Somewhere in northern Spain, September 25, 2011 -- I’ve finally found my Sasha.
On the 12th of the month, I wrote and told him I was missing him and asked him if he had any idea when he would be coming. I was beginning to lose hope and to feel sad and despondent because I was afraid he might not be coming at all.
On the 15th, I got the following e-mail from him:
My dear, loving Dane!
Right now I can’t say when I will come, because first I have to earn money. I would like to come with your friend Druzhka from Moscow. You told me about him.
How are you? How is the weather there?
I kiss you,
Ommigod! Does he mean Sergei’s twin brother? Maybe he does, because I met Sasha through him, and the last few months I was in Moscow, Sasha was living with him and his wife, girlfriend, whatever. But he’s a thief, a liar, a hoodlum, a criminal!! No way will I be saddled with him in Spain. Besides, my apartment is too small for three. Two’s company, but three’s a crowd!
I was about ready to write and tell him to forget it, that there’s no way I would tolerate that Druzhka again! But wait, I wisely cautioned myself. First you’d better be sure!
So I wrote back, “Do you mean Druzhka Samoxvolov?”
He wrote back rather quickly:
“No, the Druzhka who formerly lived with you in Ourense. Your friend.”
“My darling Sasha,” I wrote back immediately.
Thank god, that’s who it is. Does that mean you’re coming with him? That would be great.
How I love you, honey. I’m very, very glad. I’m happy again. I want you very much to come, as soon as possible.
Your Dane always,
I’m eagerly awaiting you.
But then my worrying machine kicked into overtime: I didn’t even know that they knew each other, except they met a time or two in my apartment! Is something fishy going on here? Is Druzhka manipulating him and me without telling either of us? It’s strange that he hasn’t mentioned Sasha in any of his letters, and Sasha mentioned him only when I asked him directly.
For a couple of days I considered writing letters to both of them demanding to know what’s going on?
But what if nothing’s going on? What if I am creating a problem that doesn’t even exist. I know that Druzhka likes to surprise me. Maybe this is just another of his surprises! Remembering Abe Lincoln’s advice never to send a letter when you’re angry, I waited a couple of days before writing Druzhka the following letter:
Hola, mi querida Madame Papa,
Thanks for the kind words about my Spanish. I need a live-in dictionary, like I had in Moscow :-) but I’m trying to do the best that I can without one.
Have you decided what you’re going to do about moving here, and when you’re going to do it?
Sasha said he’s trying to earn more money, but I’ve already told him if he can get here, I have enough money to take care of him. I love him so very, very much and miss him more than you can imagine. Are you waiting for him, or is he waiting for you?
I’m tickled to death that you might come together. He doesn’t speak a word of Spanish and very little English, so you would be an immense help to him if you come together. BUT when is that going to be, querido? Is it going to be days, or weeks, or months? And again, are you waiting for him or is he waiting for you? If it’s going to be months, maybe it would be better if he came by bus sooner, and I met him in Madrid. He and I could meet and come together to Ourense.
I’m really in a tizzy (have you heard that word before? It means something like quandary). I want so badly to be with him, but I also want him to travel with you. Can you give me some idea of when the two of you will be coming?
I haven’t forgotten, my dear, the very difficult decision you are facing, and I think about it and you often (If I were a religious man, I’d say I “pray” for you, but I’ll just say “think” of you). I don’t want to influence your decision. As I have said, it’s one that only you can and should make. But if you decide not to come, or to wait a long time, give some thought to how I can get Sasha here to be with me and to hold and to kiss. I miss him so very much. And I’m not getting any younger. I want to be with him as long as I can.
So, mi querido. Now we’re both in a quandary. Please let me know your plans – if you know them – and give some thought to the Sasha question. I so desperately want to be with him.
(in Spanish In the meantime, my dear little sister, a great big hug; I miss you.
Your Big Sister
Because he is gay like me, and because, like me, he grew up in an environment that is not accepting of queers, and his parents don’t know that he is gay, he is now in a terrible quandary over what to do: Does he “out” himself to his parents and his shrew of a wife and do what his heart is telling him to do, or does he continue the farce?
It’s a horrible dilemma. I know. I went through it. When he asked for my advice, I refused to tell him what to do, but told him to do whatever his “still small voice” told him what he must do to live with himself.
