Svetliy, Moldova, July 15, 2011 --I first came here with Igor, then my 18-year-old boyfriend, four years ago. If you have access to the March 2007 “Another Night in the Evil Empire” columns, you can read that it was like a time warp into the rural Iowa of my early childhood – well water, outhouses, dirt roads, no baths.
And shit – goose shit, chicken shit, horseshit, goat shit, and the human variety that rules so much of our lives.
It hasn’t changed. The house Igor and I are living in has no running water and no kitchen. The outhouse does, however, have a sit-down toilet, unlike the outhouse at his mother’s home, half a mile away by the dirt road.
Though her outhouse has changed its location to a spot closer to her stuccoed (mud and straw) shack, it hasn’t changed its basic configuration. You still have to squat to take a shit. Since I’m even worse at squatting than I was four years ago, we eat our country food at Igor’s mother’s house and come home to get rid of it. After being here only four days, I was ready to go back to Spain.
Unfortunately, that won’t be easy. I have to call and make a reservation on the “marchroute” taxi from Kishinev to Bucharest, and then call to Bucharest and make a reservation on the bus from Bucharest to Madrid.
Since my command of the language isn’t that good, I’ll have to find somebody else to help me with it – and a local phone to do it from. I think Igor’s mother can provide the phone, and maybe I can trust Igor – or his mother -- to do the negotiating.
As the old printer for the Jay Rockefeller ’72 gubernatorial campaign in Charleston WV used to say, “nothin’s easy.”
Actually, it’s something of a miracle that I’m here at all. The bus from Madrid first headed to Barcelona, where everybody had to change buses. I clambered onto the new bus, which unlike the inter-city buses in Spain, had no toilet on board. I happened to sit between probably the only two people on the bus who spoke Spanish. The rest spoke Romanian. Only. And I speak not one word of Romanian. Madre de dios.
But it’s fortunate that I was able to communicate. The guy who sat on my right explained – in Spanish -- that I would have to catch a taxi in Bucharest to the Autogara Filaret to catch a commuter bus, or “marchroute taxi” to Kishinev – Chisinau in Rumanian. I had assumed the bus would leave from the same station. Naw, that’s too easy.
I called Igor and told him I was in Bucharest, and would be in Kishinev that night at 2 a.m. I then turned the phone over to the very pleasant, very young, and very handsome marchroute driver, who talked long enough for Igor to explain that his brother Denis (pronounced like Denise, but in the Russian language, a male name) would meet me. Then I was suddenly out of money, though I had put 20 euros on my phone before I left Spain. At that point, I could only hope for the best.
Actually, Bucharest had already taken its toll. I left my back pack containing my Russian-English dictionary, my camera, and lots of personal trivia in the taxi getting from station to station. After paying 20 euros for the taxi and another 20 euros for the bus to Moldava, I had only 5 euros left!
My bus route had taken me across the French cote d’azur and Monaco, both of which I slept through, then across the beautiful northern Italian coast to Hungary, through Hungary and Slovenia -- formerly part of Yugoslavia --then into Translyvania, part of Romania. The Bank of “Transiylvania” was big in Romania, and if I lived there I would have my account there just so I could say that Dracula and I shared the same bank.
I also saw a couple of “Hotel Draculas.”
The two-lane highway from Bucharest to the Romanian/Moldovan border, which we traveled mostly in the black of night, was a nightmare – badly paved, often broken, and in some places not paved at all. After a wait at the Romanian-Moldovan border, my passport was accepted, and we headed on the final leg of my journey: the road to Kishinev.
We arrived in Kishinev about 3 a.m. on July 4 – Independence Day in the U.S. -- and unloaded on the street. Not even a bus station! The handsome marchroute driver, who by then knew something of my plight, turned me over to his friend, a taxi driver, to try to find Denis – a needle in the haystack complicated by the fact that I was completely out of money. I didn’t have a whole lot left even on my credit cards after sending $ 240 to Igor – ostensibly for medical purposes -- the day before I left Spain.
The exchange rate in Moldova is 1,150 leis to the dollar, so I took out 600 leis -- about $ 50 -- to get me through until July 13, when I would get my next infusion from U.S. Social Security. It left me with less than 100 leis -- less than $ 10 – plus about $ 50 on my Spanish debit card; but as Igor says, “budem zhit” – we’ll survive.
