducingly showing off her hips. The aka stripper abruptly stopped and hunched theatrically when she remembered what day it was. The obligation of this day triggered a sudden lump in her chest which was about to ignite Katya’s whole anxiety of the day.
It was her daughter’s birthday. Eighteen years before Katya had decided to tell her birthday girl about her Dad on her eighteen’s birthday. Back then Katya had named her Varvara, Varya (same as Barbara, to inject some wilderness into her character, some barbarian nature). Today was the time to let her little birdie fly out from under her mum’s wing and enjoy life and freedom. Easy to say than to do. Blondie still saw her daughter as her little girl. The girl whom she had breastfed, nursed, shared times of illnesses and successes, failures and victories, whom she knew so well and would always care about her as she, Ekaterina Mitrofanova, was simply her mother.
Blondie had spent months thinking about what kind of present to get Varya. Finally, she had asked her daughter’s bestie, Lyuda. The latter surely had to know what Varya might desire.
‘Well, that’s pretty easy. I know what she really wants. I want it too, but we don’t know if you approve. I asked my parents a long time ago and they said yes. But Varya decided to wait till she entered a university,’ began Lyuda with her long introduction, ‘I hope she won’t kill me for telling you this.’
‘Of course not. It’ll be a surprise. A present she would definitely like, c’mon tell me, Lyuda,’ Blondie pleaded.
‘She wants to go to Cuba to learn how to dance Salsa, to learn Spanish. You know, see the world on her own, well, with me actually. The school years would be behind. We would have a month before we start a university, you know,’ giggled Lyuda nervously repeating herself.
‘You wanna feel freedom,’ finished Katya with a knowing smile. Somewhere deep inside she felt a hidden sadness. The sadness of realizing that her daughter was no longer a child. The sadness of realizing that time was running fast. The sadness of the worries she would experience when her Varya would be far away, on her own in this huge, enormous, big- big world.
Katya gave Lyuda a smile, but inside she was all worry and doubt, thinking, “And why on earth Cuba? Why would they choose Cuba, an island swarming with loose Cuban hot machos? What do they wanna learn about sex from a one-night stand, well, or from one-month stand? Damn, I AM getting old.”
She recollected herself leaving for an adventure for the first time. She was sixteen when she left her home. She spent a whole summer in England learning a new culture, a new language, new mentality, new way of life with other teenagers from other countries. The beginning was a bit hard as Katya missed her parents and friends a great deal. But soon she made friends and got used to the new environment, so in the end, she wasn’t even sure if she wanted to go back home. Later on, she prided herself for having so many international friends from all over the world. Katya was welcome now in at least three or four countries to stay over at her friends’ in the future. And she understood that she was lucky to have such parents who had trusted her and let her go to broaden her skills, mind and future possibilities.
Now that Blondie was a parent herself, it was her turn to play a wise mum no matter how disturbing it could be to let your child move on. After all, any child is an individual, a free individual, especially, a grown-up one with her own life to take hold of. Katya was aware of all that, but how hard it was to let your own kid go.
She’d been thinking of the changes approaching. She’d been remembering herself during her university years. She’d been working with her feelings of a worrying mother. So now she was playing a wise and cool mum answering Lyuda, ‘What a cool idea, the same thing I would have wanted for my eighteenth birthday. So when are we booking this salsa course, flight, and accommodation for ya, girls, eh?’
Katya glanced at the clock, it was ten a.m. The very time when her daughter normally would wake up with no alarm clock. She made two cups of coffee, placed Varya’s favorite tiramisu cake on a tray, put an eighteen-number candle in the middle, lit the candle and slowly proceeded towards her daughter’s room.
‘Fuck, I forgot the present,’ grumbled Katya, she carefully placed the tray on the floor, opened her purse and fished out a folder with the print-outs of the Cuban trip. She tried to hold the folder and the tray at the same time. It didn’t work. She stood thinking for quite a time. If I put the folder under my arm, I wouldn’t be able to put down the tray; if I put the folder in my nightgown, the folder might fall down; if I put the folder into my mouth…
‘Jesus, just fetch the damn folder after you’ve put the tray down,’ a voice commanded in her head. Her self-talk was interrupted by her phone buzzing in her purse. She placed the tray on the floor one more time, checked who it was calling and mumbled to herself, ‘Men can wait, even young, attractive sex machines as Sasha.’
She put the phone back into her purse and picked up the tray again. Katya did her best not to flip over the tray while opening the door. She saw her daughter lying awake checking messages on her phone and began singing Happy Birthday to You song.
As Varya finished reading the message, she sent her phone flying under her pillow and sat up to watch her Mum singing.
‘Thanks, Mum, no dancing or poem reciting this time?’ chuckled Varya.
‘Oh, shut up, Little Monster. It’s my day off, no working routine today,’ Katya disappeared for a second and reappeared with a folder in her hand. She sat down next to Varya.
‘And I have two things to give you on your eighteenth birthday, honey,’ Katya drew a deep sigh, her eyes radiated seriousness and love at the same time, ‘The first one is the truth, which you will need time to digest and the second one is hell freakishly awesome. So… which one you wanna get first?’ she finished with a slightly nervous smile.