Perhaps for this reason, I’ve had no answer to my letter. Maybe he himself hasn’t decided.
And what does he live on if he comes back? He now has a wife and daughter that he’s responsible for. Before, he could have rented his apartment in Moscow for enough to live comfortably here in Spain. Now? What claim do his wife and child have on his apartment? Is it even his apartment?
It’s a terrible, terrible dilemma. I’m reminded of Sir Walter Scott’s (or was it Sir Walter Raleigh’s – anyway, one of those Sir Walters) little doggerel that my mother used to quote: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive?”
But being a queer in most of today’s societies, where being queer is simply unacceptable, it is almost impossible for a gay man not to “practice to deceive.” Poor Druzhka. I agonize for him.
But I also wrote another e-mail to Sasha:
I wrote Druzhka and told him that if it would be a long time before he comes, maybe it would be better if you come earlier alone. We can meet in Madrid as we planned and you can come here by bus. I love you very much, my darling, and miss you and want to be with you.
What do you think? Please write and tell me. I want very much to be with you. I miss you very much.
With love always….
And then came the reassurance I’ve been waiting for:
My loving Dane,
I think that I will have enough money to come in November, with Andrew or without Andrew. I, too very much want to be with you. You’re simply wonderful!
I love you, kiss you, miss you,
I was so thrilled by it I jerked off reading the chapter about him in my new book and thinking about his coming – (anyway you want to interpret it, dahling :-)
So at last I’m walking on air again. My Sasha still loves me and is coming to live with me. And two months isn’t such a long time. I’ve lived by myself now – without him or anyone else – almost two years. I can wait two more months :-) to have someone again to hold, to smother with kisses, to have breathtaking sex with and to cook for.
And I immediately told him as much:
My dear, beloved Sasha,
How happy I am to hear from you.
Okay, my darling, if you think it would be better, I can wait two months. Of course, if you come without Druzhka, I will meet you in Madrid.
I’m happy again, knowing that you will be here in November :-) Good luck, honey; I love you and miss you very much. Kisses.
But of course life had continued swirling while I waited to see how it was working out with Sasha. Remember, time, tide, and the vicissitudes of life wait for no man (I’m just full of helpful, jolly little aphorisms today).
Igor’s birthday was Sept. 2. I sent him birthday wishes and reminded him again that I could send him $ 100 for his birthday only on the 14th, the second
Wednesday, the day my Social Security check would be deposited in Bank of America.
A few days after his birthday, I got the following e-mail from him:
Hello, my dear Dane! How are you? How’s your health?
I didn’t celebrate my birthday. I needed money for medicine; I have a ruptured thyroid :-( It’s hard to breathe. I have to have an operation, and so everything is bad.
Dane, couldn’t you help me? I desperately need $ 260 for an operation. As a loan. I will get work. I will return the money, little by little. I will pay it back. Thanks, Dave, for being there, and helping me. I ask your forgiveness for all that’s wrong.
I have until now been lying in the hospital, with a coccyx cyst.
Okay, Dane, I hope you will help me. I love you, miss you; ’bye
I await an answer.
My dear Igor,
You have to understand that I don’t have the money. It’s not that I don’t want to send you the money, I just don’t have it ! :-( I love you and would gladly send you the money IF I HAD IT. I just don’t have it. Misha is also sick and had an operation and is asking me for $ 50.
However, I have a little left over from last month, and I will do without some things this month, so I can send you $ 260 on Friday. But you have to understand, honey, that it is the last time I can send you money. Don’t worry about paying me back. If I have it, I will give it to you. It’s just that I won’t have any more that I can send :-(
For instance, I can’t send more for your coccyx! :-( I hope it will be okay now, and I hope you will be healthy and able to earn money for yourself. Not for me!
I think often of you, and very, very much hope that you will be healthy. I love you always
I haven’t heard from him since – about two weeks now. But I simply have no more to send him.
Pining for Sasha, as I have been, I have also been starkly reminded of my mortality. My oldest brother’s wife, who is eight years older than I am, died Sept. 4 of kidney failure. My other brother, about the same age as she, was diagnosed about the same time with terminal lung cancer, as was my younger sister’s husband, a couple of years older than me!
So being realistic, I don’t have a lot of years left on this god-forsaken orb, and I want to spend them with Sasha, the person I love the most. I want him to get here quickly.