First the taxi driver and I went to an ATM machine – the same one, it happens, that I had gone to on my first trip to Kishinev. Then driving slowly down the street, I saw a lone figure. I looked closer. It was Denis! My god, we had found each other in this capital city of 2 million people! God looks after drunks and fools, and I wasn’t drunk; so maybe that tells you a little something about me if you hadn’t already guessed!
The last time I had seen Denis was when I took him to the train station in Moscow – so crippled from needle infections from shooting up he could hardly walk. I later sent him $ 500 for an operation on his foot, which had developed gangrene. They weren’t sure they would be able to save it!
They did. And on the street I noticed that now he has only a slight limp. He hadn’t changed in looks – at 26, still young, handsome, and considerate. He has completely straightened out. Not even alcohol! He took me to his “Baba Anya’s,” who isn’t really his grandmother, but she’s an old friend of the family and babushka -- “grandmother” -- to the whole brood. She’s 10 years older than I am and still quite spry and agile at 88!
At “Baba Anya’s” I slept for about three hours before Denis accompanied me to the bus station to catch an 8:30 commuter bus to Svetliy –a three-hour jaunt -- before he went to work at his construction job.
Even here in Svetliy, it was Igor’s mother Katya who met the bus – not Igor, who was still asleep at 11:30 – almost noon.
We walked – pulling my wheeled suitcase – about a quarter of a mile down the dirt road to my new waterless, showerless, toilet-less “home.” Of course Igor and I were glad to see each other, and we hugged and kissed before walking the half-mile or so to his mother’s for lunch.
And that began my stay -- how long remains to be seen -- in Moldova: At a per capita income of $ 250, the poorest country in Europe.
MTK (journalism for “more to come.”)
That night, my first night in Moldova, Igor disappeared around 7 p.m., saying he would be back “in half an hour.” Of course he wasn’t, so Katya “walked” me home – that is, she walked her bicycle and I held on to the rear-wheel basket to keep from falling on the dirt road and breaking my neck in the dark.
I climbed into bed, an old fold-out couch, and promptly went to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night Igor arrived, bearing a 2-liter soft-drink (Moldovan -- Apa Populara) bottle of home-made wine. Since there was only one small glass in our apartment, we took turns drinking to each other’s health about three small glasses each of the not-bad Moldovan wine, which is the only saleable product Moldova cranks out.
My Soviet dissident friend Andrei Shk. in Moscow tells me by e-mail that Putin has gotten over his hard-on against Moldova for flirting with the West, so Moldova is now selling wine again to the Russians. Wine is Moldova’s one claim to fame.
So after half an hour of toasting each other and expressing our joy at
being at last together again – even for a little while – Igor turned out the light and crawled in beside me.
Then came the long-awaited moment:
“Can I suck your cock?”
He had found some place to wash his dick, and it was like old times – for a while. But after an hour of sucking and jerking without coming, we both gave up. There was a lot of pre-cum, but the magic moment of orgasm never arrived.
So what does this portend for the future?
I knew that Igor was basically straight, but he and I had many hours together of loving, kissing, sucking cock – and coming – before he married the floozie Irina – Ira -- in Moscow. But plunging his straight dick into poumintang every night has apparently addicted him to it. Having an old American faggot suck his cock no longer turns him on enough to come.
On “Facelink” here I’ve watched him scour for the “sweet pussy” which he longs for, and afterwards disappear for hours. I’ve also watched him talk to Alyona in Turkey by Skype. Alyona is the woman in whose Kishinev apartment he was living for a while. Is he fucking her? His insistence on talking to her by Skype 2 or 3 times a day suggests that he is. I don’t think he’d go to that kind of trouble just to chat with a good friend.
So why am I here in this god-forsaken country? Good question. I won’t be long. I think I can stand it for six weeks, so by the middle of August I will hie myself thither – back to Spain -- to wait for sweet, adorable, loving Sasha.
In the meantime I’ve had an e-mail from Misha asking how much longer he’s going to have to stay in Moscow before he meets me someplace to live together. I told him to hang on, I’d try to figure something out; but the probabilities are very slim. Since he was thrown out of the European Union in 2009, it will be three more years before he’ll be eligible for one again unless the countries change their rules – which they’re purportedly in the process of doing.
