Somewhere in Northern Spain, March 23, 2012 -- I hadn’t heard from Sasha since right after I wrote the last column on Groundhog’s Day.
I had been reading about the vicious cold weather in Russia, Ukraine, and Romania. I wrote and asked him if he were managing to stay warm.
“In Moscow, it is really cold,” he answered.
“But my apartment is warm, so don’t worry. And are you warm enough in your apartment? When I am next to you, you will be plenty warm :-)”
“My apartment is warm enough,” I replied, “but I will be much more comfortable when you are lying next to me.”
Then, on Valentine’s Day, I wrote Sasha again and told him about the American customs associated with it. “So will you be my Valentine?”
“Yes, my Darling, of course I will be your Valentine,” he answered. “And will you be mine? I love you very much!”
And then as a P.S., he wrote, “Have you seen any Spanish pipiski (the Russian slang for dicks)?”
“No,” I replied. “I haven’t seen any Spanish pipiski. I dream of yours :-) Hurry! I can hardly wait.”
“Okay, my Darling, I have a very tasty pipiska.”
“I know,” I wrote, remembering all the times I gobbled it in Moscow. “I want it very much; I am very hungry :-)”
Then on March 8 he wrote again: “My darling Dane, how are you? I think of you often and miss you very much. But this summer we will be together and everything will be okay, right? What kind of a present do you want from Russia? I kiss you.”
“My darling Sasha,” I answered.
Thanks for writing. It makes me much happier. A little more than three months and you will be here :-) How happy I will be! You are still coming on June 20, right? A little later you can give me all the details – airline, time, date, etc. I will meet you at the airport in Madrid and then we will ride together on the cross-country bus to where I live, where we will live happily ever after :-)
“Honey,” I added. “I don’t want a gift – only you. You will be my gift.”
And then I heard no more from him for 12 days. When you’re in love, maybe you’ve noticed, a day can seem like a year – or at least a week! So on March 20 I wrote:
My darling Sasha, three months from today, you will be here. I’m ‘bezumni’ (which means ‘mindlessly’) happy and await you eagerly.
By the way, you asked me if you could bring a gift. No my darling, but you can bring a gift for yourself: In the book store on Noviy Arbat there are a lot of books on the Spanish language. Please, if you have time, look and find something that you find useful and which will help you learn Spanish. I have one Russian textbook, Spanish in Three Months, but maybe you can find another one which will help you learn the Spanish language.
I eagerly await you, my dear. In three months we will see each other.
And then I didn’t hear anything for three days! Remember, when you’re in love…; so I wrote him again:
My darling Sasha, did you get my e-mail?
This morning I received an answer:
“Yes, my darling Dane, I received your e-mail. I will take a look at the books. I very much want to learn Spanish. And of course I want very much to lie beside you in bed all night. I need you very badly. Don’t forget that my pipiska is very big and tasty!!!
How is the weather there? I kiss you, my darling.
I immediately replied – well, almost; I did, after all, have to prevent another case of prostate cancer while I had the inspiration:
How happy I am to get your letter :-) When I read it, I looked at your photo, read what I wrote about you when we lived together in Moscow, and guess what! I jerked off :-) I can’t wait until you are here, so I can hold you all night, and you too can come -- in my mouth. Hurry, my darling, I can hardly wait!
By the way, the weather here is very warm. Today, for instance, it is from 9 degrees C (50 F) in the morning to 28 (78 F) this afternoon :-) I have to again go to Morocco next month to renew my visa.
With all my love, your Dane
So he is planning to come and he seems as horny as I am. If he hasn’t had a girlfriend all this time, then I know he is. Is he really gay, and was he just pretending all that time he was fucking some little honey in Moscow? Or as a teenager, was he just enjoying any sex he could get? In any case, how good it will be to be with him again.
Sex is really a minor part of it – important, but minor. Just to have him to look at, to touch, to walk with, to talk to, will be miraculous :-), and at my age, I need all the miracles I can get :-)
Unfortunately, I have also been in frequent touch with Igor. I say “unfortunately,” because he wrote that his coccyx is infected again, he is in great pain, and was to undergo an operation on Friday that allegedly would fix it permanently.