‘I don’t think I like the sounding of the first one. Sounds like from the movies. Will you tell me about my Dad? Are these some photos of him you have in this folder or something?’ said Varya playing a detective, ‘Am I right? C’mon, spill it!’ Varya encouraged her mother as she saw that it wasn’t easy for her.
‘Um, well, let’s start with the folder first. This is my present to you, sweetheart. Open it!’ instructed Katya.
The seriousness started to penetrate Varya’s mood too, ‘Alright, let’s see what skeletons you have in your cupboard,’ whispered Varya never stopping playing a foreseer.
As she was studying the papers carefully, the picture of the trip was slowly being visualized in her head. Varya couldn’t but stand up on her bed and yell, ‘Cuuuuuuuuuba, G’od, I am going to see Cuba! Mum, you’re the best!’ she jumped on her mother, hugged and kissed her all over.
When the repeating of the word Cuba finally faded in the air, Varya was ready to take up the next present. ‘Ok, Mum, tell me the truth now. I’m not that good a detective this time. You HAVE surprised me. So now, the father story. He’s never died, am I right? Will you tell me his real name now and let me see him? Ok, I shut up,’ said Varya realizing she was asking way too many questions. Little Monster locked her mouth with an invisible key and threw it away.
‘So… where do I begin?’ Katya drew a deep breath and went on, ‘My whole life I haven’t been that lucky with men. Well, I’ve always been lucky with men for sex, for fun, for some romance, call it, as you like it, but have never met my man, who would take me for… let’s say, forever, you know like for life love. One and only. I don’t know if I make sense. But back then I believed in such love. I think most people did, especially in Soviet times. High moral family standards were pretty strong and cherished alright, even though they might be a fraud in life. So at some point, I decided I would just forget about that creating-a-family idea and live for myself, and enjoy life how it was. And I justified my new self with this so common phrase We come in this world alone and leave alone. So why suffer? Why being stuck up on finding some other half of yours when you’re whole already? That was when I created my English through theatre business, which was a great thing I’ve done. Look how we live,’ Katya raised her long fingers around the spacious Varya’s room and kept on, ‘but still, I desperately wanted a kid. I tremendously enjoyed being with my best friends, who had already kids and families, but I also envied them, hell, I envied them. This year I will turn fifty-five. That means I was almost thirty-seven when you were born. Not an extremely young Mum I was. As I was getting close to my fortieth birthday and no responsible, right man was to be seen, I decided I would play God, and have a baby without any man involved. You know, I didn’t want any awakened ‘father of yours’ appear unexpectedly and surprise you with, ‘Hey, I am your Dad.’ So, I had an IVF, In Vitro Fertilization. Shortly speaking, my egg was fertilized by some man’s sperm in a lab dish and then the embryo was put back into my uterus, and then the normal pregnancy went on. And that was how you appeared,’ finished Katya adding with a tender voice, ‘my Little Monster.’
They both knew that Varya was now a gorgeous young woman, but Little Monster nickname was something of a habit, a tradition, the tradition of mother-and-daughter love, they mutually shared and cherished. Katya kept on looking at her daughter trying to figure out her thoughts, ‘Do you want to be alone?’ she asked carefully.
‘Hell, no, Mum, I’m alright,’ produced Varya and froze to find the right words to describe her flow of thoughts, ‘It’s so unusual… what you did… I mean, lotsa people do it nowadays, but I’ve never thought I’d be the product of IVF… um… let’s name it not unusual but unique… it was still your egg. You are my Mum, hell, even if it wasn’t yours… you have raised me and I love you… and I know you love me… I guess, nothing’s changed from knowing the details of the fertilization, right? But why did you do it? You didn’t have any problems with getting babies, did you?’
Katya’s eyes began to get glossy. She began speaking with a slight tremble in her voice automatically slipping into the role of some broken-hearted woman, ‘Varya, I told you, I’ve never met a man who wanted to have kids with me. Sex-yes, but no kids, no family. A family requires love, commitment, responsibility, money, a place to live, time, etc… No responsibilities or duties men need these days. Just fun everyone wants. When it gets serious, men evaporate… Such are my observations. I mean, of course, there are SOME men who want to have a family, but I guess, they were or are all occupied already. So I thought I would have a baby without any particular man I know. I didn’t like the situation and I changed it to my liking, shortly speaking. And since then I see men as fun, positive emotion-evoking adventures … as they have always seen me. And it’s so much better as I don’t worry anymore, no more heart-breaking feelings, no attachments. I buried the idea of finding the right man. And watching you grow and knowing that no one will appear and bother you makes me feel stable, confident, calm.’
Katya made a sigh and wanted to say something else to explain herself, but Varya embraced her and they both sat holding each other, making their backs salty with tears.
Varya put her forehead against her mother’s and uttered, ‘Mum, let’s spend the whole day together. I wanna hear your whole life story. I bet it’s much better than any Hollywood movie I’ve seen. So what d’ya say? I’ll celebrate my birthday with friends tomorrow, no problem.’