But it’s becoming more apparent that if Sasha is as sweet and caring as I remember him, that I will probably be very happy to stay and live with him in Spain. I don’t know what Misha will do. Unless I’m able to sell my book on life as a gay teacher in Russia, I simply won’t have the money to do anything else.
In any case, that can wait. First I have to survive here for the next month or so.
That was unceremoniously put into question on my first Saturday when I was watching Igor “mash” potatoes with a modern new whirligig puree gadget (which the money I sent him for health and other emergencies probably bought).
I was helping by holding the bowl to keep it from jumping all over the table when suddenly his electric masher found the ring finger of my left hand and tried to incorporate it into the mashed potatoes.
After leaving a trail of blood on the kitchen wall, I let Igor soak my finger in hydrogen peroxide and bandage it with a roll of gauze which his mother miraculously had on hand. After half an hour, his nurse cousin Masha, who was also visiting from Kishinev with her husband Andrei, who happens to work with Denis (keeping all this straight?) re-wrapped it more professionally and put some anti-biotic salve on it to prevent infection.
The next day it didn’t hurt, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to live. But I won’t “help” Igor mash potatoes any more.
Fortunately, Igor has a computer with e-mail, which I immediately latched onto to find birthday wishes from Andrei Shk., from Basil, from Sasha, from Drushka, from Bruce, from Pavel, from Petr, and from my family in the U.S. – nephew Dennis, his mother (my sister) Nadine, my other sister Evelyn, and my brother Arnold.
That evening, July 6, my 78th birthday, Katya and Igor fixed stuffed grape leaves, fried eggplant and squash, salad, and a delicious, moist chocolate birthday cake with white icing and sprinkled with raspberries from her large and well-tended garden.
Gardens are a necessity here, as they were in my childhood home of rural Iowa in the mid-’30s. Katya has already preserved pickles from her cucumber patch, and lots of what the Russians call “compote” -- canned fruit and juice, in Katya’s case cherries, apricots, and berries – all from her garden.
She also gave me as a present shaving cream, which I had not brought with me, shaving lotion, and soap – all of which under the circumstances will be very welcome.
Again, she led me home with her bicycle and flashlight. Feeling very grateful for all she had done for my birthday, I held open my arms to give her the standard Spanish kiss of appreciation, a peck on each cheek. She pulled back, “God is watching,” as if I wanted to fuck her. Christ save me from the Christians.
Actually, I was very glad of the rebuff, so I know I’m not expected to be the royal stud. Just good friends. She has no idea her sons and I have romped in the hay countless times, and I don’t want her to find out.
Her birthday is on July 16, three days after my infusion of social security, so I think I will give her $ 50 – 500 lei – because I have no intention of going birthday shopping here.
On July 7, the day after my birthday, Katya and I went by marchroute taxi to the town of Kamrat 45 minutes and 15 leis away (30 leis round trip), to see what shopping is like here. In Kamrat were scads of open-air markets, where I bought another glass so Igor and I can drink to each other’s health at the same time; an old fashioned potato masher, which I still have not been able to find in Spain; a fly swatter so I can kill the dozens of flies in Katya’s kitchen; and a flashlight so I can walk home at night on the dirt road by myself.
I also bought a mobile phone card and 40 leis worth of time so I can call Igor and have him tell me he’s coming “now,” and then wait for hours for him to show up – if at all.
I tried to find canned peaches for “skillet barbecue” of pork chops, which both Igor and Denis love -- with canned peach halves and a sauce of peach juice, tomato paste, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and vinegar. Alas, canned peaches were simply not available, so I’ll have to use readily available fresh peaches and peach juice, which you can find in the stores here. You also can’t find brown sugar here, so I’ll use honey and hope for the best.
Since both Mama’s place and ours is bathless, I gave myself a “sponge bath” – except there was no sponge. I found an old T-shirt which I bought in a Seattle Goodwill store in 2001, and warmed up a pan of well water in the sun. I scrubbed my crotch, my asshole, and the head of my cock, which will do until Igor is able to find a place where we can take a bath or shower. I haven’t washed my hair now in a week.