First, he wanted $ 450 to study and pass a Kamaz truck driver’s test next month. I said I could send it. Then he asked for $ 100 for food, and to do some repairs on the house from their horrible winter. I sent it.
We talked about my going there instead of to Morocco to renew my Spanish visa, but I could find no bus that goes straight through to Kishinev, Moldova, without changing buses in Bucharest, Romania. I had such a nightmare there last summer that I refuse to do it again.
Then I got the following e-mail:
Hello Dane! I’m very glad you write, and help me; you are my very, very best, I want to come to you to live. I want to live with you like we did in Moscow! I am very sad :-( Only you, Dave, help me, thank you! I am crying now and would like to cut my veins, but I won’t, it’s not worth it Now I have suffered believing in everything. I don’t love anybody, I don’t love Alona, only you help me! How bad it is now, I am lying with the gypsys, I don’t need anybody, only you help me, beloved! You are the best and closest person in the world! Forgive me, Dave! I love you, kiss you, miss you, await an answer!
“My dear Igor,” I replied.
Thanks for the letter. I know how hard it is for you. You are alone, without money, without friends. I am very, very sorry, my darling. Don’t be sad. Everything will be better, somehow.
I love you, and think about you often.
And then very quickly I received another e-mail from Igor:
Hello, my darling Dane! Thanks, Dane, for supporting me, for helping me. Only you help me in this complicated and unpleasant situation! Thank you, Dane. I don’t have anyone else except Mama and Denis (his brother). Forgive me for not paying attention to you last summer. Can you forgive me? I promise that next time it will be very different. Everything will be fine. I will always love you. You will always be my dear friend. I want to go to you in Spain, Dane! How can I do that? I am very tired of this place. Thank you, Dane, for everything. I love you and miss you. I await an answer.”
So I answered him:
Hello, my dear Igor! I wish I were rich so that I could send you a lot of money. But life is life, I’m not rich :-( Of course I forgive you, my darling, but I don’t know how I can travel to you again. It’s very difficult, as I explained before. And I don’t know how you can come here :-( I’m afraid it is very expensive. Try to smile. I know it is very difficult for you. I love you, kiss you, miss you. Say hello to Mama and Denis.
I still haven’t told him that Sasha’s coming in June, and it would actually be a disaster for me if he, Igor, came. But he is so lonely, and I feel so sorry for him. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about his coming, because I simply don’t have the money. And obviously he doesn’t.
Anyway, he wrote back asking me if I could send $ 100 instead if $ 70, because he had to do some work on the house which was damaged by the severe winter.
I didn’t hear from him again for several days. When he did write, it was with some very bad news:
Excuse me for not writing. I had a very high temperature :-( Dane, I have a problem: :-( Again I have a relapse of the cyst on my coccyx. It is very, very bad. Dane, if you can help me. I don’t know what to say; I am ashamed. I need an operation. Pus and blood are coming from it. My coccyx is swollen :-( They say for now I need to get insurance, that’s $ 180; then there will be an operation.
I found a good clinic; a friend of mine was treated at the same place….He said that everything was okay after that.
Then for the operation separately, but I don’t know how much. If you can help me, Dane, I will pay you back. I desperately need an operation.
I sent him the $ 180; then he wrote saying there would be a fine of $ 80 for not having health insurance in the past. I sent him that.
In his reply, he said, “I don’t know what will happen now. Thanks for helping me. If it weren’t for you, I would have died or killed myself by now :-( ”
And he probably would have. He was to have the operation last Friday. I haven’t heard from him. I hope he’s still alive, but he will also ask for money for the operation.
But next month, which begins less than 10 days from now, I have to go back to Morocco to renew my Spanish visa, which will be at least $ 300 to $ 400; so he will have to wait for money to pay for the operation. Fortunately, he will have already had it, and the clinic will simply have to wait. I have already told him I won’t have the money to send him for his truck driver’s license. Maybe later.
