Russian and Me

by Annmarie Utech, senior

Annmarie is torn between two loves.

Russian and I broke up yesterday. It was not pretty. He found out about Arabic.
We had met at the airport, as do most cliché and typical characters of the love stories. I had just made it through customs. I was jetlagged. I was tired, and in no way did I think that any spark would occur as I groggily made my way to the luggage carousel. But there he was, looking all cool and suave and I just had to stop and stare. He looked a bit dangerous – I always fall for those types.

He said his name was Russian. We started to talk and we realized that we had lots of things in common. We both loved sentences that followed the subject, verb, object pattern and we talked into the night of all the cognates we had in common like bus, television, internet, rose and coffee. He would make me laugh when instead of using “p’s” he would use “r’s” and instead of “c’s” he liked to throw around “s’s.”

I began to think, “Maybe this is the one. Maybe I would want to do this forever.” So I began to spend more and more of my free time with him. I poured myself into our relationship. I wanted to find out as much about him as I could. But when you do that, sometimes you find things that you don’t want to find… the skeletons in the closet. And Russian had a lot.

Russian really liked the hard and soft “b.” Of course I knew. I had seen them from the very beginning but I was hoping that it was nothing, that it was just a phase that would pass. And then there were the symbols. At first I thought that it was an interesting quirk about him, something that he was trying to do to impress me, so I let it slide. Then he started to use them all the time, pushing them upon me that at times I would get so overwhelmed and just throw my hands up in frustration. But yet he would not relent. I was bombarded to the point where I just withdrew.

As in any relationship when frustration builds and tempers are tried, we fought. He lashed out that I had stopped committing to our relationship that I was only spending minimal time with him. I was angry that he was constantly pushing me, telling me what to do and how to say things. In fact, it got so bad that if it was possible, I would find someone else to be the middle man, the messenger. That way I didn’t have to talk to Russian for days. It was horrible, a time filled of doubt, worry, and constant headaches, seeing Cyrillic letter as I dreamed, haunting me.

I had to leave and then the perfect opportunity came— an adventure to Turkey. Without telling Russian or even saying goodbye, I left. This is not my proudest moment and there still is a bit of guilt that lingers as I lie in bed at night, but I had to leave. I met this new friend named Arabic who showed me around. He looked, sounded, and acted in a way that was so unfamiliar that it was like a breath of fresh air, a new start. We hung out a bit, nothing too serious, deciding that it would be best to be friends.

But Russian followed me to Turkey.

He burst in on class one day, still having things to say to me. I thought we were over, I thought we were through. Apparently he didn’t. He clung to my side throwing more complex symbols at me and openly flaunting his friendship with hard and soft “b.” I was miserable. The first few exciting days of Turkey and my new friendship with Arabic were thrown aside. I pleaded for Russian to leave me alone, but he refused.

And then Arabic showed up, like a knight in the tales of Scheherazade. He just walked in the door calm and confident. He looked at me and smiled as if to say, “Do not worry, I will take care of this for you.” He went right up to Russian and calmly said, “Please leave.” They stared each other down, the room grew tense, my heart stopped beating. Russian looked from me to Arabic and then from Arabic to me and he knew, putting two and two together. So throwing one last symbol at me, he stalked out of the room, slamming the door shut on his way out.

And that’s when I knew that Arabic and I were going to be more than friends.

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