I also plodded the half mile of dirt road to Mama’s, where I heated a pan of water and used my new shaving cream and face cream for the second shave since I’ve been in Moldova. I’m sure I’m irresistible now – even to good Christian Mama.
This week, Obama said there might not be any SS checks in August if the Republicans and Democrats can’t reach a compromise. The fucking republicans are holding fast to “no additional taxes” for corporations or rich
Americans. Will one side back down? I have to save as much from my July SS check as possible, just in case.
And speaking of Social Security checks, when I opened up my e-mail on Igor’s computer, I found a message from Bank of America saying there were questions about my account, please link to the following page. When I clicked on the link, I was informed that “this page is not available.” Yobe tvoyu mat (fuck your mother)! What do I do now?
Svetliy is little more than a crossroads. There isn’t even an ATM here. So on Monday, I went to Kamrat to try to call BofA and get the confusion straightened out. I was accompanied by Igor’s adorable 15-year buddy, Slava (his voice still hasn’t changed; so he’s not sexual material, but he is adorable). We arrived at 4:03 and were greeted with a big sign saying the call center was only open to 4 p.m. Oh shit.
So back I came at 3:30 the next day. Still closed! Then I noticed a small sign in the corner saying that during the month of July they closed at 3 p.m. Ye gods!
So I went back the next day with Igor’s mom. When we arrived at 2:30, we discovered that I should first dial 001, then the number I was trying to reach. Aha. That’s some information. So I called it and reached the BofA recording. When the recording finally got around to dialing the West Coast office, I was informed that it was closed – open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. It was several hours from 7 a.m. on America’s west coast, but the lady said to come back at 3 and try again, even though they closed at 3. I did. Still closed.
But armed with the new prefix, we went back to Katya’s place, hooked up her touch-tone phone and about 7 p.m. finally reached the West Coast BofA office. “No, your account is not blocked. No problem.” So why did I have a message from the computer saying it was? It’s an error. Your account is ok. Big sigh of relief.
In the event worse came to worst, I had e-mailed my nephew Dennis in Florida and asked if he could send me $ 500 by Western Union. Surprisingly, I got a response from him saying he was trying to scrape together the money to finish building an environmentally compatible house in the mountains of Virginia and it would be difficult for him to come up with $ 500 at the moment. Try to solve the problem myself.
So I had. So much for expecting help from my lawyer nephew whom I had once been really close to. To his credit, he told me if I couldn’t solve the problem any other way, to let him know. He would try to find the money.
So Katya and I went back to Kamrat the next day, July 14, and click, whirr, I received about $ 200 in leis without any problem. Now nothing to worry about.
Or so I thought. Back at her home, Igor fiddled with the Cushman-style three-wheel “truck” motor scooter that I had said I would give him the money to fix up for his mother, who makes a few bucksi giving massages to friends in Svetliy. It would make it easier for her to get around – especially in the winter snows here.
So he did some figuring and asked me for 1,200 leis – a little less than $ 120 – to buy parts for it. I gave him the money, and he disappeared – ostensibly to go to the nearby town of Kongas to buy the parts. I went home and took a nap, expecting to return later in the afternoon and fix the “skillet barbecue” for Katya, Igor, and me.
When I returned at 5 p.m., Katya was having one of her pre-epilepsy headaches, an incapacitating headache much like the migraines I used to suffer. I immediately returned to the house Igor and I are staying in – another mile round trip on dirt roads -- to get some of the American aspirin I had brought with me.
When I returned to Katya’s, she had called Igor to have him bring her some medicine. “Later,” he had told her. I was pissed. I called him and asked him where he was. “In Svetliy,” he replied. He didn’t say where. I told him his mother was very ill, and he ought to come home.
“Later,” he said.
The worthless son-of-a-bitch.
I fixed a bite to eat and returned home, and fell asleep. I was awakened about 9 p.m. by a spry, smiling-as-ever Katya! “The aspirin worked really well.” I couldn’t believe it. It was night and day from what I had seen just three hours earlier.
When I returned for breakfast the next morning, the 15th of July, she was again hurting horribly, unable to move. But she said through her pain that Igor had come home about 3 a.m. so drunk he could hardly walk and passed out. He was still asleep.