I had a letter from Druzhka asking if I had it to do all over again, would I have continued to live with my ex-wife, so that I would not be lonely now. His parents, suspecting that I am a role model for Andrei, wanted to know, he said; though they still don’t know – or at least acknowledge that they do – that he is gay.
“Ay, carumba,” I wrote. “That’s a question that is very difficult to answer.
I, personally, wouldn’t change my life. Sometimes it was very difficult to be me; but I wouldn’t have continued to live with Elaine, knowing that I was gay and with her knowing that I was gay. Perhaps I never told you that my older brother once wrote to her and told her she should be patient with me, because I was ‘sick.’ Remember, in those days, to be gay was either to be a criminal or to be mentally ill. I knew I was neither, and I couldn’t live with someone who thought that I was one or the other.
After Jim left me in the early ‘90s, he wanted to continue our relationship, but to live in different houses. Again, I told him, ‘no. It’s all or nothing.’
Today, would I have done any differently in either case? No. It’s like having religion as an insurance policy, which I think we’ve talked about. No, I won’t pretend to be a Christian so I might go to heaven when I die. I can’t live a life of pretense. Even now, if anybody asked me, ‘are you gay?’ I couldn’t lie to them. Fortunately, nobody asked me in Russia or in Spain, so I have never had to lie or live like a pariah.
If you weren’t returning to Spain, and if Sasha weren’t coming, I would probably return to America to be with friends – sexless for me, but still friends. But if I have you as a friend and Sasha as a lover, I won’t have any desire or need to return to the States. If I didn’t have you and Sasha, I might return to be with friends.
But would I have lived my life any differently? No. I had to be true to myself.
I don’t know if I’ve answered your question, and if I have, it’s probably in a way that you can’t share with your parents for obvious reasons.
Life gets complicated, doesn’t it :-)
“Thank you so much for your reply,” he wrote. “You have answered my question thoroughly.
Sure enough, I can't share this answer with my parents, you are right. But that's okay, I'll make them see the most salient point of your answer anyway.
Oh yes, my life does get very, very complicated, my dear. And I'm not quite happy living my life the way I'm doing it now. My dream is to live in Spain with you and my other friends and visit my family in Moscow as often as possible. And I would surely help my daughter financially.
Do you think this scenario is possible? Would my family be happy with it, in your opinion?”
“Ah, my dear, sweet little sis,” I answered.
You ask me a question I can’t possibly answer. I don’t know your family [and by “family” do you mean your parents or Lena (his wife) and Nastasia (his daughter) – or all of the above?] well enough to know how they would react to this. Lena wants to have you under her thumb, in her control, and if you are here, she can’t do that; so I think, my dear, that you’re going to have to decide what you want to do, and then present it to her, with some compromises thrown in, like visiting as often as possible, supporting Nastasia, etc.
The next question is, can you earn enough money here to do that?
I honestly don’t know the answer to that.
I only hope you can figure out a way to make everybody happy and come here.
And then Elvira, my landlady and Spanish teacher and a good friend of Druzhka, said that Druzhka had called her and in the conversation said that his sister, who is married to an Italian and had three Italian children, had moved back to Moscow because there was no work in Italy!
“Holy shit!” I wrote. Well, not really, because I was writing in Spanish. What I really said was, “Madre de dios!”
Things around the world are very bad, I think! We can talk more about this when you arrive; but I think that I have said that capitalism is dead, or at least dying. I think the economy will never be any better than it is now. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m afraid I’m right!”
So that’s the way the world is spinning tonight (with apologies to the late Walter Kronkheit).
I also had an e-mail from Pasha, who is now married and living in Ohio. He also finally received his green card, and can travel without restrictions. So he’s thinking of coming to visit me in Spain on his way to or from Moscow this summer.
Should he continue to live in the U.S.? He asked.
“As long as you have a job, I think it’s better to stay in the U.S.” I wrote.