But I will try to be patient.
I have also gotten stuck in writing my book about my Russian adventures. BB, my author/artist buddy in Seattle, graciously agreed to read and critique my book for me. But in his reviewing, he has come across a potentially major problem that I have to resolve:
I actually have two books, he says: one about my adventures as a gay teacher in Russia and one about life in Russia as it might be written by a journalist, and taking as back-up, frequent quotes from the English language Moscow Times. I have to decide, he says, which it will be.
I was just getting comfortable with going with my experiences as a gay teacher. The one problem I had was that a crucial 20 or so chapters from “Another Night,” detailing my early relationship with the twins Sergei and Andrei, were missing from my collection of Moscow columns.
No prob. I did have, I thought, a flash drive containing all the old stuff; all I had to do was install it. But when I went to my local expert this week to install it, a crucial adjunct was missing: the part that enables the flash drive to plug into the computer and which actually contains all the information. Without this, I am fucked. I don’t have these crucial columns.
I also received an e-mail from my Moscow buddy and editor, Basil, saying he thought the book would be better if I have my personal experiences against the backdrop of what is happening in the Kremlin and in Russia in general.
So now I have to resolve this issue and continue my work. BB has already warned me that “two many cooks spoil the broth,” and I have to decide who I’m going to listen to – him or Basil. Now I’ve done nothing on the book for a couple of weeks. I’ll never get it finished in this mode. I have to decide and do something.
I also had another e-mail from Pasha in America, wanting to know if Sasha and I had met up yet after my last Fiesta Queen (#27). He noted that in my “Another Night” columns, he had been Sasha. The cast of characters must be out of date. He also said he had been promoted to “advanced parole” on his immigration status. “It allows to cross the border, but I'm keeping it for emergency.”
I immediately replied that “I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately, because I promised to send you the later chapters from my memoirs, and I haven’t done it.
One of the reasons I haven’t is because Sasha hasn’t shown up yet, and I’m not sure whether I can send them without some help, and Sasha is an expert.
Yes, the cast of characters is ’way out of date. In my new book of Russian adventures, you’re Pasha, and Sasha will continue to be Sasha. I don’t think you ever met Sasha. Anyway, I love him very much, but never expected we would live together because, although we had sex, he also had a girlfriend and I thought he was more “straight” than “gay,” but he wrote me in June asking if he could come live with me. I was delighted, because I love him very, very much. But he still hasn’t come because he says he’s working to have more money to help me with expenses, but I have written and told him if he can get here, I have the money to pay for expenses, but he still hasn’t come :-( I hope he comes soon, because I miss him very much.
So it sounds like you are progressing. “Advanced parole” now and probably full immigrant status next. Is that the next step? How’s married life? How’s your knee?
I may try to send you chapters from my memoirs if Sasha doesn’t come soon. But I don’t want to fuck things up, so maybe I’ll wait till he arrives.
Okay, Buddy, how’s work? What are you doing now?
Till later, lots and lots of love….
I also had an e-mail from another former fantasy, Peter in Moscow. He still doesn’t have a new girl friend (I think he’s gay), and was answering a letter that I had written saying I was down to two students now in crisis-laden Spain.
“I guess two students is not bad because you have more spare time for yourself. Crisis hit everybody unfortunately. In Russia, Moscow prices rose dramatically after New Year. Products in supermarkets got about 1.5 times more expensive and if in 2010 you spent 3,000 rubles (about $ 100) for week food basket, now it's around 4,500 – 5,000 ($ 150-$ 175).”
Ouch! I guess it’s a good thing I got the hell out of there when I did.
Peter’s going to Ireland this week on a business trip and bringing back some Guiness stout, which he loves. He also asked if I didn’t have a friend here.
Yes, I do have more time to myself, but I would like a few more students. Perhaps that will come as the crisis improves – IF it improves.
That’s a shock about the prices in Moscow! What caused that? Is there any reason for it or is it just greedy grocery companies wanting to make more money?
Yes, I have a friend in Spain, but he’s married and a father and is in Moscow right now with his family, so I don’t really have any close friends in Spain. I think he’s coming back to Spain, but I don’t know when. I will be VERY glad when my friend Sasha comes to live in November.