I was really pissed and am still pissed. I am thinking seriously of cutting my visit to Moldova really short and returning to Spain within a week, and cutting Igor out of my life. He’s as worthless and undependeable as his old man, whom he hates. But the apple obviously hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Maybe Sergei was right in trying to banish him from my apartment and from my life. I’ve sent him $ 1500 in the last few months for medical treatment, emergencies, etc.
Igor told me that Sergei and his twin brother Andrei had been sent to prison for three years when they were 17, which I didn’t know. But fortunately, Sergei is out of my life completely now. He never answered my last e-mail. Maybe he’s in jail again.
Thursday, July 21, 2011 -- Katya’s birthday was July 16, another “moon child,” which astrology says may explain why she’s so good hearted, helpful, and easy to get along with. I gave her $ 50 in leis, and told her of my plans to get the hell out of here – mainly because Igor has been so “Igor.” As Obama reportedly told Republicans at the White House bargaining session over the budget: Enough is enough!
But in the afternoon, Igor asked me to go to the Kladbishch, or cemetery with him, to visit the grave of Nikolai, or Kolya, who was his best friend until he was murdered in early April. Igor wrote me at the time about it, but didn’t answer any of my questions about it.
But at the cemetery, he said that Kolya was a good guy who had been framed and was sitting in jail when the guy who had framed him killed him one month before he was to be freed. The guy who Igor says killed him is free on the dirt streets of Svetliy.
Of course, I cried when Igor put Kolya’s favorite cookies on the Pravislaviy cross at the head of his grave, and sprinkled the heaped earth with Moldovan wine. Igor cried too. It was a very touching moment.
That night, we went to the local bar, where I ogled lots of adorable teenagers, acquaintances of Igor. After one beer, I left. Igor said he’d be home “soon.”
At one o’clock he still wasn’t home. When I called him, he seemed to be in a good mood. When he finally came home about an hour later, he stripped naked and crawled into bed. He turned his body toward me and hugged me, but I wasn’t about to suck his unwashed cock, so we talked.
He repeated – again crying -- that Kolya had been his best friend. He said he wanted to be with Kolya in the grave and and wanted to kill himself. Was this just drunk talk?
Probably so. The next day he didn’t mention it. In fact, he got a call on his mobile that Alyona had returned from Turkey. He disappeared, and when I met him at the football (soccer) game at the nearby school that evening, she was with him. In answer to questions, he cryptically said that she no longer lives in Kishinev, but lives here with her family. Who does that include? I don’t know, except her 8-year-old son, Denise, who seems to love Igor very much. So he (Igor) must be doing something right.
I don’t know where they’re sleeping, but they’re doing it together. I’m glad that Igor has someone, and that it’s not me.
Finally, I’ve got reservations out of here! It hasn’t been easy. It’s now Thursday, July 21. I started Tuesday trying to call the number of Saiz Tours, the company that got me from Madrid to Bucharest. Katya called the phone company, who gave her a prefix for Bucharest. It didn’t work.
So yesterday, I caught the marchroute taxi to Kamrat again, and found out at the commercial phone company that the prefix is 004 + the numbers I had, which all started with 0. Katya was leaving the 0 out of the numbers that she called.
I reached Saiz from the commercial phone company, but they spoke neither English nor Russian – only Romanian. Fortunately, Katya speaks Romanian. If she didn’t, I literally don’t know what I would have done or how the hell I would have gotten out of here. Igor speaks no Romanian, and I don’t know anyone else who does.
Anyway, I have to catch the marchroute taxi here at 7 next Tuesday morning (actually, Monday morning, I was to rudely discover), July 26, which will take me to the Kishinev Hotel, where I will catch the marchroute that leaves Kishinev at 1 p.m. and gets to Bucharest at 10 p.m. There, I will catch a taxi to the Gare du Nord, and sleep on a bench in the station until I board the bus for Spain at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. At last I will breathe a sign of relief. I’ll know for sure that I’m getting the hell out of here.
In the meantime, I had an e-mail from Sasha saying I don’t deserve to live under such awful circumstances. “So let’s live together in Spain where things are better and where you have a toilet He is living in a room by himself. “I miss you very much and want to see you and kiss you.”
And then he asked, “how are things with you and Igor. Do you love him?”
So I wrote him quite honestly that Igor and I are good friends, but he doesn’t love me as I once thought he did. He has girlfriends, and we haven’t had sex.