Where else would you go? Russia? I think that’s a dead end, although it might not be any worse than the U.S. right now. The U.S. is going through some very unpleasant times, and I’m not sure the political climate there is going to improve. But as long as you have a job and are earning enough money, it’s probably better for you to stay there.
Yes, I think global warming is affecting the weather all over the world. We, too, had a very mild winter, while Russia had an extremely cold one. I think that that – along with the floods, tornadoes, tsunamis, and what-not -- is the result of climate change attributed to our burning of fossil fuels
We had a week or so of ‘cold’ weather – around freezing at night. This week the temperatures are quite warm – and one day last week we had the warmest temperatures in Europe – 26.5 degrees C (about 85 F).
Sasha says he is coming to live with me on June 20, and another student, Maxim, is planning to come for about a week in early June. A friend from America says he is coming to visit, but we’ll see. You never met Sasha, but he’s a very sweet, very intelligent (has a BA in informatics) kid whom I love very much. I will be very happy when he comes.
I’m glad you read my blog, though it’s becoming more and more irregular. Not much news. I have to go to Morocco again next month to renew my tourist visa.
The three Republicans running for president are fools. Because they’re such right wing maniacs, Obama may win again, though he is proving to be not the liberal gadfly that people voted for in 2008, but I think he’s an improvement over the Republicans. Israel may force us into a war in Iran, which would be a disaster.
Yes, honey, I’m planning to stay in Spain – especially now that Sasha is coming. I have a TINY apartment – unfortunately, not enough space for 3 people, but there are some very cheap hostels – about $ 30 per night. I would love to put you up at my place, but there’s just not room. Although maybe we could buy a mattress and put on the floor. In any case, I hope you can come. I would like very much to see you and chat with you. Where are you going to stay in Russia?
Well, honey, I think that’s all the news I have. Please keep in touch.”
And to top it all off, I had an e-mail from beautiful Maxim asking if I minded if his friend from Chechnya, Anzor, comes with him. He was replying to an e-mail I had sent him about rental car prices in Spain -- $ 320 for a week’s rental, plus of course, gasoline.
“Of course I don’t mind if Anzor comes with you,” I assured him, even though I do. It means he and I will not be able to spend a week together – just him and me. I have fantasized about trying to have sex with him, but with Sasha coming, I’d better not. I’ll save it for him :-)
Anyway, “I remember him,” I wrote. “He is a very nice person. But I have a tiny apartment, and there’s not room to sleep 3. It would mean that you would have to rent a hostel room – about $ 35 a night – for the two of you to sleep in.
“An alternative would be to buy a mattress and put on the floor for the two of you.
“So make lots of money :-)
“I hope your university work is coming okay.
“That’s all for now.”
I haven’t heard from him, but he’s got a lot of university papers to do this month, so he has a good reason for not writing.
And I had an e-mail from my old American fantasy, Ned, who long ago proved to be incorrigibly straight, but remains a good friend. He was just back from visiting a woman in Thailand he had met on the Internet. He’s now in his upper 50s. She is just 50. His trip to Thailand, he said, was “fantastic.” He is planning to return in August and bring her home to West Virginia and marriage. Then later, he said, they may return there to retire.
Did I have any suggestions for her learning English, he asked.
I’m so glad to hear from you and to hear that your trip was a successful one – in every way. She is such a pretty lady. How lucky you are :-)
I hope your trip in August is successful. Will she have any problems getting a visa to America? The visa situation in Thailand is, as I understand it, that you have to leave and go to another country every 90 days and when you return, your visa is renewed. There are lots of nearby countries – Laos, S. Korea, etc. – so it wouldn’t cost much. Does the U.S. have such laws?
Retirement there sounds idyllic. As I think you know, I was once going to go there to retire, but I didn’t have the money. It’s not expensive, but was more than I had. :-( Especially getting my things there. Now I’m glad I didn’t, because my former boyfriend in Moscow, Sasha, is planning to come live with me in June. Who knows, maybe he and I will retire there with you :-) You can find out what the rents are :-)
Nung looks much younger than 50.