I miss you, too, honey. Are you getting ready to go to Ireland? Best of luck, and have a very good trip.
I had a rather quick response:
I assume greedy companies feeling their absolute innocence in whatever actions and lack of sanctions from officials do what they consider right and set whatever prices. Meantime it was advised today that by 2014 average salary in Russia will be 30 thousand rubles which was served as a significant achievment. Would be interesting to look on prices by that time.
Yes, I am preparing to the Irish trip...I haven't been in Europe for rather long time and never to Ireland. In the Internet found out Dublin is rather canny (that’s what he said; maybe he meant quaint?) town not very big but rather colourful and picturesque. Hope will find time between my sessions there for walkings, sightseeings, photos and a bit drinkings
Sorry about your vacation in Moldova; however you're right; country is not much civilized and assumingly level of living there is on the very low stage…Although it's mainly sequel of modern period - in Soviet era or earlier, Kishinev considered rather good town and even some Russian counts had residences there. Perceive it as just experience - now you know what is Moldova like.
November is rather soon, so hope your friend will come and you will have nice time together.
Will respond after trip to Ireland.
Love & Miss You!
Have a nice weekend!
“Dear Peter,” I replied.
I rather think you’re right. The prices have no relevance to reality, and I suspect they charge whatever they think they can get away with. I had a Russian friend (Zhorik) who worked as a security guard in a couple of stores, including Real Supermarket, and he never got paid. As far as I’m concerned they’re all thieves and hoodlums.
Is that 30,000 rubles per week or per month that all Russians will be making in three years? Whatever it is, I seriously doubt it; I think it’s just Putin’s way of making everybody hopeful and happy, and willing to vote for him.
Be prepared for the Irish “brogue,” or manner of speaking. I think you, as well as you speak English, won’t understand a thing they’re saying :-)
…I hope you have a good time in Dublin. As I said, I’ve never been there, but always wanted to go. I hope you enjoy the Guiness, but don’t get drunk :-)
Yes, I know now that I don’t want to live in Moldovia. Although Kishinev is a rather up-to-date city.
Yes, November is only two months away, and I’m looking forward to seeing my friend Sasha again.
Have a great time in Ireland, and tell me all about it :-)
Miss you and love you,
So the question of who is going to be the next president of Russia has been decided. At the well-scripted convention of the Great Russia party over the weekend, Medvedev, the present Putin-selected president, “asked” the convention to nominate Putin. So now, Putin will be the elected president for the next 12 years, and it’s Medvedev’s turn to be prime minister, the post held by Putin for the past four years while Medvedev kept his Kremlin seat warm.
And now about my – your – country: Capitalism is in its death throes. 46 million Americans are now beneath the poverty level; one-fourth of all children are living in poverty; one-third of those in the middle class in the 1970s have dropped into poverty.
I read recently that capitalism needs 3% growth per year to sustain itself. The American ecomomy is not even close. We are well past peak oil. We are reaching the limits of water. We have destroyed our top soil. More are realizing the mortal dangers of nuclear power, and changing climate is wreaking havoc with our weather.
I read on Yahoo news that disgruntled Americans, taking a page from the “Indignados” in Madrid, are staging a sit-in on Wall Street to try to take their country back from the bankers. Good luck! Long overdue!
Our government praised the deprived Arabs who occupied public squares in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. But let’s take a look at how they treat those who occupy Wall Street, which really pulls the strings in the U.S.A.
Is it really the beginning of a long-overdue revolution, or will it soon be off the front pages and out of people’s minds, and will the U.S. be back to business as usual, with Wall Street still running Washington?
Already we see that Twitter, which recently received a $ 400 million “investment” from Wall Street titan JC Morgan Chase, has at least twice been censored this past week when tweets were coming in more frequently than other top trending topics on their homepage, according to a post by Jay Hanson on the “Energy Research” website.
Hanson calls it “blatant political censorship” and is demanding an explanation from Twitter.
When that happened in Cairo, it was treated by the American press as a scandal. How will this be treated by the billionaires and mega-buck corporations who now own your press?
See also related pages:
Chapt. #321 - Occupy Wall Street -- world-wide support, including Walesa
Chapt. #319 - Oh, where, oh where can he be?
This day years ago:
2003-9-27: Chapt. #3 - Rabbit Redux – Stuck With the Glue