“Do I love him? No, not like I love you. We’re just good friends.”
“How glad I am that you miss me. I also miss you, my darling Sasha. Soon we will be together and will hold each other.”
So now I can hardly wait until he comes in September, just a little over a month from now.
Igor also set me up to Skype Maxim Abromich. It was really good to talk to him, although we had to cut it short because I could hardly hear him. He said he will come to see me in Spain either at New Year’s or early next summer. The way I’m feeling about Sasha now, I won’t even try to seduce Maxim, which I had planned to do. We will remain “just good friends.”
July 29, 2011 – Whew! I’m back in Spain. It never looked so good.
Again, I had my dates confused. My reservation for Saiz Tours was to leave Bucharest at 5:30 Tuesday morning. I had locked into my head that I was to leave Svetliy on Tuesday morning. A little after 7 a.m., Katya, Igor’s mother, showed up at our front door with a package of “breakfast.” Only then did I remember I had to catch the marchroute taxi in Kishinev at 1 p.m. Monday – that day!
I threw things into my bag, kissed Igor goodby, and Katya and I set out rolling my suitcase along the bumpy dirt road to the hard road, the equivalent of a couple of city blocks away. When we arrived, we realized we were barely in time. The commuter taxi was taking on passengers just a few hundred yards up the road. If we’d have been two minutes later, we would have missed it!
Katya went with me to Kamrat, and I paid her way back. Then I was on my own.
We arrived in Kishinev about 11 a.m., and the bus driver pointed the way to the Gostinitsa Kishineva, the Kishinev Hotel, where I was to catch another marchroute taxi to Bucharest. A very nice young lady helped me navigate to the hotel, where I bought my ticket before going to a restaurant next door where there was a darling waiter and a horrible pizza.
I caught my commuter bus and settled back to await my next adventure in Bucharest. And that’s where the real nightmare began.
When Katya had made my reservation in Romanian (they spoke no English, not even Russian!) after three days of pursuing the correct number to call from Svetliy to Bucharest, they had told her that the bus would leave from the Gare du Nord – north train station – at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. Again, a young lady took pity on me and she and her husband drove from where the bus stopped on the street to the Gare du Nord. We drove and asked, and could find no Saiz Tours bus. We did see a Filadelfia Tours bus on the side street next to the train station, but no Saiz Tours.
We also found the Saiz Tours office. Hours: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. No fucking help. They finally gave up and let me off at the train station.
I went inside and found a Western Union desk. The lady spoke some English. But she knew nothing about a Saiz Tours bus and directed me to the information office. They had also never heard of Saiz Tours and waved me away.
Nearby was a group of young Romanians. Gypsies? Beware! But I had no choice. One of them spoke English! He could offer no hope on a Saiz Tours bus, but suggested I spend the night and get cleaned up at a 40-euro hostal nearby. A driver would take me there and pick me up at 4:30 the next morning – free -- to find a Saiz Tours bus.
At that point I had 80 euros for my bus plus another 55 or so. Of course, the ATMs in Bucharest spit out only Romanian leis.
But I couldn’t spend the night in the bus station, because there was no bus station. The train station looked deserted and dangerous. What the hell? So I said yes.
The driver took me to a nearby hostal, “Joe’s hostal,” where I paid 40 euros and was given a key to a room. I asked the attendant to wake me at 4 the next morning, which would give me a chance to re-pack, dress, and be ready for the driver at 4:30.
I hadn’t had a shower or washed my hair in a week. I threw open my suitcase, pulled out some soap, and washed my hair, then washed my bod and shaved. I felt almost human again. I pulled out my alarm clock, which I had bought with BB in Seattle last year, and set it for 4 a.m., just in case. And went to bed a little before midnight.
I slept fitfully, woke up at 3 a.m., then back to sleep and was awakened at 4 a.m. by the attendant. I got up, dressed, and was hauling my suitcase down the steps at 4:30. The driver still wasn’t there, so I went out to the street to wait for him.
“Which way is the train station,” I asked the attendant. He pointed and said “not far.”