Spending time talking to you will help her more than anything else. I’m studying the Spanish language, have a teacher twice a week and am studying a lot. My Spanish is getting pretty good, but I still don’t understand much Spanish when they speak. They speak so fast and use a lot of slang and phrasal verbs. As of course, do the Americans. But the important thing will be you and her communicating. She should of course have a good Thai-English dictionary. I think English, hard as it is, is a much easier language than Thai. I don’t know a word of Thai, and am only speaking from the viewpoint of a native English speaker.
Keep me informed, and say hello to Elli (his 7-yr.-old daughter by a previous marriage).
The god-awful Republitrashcans running for the U.S. Presidency are trying to tie rising gas prices, which galls the spoiled Americans more than anything else, to Obama. Obama has a lot of faults, but U.S. gas prices is not one of them.
Blogist Charles Kadlec writing on the EnergyResources net, asks, “Do you know why oil and prices are moving sharply higher?
Some blame the oil companies, charging they are manipulating prices. Others cite U.S. sanctions on Iran and the threat of a military encounter that would disrupt the flow of oil from the Middle East.
Speculators, too are blamed for ostensibly bidding up the price of oil. In the political arena, President Obama is taking credit for increased domestic oil production even as his critics point out the slow pace of drilling permits issued by his Administration soon will hamper additional increases in the U.S. oil production.
Yet, the basic reason for higher energy prices is being overlooked, even though it is right before our eyes: Oil prices are up because the value of the dollar is down. Our common sense hides this source of higher prices because we view the dollar as fixed, and prices as moving. News reports explain the sharp rise in consumer prices in February were caused by higher energy and food prices, implying that higher prices cause inflation. Of course, higher prices do not cause inflation. Higher prices are inflation.
The cost of this deception goes well beyond the vilification of the oil industry and free markets. The real price of the on-going debauchery of the dollar is measured by the loss of our prosperity and the debasement of our liberty.
Is he right, or is the world simply running out? I’m pretty sure of the latter, although there’s no doubt that we are printing billions of dollars a year to pay back our mounting debts, which of course causes inflation. Another frequent EnergyResources contributor says it now takes a dollar to buy what 2 cents would buy in 1913, the year Congress created the Federal Reserve Bank!
Live near the coast or anywhere in Florida, as I did when I was a kid? Better not count on leaving your seaside property to your grandchildren, because, according to a Science Daily article on March 19, a new study published in the journal Geology warns that, even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees C, a pretty conservative guess, “future generations” will have to deal with sea levels 70 feet higher than they are now.
What will be the impact on most factories, food processors, farmers, and transportation networks, not to mention the hundreds of thousands – maybe millions – of people living in affected areas? Your guess is as good as mine, but it ain’t good.
And while we’re discussing the future, if you still think we’re gonna have one, Reuters news agency, citing figures from the U.S. Nat’l Climatic Data Center reports that “an unprecedented March heat wave in much of the Continental U.S. has set or tied more than 7,000 high temperature records, and signals a warming climate, health and weather experts said Friday.”
“While natural climate variability plays a major role, it is the addition of human-spurred climate change that makes this particular hot spell extraordinary, the scientists said in a telephone and web briefing,” according to Reuters.
"This heat wave is essentially unprecedented," the news article quotes Heidi Cullen of the nonprofit science and communication organization Climate Central as saying. "It's hard to grasp how massive and significant this is."
But you won’t hear this from the corporate climate change deniers or the politicians they have bought. In fact, the State of Tennessee just added itself to Texas, S. Dak., and Louisiana in passing the ALEC (the notorious right-wing Koch Brothers-funded American Legislative Exchange Council) bill forbidding school teachers to teach climate-warming in science classes.
So, all in all, Occupy Wall Street has a lot of ground to cover.
This day years ago:
2004-3-23: Chapt. #49 - When the Titanic sinks, we need to be healthy