‘Let me think,’ Katya said and complimented her words with an image of Rodin’s sculpture Thinker, ‘I agree. I’ll make it a real performance for you, ho-ho. Shall I perform it as a musical?’ Katya stood up and began singing, ‘When I was young, I never needed anyone, and making love was just for fun,’ she stopped abruptly and commented, ‘Well, that was the opposite with me,’ she turned to Varya, wiped her eyes with her fingers. ‘But, first, I need a tissue to blow my nose,’ informed she with a chuckle, ‘no, I’d rather wash my face.’
‘Yup, good idea. And then we’ll have a talk over cold coffees and tiramisus,’ agreed Varya looking at the tray where half a centimeter of the candle was left, ‘I forgot to make a wish, my wish has just come true. Cuba-Cuba! I’ll make one for you then.’
Varya blew off the candlelight and produced a wink with a smile. And they went to wash their red-spotted faces.
As Blondie stepped out of the bathroom, she heard her phone buzz again. She drew the phone out of her purse and swiped the green circle, ‘Hello’, she said.
‘Hello, my sweet Milf,’ came Sasha’s deep and confident voice.
‘Just a second,’ Katya said business-like into the speaker, covered the speaker with her palm and yelled to Varya, ‘I’ll join you in the kitchen in five minutes, honey.’ Blondie headed to her bedroom, feeling butterflies flutter in her belly, and shut the door.
Katya raised the phone to her ear and said as-a-matter-of-factly, ‘So, hi, Kilf.’
‘Kilf…and that would stand for?’ wondered Sasha in a bit confused voice.
‘Kid-I’d-Like-To-Fuck,’ informed Katya.
‘You watch it, woman. I may punish you for this and won’t even notice that you are a woman and that you are almost eighteen years older than me,’ he said in his seducingly confident voice and added, ‘you can call me Filf by the way.’
At first, Katya opened her mouth to ask how he knew about her age. But then she remembered about giving her ID to the receptionist. Suddenly her thoughts were frozen by Filf expression. She guessed the first ‘f’ would stand for ‘father’ and quickly responded, ‘Are you married? If yes, I don’t want to have anything with you again, I don’t mix up with married men.’
‘Don’t worry, I’m divorced, have a ten-year-old son, who lives with his mum and fucking father-in-law in Amsterdam. The rest can tell you later. Will I see you today, Katya?’ he asked demanding.
‘Um, I can’t today. It’s my daughter’s birthday and I just promised her to spend the whole day with her, telling her how I came from the point of finding my prince on a white horse for a happy family life to the point of treating men as little adventures,’ explained Katya.
‘Oh, that’s how you see men. I’ll have to prove to you otherwise. I do care,’ stated Sasha.
‘Care about what?’ wondered Katya confused.
‘Care about you, about the beginning of our relationship, at least now,’ confessed he, ‘but your words are misleading at the moment.’
‘That’s interesting… Can we talk it over tomorrow? You can have me the whole day, the whole Sunday will be yours, I promise,’ Katya reassured him.
‘Ok, tomorrow then,’ agreed Sasha.
‘And prepare the Teach Me, Tiger song. I’m totally into it now,’ added Katya.
‘I will. See you,’ said Sasha.
‘See you, Tiger,’ responded Blondie and hang up.
Katya entered her kitchen a bit perplexed but with a wicked playful fire in her eyes. This air of confidence about Sasha drove her crazy. Confident voice, confident posture, confident gliding arms…
‘Who was that, Mum?’ wondered Varya raising her voice from a low to a high note. She noticed every change in her Mum’s face.
‘Just a man. You don’t know him,’ answered Katya, sipped some coffee, took a spoonful of tiramisu and placed it in her mouth. As she finished chewing, she announced, ‘So… my life story… I guess I’ll begin with the trip to Germany.’
Katya, Yulya and Tanya Go to Berlin
The girls had become friends at Moscow State Pedagogical University, Foreign Languages Department. Although they’d been learning German for a year already, they could hardly speak it. Thus, the ladies’d decided to spend their summer holidays together and brush up their German. The trio believed the fastest and surest way to learn the language was to stay in the country where the very language was spoken. That was their recipe and they felt a strong urge to check whether that was really the case. What they had to do was to mix the following ingredients: A) socialize with native speakers, B) stay open to communication, where making mistakes was not only inevitable but also contact-finding and amusing, C) get acquainted with the culture and compare it with your own and D) have fun obviously. If you followed the instructions correctly, you would master the language pretty fast. Bon appetit!
Back to Moscow Vnukovo airport.
The blonde-haired Katya, a tall, slender girl was in her hyper mood waving happily b’bye with her long palm at her parents. Her Mum and Dad were masters of a farewell scene with a real pep talk of be careful here and there spiced up with lots of examples from newspapers, books, news and movies of young ladies who go on adventures abroad and end up deceived serving foreign pimps abroad. Every time they saw her off they would spill on her the same stories. They wanted to give her all the opportunity in the world but at the same time protect her, as she was an only child, as her Mum had been advised against any more children due to her catastrophically bad eyesight.