At 4:45 the driver still wasn’t there, so I pulled my suitcase to the end of the street, At 4:55 he still wasn’t there, so I pulled my suitcase a couple more blocks to the Gare du Nord. I saw cops. One of them spoke English. Saiz Tours was a Turkish Company, but she didn’t know where they might be at the train station. I went back outside and a taxi driver spoke to me.
He spoke a few words of English, “Bus to Spain. Saiz Tours.
“Get in,” he said. “Ten (Romanian) leis.” And we drove around the corner where we had seen the Filadelfia Tours” bus the night before. Now there were a couple of bus drivers there. We got out. “I want to go to Spain. Saiz Tours.”
The bus driver said (in Russian, I think, I don’t remember) he didn’t know where Saiz Tours bus was, but this bus went to Madrid. 80 euros.
“Can I take it?”.
God looks out for drunks and fools.
I was on my way.
We arrived in Madrid at about 10 a.m. and I bought a ticket for the 1:30 bus to Ourense, where I arrived at 8 p.m.
I was home!
I wish I could say my Moldovia odyssey had a fairy tale ending. Unfortunately, I can’t.
I had two phone calls from Igor on the bus from Svetliy to Kamrat asking for money. I had to tell him I didn’t have any.
Then when I got home, and turned my mobile on, I had two messages from him:
“Dane, can you send me $ 70 immediately?”
I responded: “I have no money. The financial crisis in America continues.”
And again, “I have a lot of debts. Can’t you send me $ 50?”
“I have no money.”
And then a series of e-mails:
Hello, Dane, how are you? How was your trip? I want to ask forgiveness for everything. Maybe I offended you somehow; maybe I didn’t do something right. I missed you. Why did you leave so early? Your Igor.”
So I replied:
Hello, Igor, I spent $ 800 in Moldovia, including my ticket back to Spain; for that reason, I just don’t have any money now. I have a little to live on. That’s all.
If you remember, I told you in Moscow not to borrow money and expect me to pay. I told you several times. Why did you do it again?
And when you asked me to send you $ 300 in June, you said, “as a loan – when I am cured, I will find work and pay you back.” I didn’t see you trying to find work while I was there. I know it is very, very difficult to find work, and very difficult even to live. But right now I can’t help you. As I said, the crisis is still continuing in America. I don’t even know when or if I will receive my pension.
I am very disappointed in you, that you took money as a loan and didn’t ask me if the money would be there to pay it back. And now there isn’t any.
And I also gave you 1200 lei for your mama. What happened to it?
I am very disappointed in you.
I told your mom that if I receive my pension in August, I will try to send her $ 200 to fix her motorscooter. But I already gave you $ 100 for parts. And now there isn’t money or parts.
I don’t know what else I can say. I’m very sorry.
I told you I’m not rich, that now I only have my pension, but I think you didn’t believe me.
Good luck, honey,
And then I received the next mea culpa:
You must think very, very, very bad of me :-( Of the 1200 lei that you gave me, I went and ordered the parts, I gave 400 up front, 600 for a present for Mama, and 200 for lights and water. I didn’t just throw the money away. Now the parts have come for Mama’s motorscooter, and there is no money.
I can’t work now. You know that I have a coccyx cyst. That you are very disappointed in me, I am very sorry. I tried to make your stay here very pleasant. And we went to the football game and other places. You didn’t say anything to me. I was very sad when you left. You don’t understand this. I also felt that I had made a bad mistake, that I wasn’t always with you. I asked forgiveness from you, and again ask:
“Forgive me, Dane.”
My situation hasn’t changed. I love you the same way that I loved you, only I couldn’t show it in Svetliy, the people are vicious….My situation hasn’t changed. I want you to know, that if you suddenly want to see me, come. If there are problems. I will look after you, and I won’t behave as I just have.
I’m sorry that you can’t send money. With the loan I bought medicine, Dane, because from my coccyx cyst was running blood. And they gave till Saturday, and now I won’t treat anything more. Let happen what may. It means I need God for this.
I gave up smoking. I don’t want to smoke any more.
My wife threw me away, I am suffering from that. And now you are throwing me away.
Oh, god, now I’ve hurt his feelings. What can I say?
My dear, beloved Igor,
I am very happy to hear that you bought the parts for your mother’s scooter.
Of course I forgive you, honey. I’m sorry that we didn’t spend more time together, but I understand. You’re young, you want to do young things. But it wasn’t easy for me to come see you. In fact, it was rather difficult. I wanted to spend time with you. Denis met me in Kishinev, and your mother, not you, met me in Svetliy!
I would like to send you money, but honestly, I don’t have any now. I hope they will resolve the crisis; probably they will, but in the meantime, I don’t have any money.
I left suddenly, because I thought that I would leave on Tuesday, but thank god, your mother reminded me that I had to leave on Monday. I had a very difficult time in Bucharest, but finally, I caught the bus, but it was a different bus than the one I had made reservations for. Everything ended well, thank god, but I was very worried.
I’m sorry that your coccyx is still hurting you. If I have money, I will send it to you.
Thank you, thank you very much for quitting smoking. I’m very proud of you. :-) I know that I already said it’s very hard, but you’ll be glad some day that you did.
Thanks for the invitation to visit you. Who knows? Maybe it will happen.
As I said, I know that life there is very difficult., but there’s nothing I can do about it now. Try to help your mother. She needs you.
And honey, I haven’t thrown you away like your wife did. You are still my good friend and always will be.
I love you,
And then the bombshell:
Dane, you don’t need to send me money for medicine. I don’t want to live. Forgive me. Help mama.
Oh, Christ, another suicide coming up:
My dear, beloved Igor,
You have to live. Your mama needs you. I will be very, very sad if you don’t live. I love you.
Then on Sunday the following:
Dane, I accidentally cut my arm with a glass [accidentally, after threatening to commit suicide?]. It’s a very deep cut – to the bone. I don’t know what to do. I didn’t mean to, honest! Do you have the money to help me pay for going to the hospital? I really meant to (is this a Freudian slip? I think he intended to say, I really didn’t mean to) I felt very bad that I was so stupid and didn’t spend more time with you: I really made a big mistake :-( Will you forgive me? I love you as always. Do you forgive me? write. I kiss you. ‘bye.
Oh Christ! So I answered:
My dear, loving Igor,
How sorry I am to hear that you cut your arm. That’s just terrible. But I have no money! The crisis is continuing in America. And even if I had money, I couldn’t send it today, because today’s Sunday. Remember that in Spain, nothing works on Sunday.
As concerns our not spending more time together, I’m sorry that we didn’t, but that’s history. Of course, my darling, I forgive you. I am very very upset that you cut your (arm, hand, wrist), but I can’t send money now. Maybe your cousin Masha, the nurse, can help? What’s very important is that it not get infected. If there’s no infection, the wound will heal itself.
Honey, how glad I am to hear from you. Write a lot and often. I love you very much and don’t want to lose you.
I kiss you and worry about you,
And then this:
Hello, Dane, there is already infection, it’s even worse. Blood is running. Soon it will get to the heart and lungs. I don’t know what do do :-(
Honey, when did you cut yourself? Infection usually takes a day, at least.
I also don’t know what to do: I have no money. It’s terrible. You haven’t heard anything from Masha? Let me know what you do and what happens.
To which he replied:
Masha doesn’t know anything. She’s a nurse, not a doctor. I cut myself yesterday evening. Infection is from the pus in my coccyx cyst. There is not even money for bandages and I have to live with my hand.
I’m very sorry, honey, you must control the infection.
And then today, Monday:
How are things going, Dane?
I can’t even wrap my wound because there aren’t 100 leis (about $ 10), and I also need 370 leis (about $ 37). I have debts of 600 lei (about $ 60).
And now my hand hurts, it’s cut to the bone, 8 cm long and 3.5 deep.
When you left, I was very sad. And I understood that I had offended you. I regret very deeply that I didn’t spend more time with you, that we didn’t go places together, etc. Do you forgive me?
With love, your Igor
And my answer:
My darling Igor,
I can send $ 50 – about 600 lei. I don’t have much. I have to live myself. I will send you the number.
I sent $ 60. It’s all I could afford to send now. According to Yahoo news, the Democrats and Republicans have reached agreement on raising the debt, but I still won’t get my next SS check until next Wednesday.
Whatever happens, Igor and Moldovia are endless blood suckers. I’m not rich. All I have is my social security check, and I can live very well and even save some money here. But I can’t continue to let my money run down Moldova’s – and Igor’s – endless pit.
For once, I have to look after myself first.