Slavik: I love the way your hair creates these tight, spirally curls.
And the way your cheeks flush in crimson red whenever I compliment you. Your smile is gorgeous.
All these years you were out, here. And I? Completely clueless.
I love the way you smell, the way you walk and talk. You’re graceful.
I jumped in my car and was headed back to Greenville whenever I realized.
That I was madly in love with Slavik.
With an hour drive back & my head throbbing, I pushed down 85.
My stomach was turning.
I knew I was moving on.
And then, my cell rings.
Unsaved number I deleted purposefully months ago.
Mari. What the fuck? You fucking slut. Of course that piece of shit Russian guy has more to offer than I do, right?
This is the last the time I’m doing this shit. I hope he makes you happier than I ever did. Oh I bet you love his Mercedes Benz don’t you. He calls you every fucking night, huh? Well guess what? I’ve met some girls. I don’t have time for you. I have too much shows booked and music to be working on. I don’t need a piece of shit girl in my life. They always warned me about woman. Fuck you. I’m blocking your number, I hope I never see you again, slut. FUCK MAN. I CANT BELIEVE YOU MARI!!! WHAT THE FUCK!
It hits home & im back at point A.
All those nights he’d leave me & lie about being at parties swarmed with bitches, then shout at me for being unsupportive when he sobered up. Weeks on weeks of no calls, no texts. After all those bruises. All the frustrations and long nights with soaked pillows because of other girls.
It was like living it all over again. Vividly.
Except this time, I had no more tears to shed.
The weekdays then flew by when I woke up alone in bed on Monday.
Sunday came around & I was back on the road by 7am.
I’ve got HearttoHeart blasting from my speakers when I get on the main road towards his house.
I loved going to his town. It was so green and everyone was friendly.
It was nice to get out of the city for once.
We ate breakfast at stax & laughed hysterically the whole time we were there.
2 hours later, we’re cruising up the mountain towards Asheville, & the wind’s blowing my hair while he drives. And he drives. And drives.
He looks over at me with those green eyes of his & speaks to me in Russian. I reply in Spanish & we’re both
We’ve done some shopping, & have ate lunch.
It’s 90 degrees out and we’re climbing stairs to get to the top of chimney rock.
By the time we’re up, we’re breathless.
I think this is going to be amazing.
He kisses my lips. And. I. Let. Him.
Night time caught us and I wish I could stay.
Stay in his arms all night. And hear all the wonders he’d whisper in my ears.
But I was afraid I wouldn’t want to leave whenever the sun rose.
And I didn’t want to be afraid because then I’d have a reason to stay.
Monday’s after work consisted of showering, eating and crashing.
But this Monday, he’d be coming over to Greenville, for a change, as much as he hated the traffic here.
I threw a black dress on and paired it with some sleek, nude heels.
The look on his face whenever I opened the door at my parents, let me knew he was in awe.
Through dinner, my food went untouched.
He was gorgeous. I couldn’t look away.
He reached my hand over the table and kissed it.
You don’t even know what I’m thinking.
We went to the bridge.
I took him all in. His smile, his eyes and his hair. His rough, masculine hands and arms. His thick Russian accent. Him.
About our goals & dreams. Our parents, & jobs. Cars.
Oh yes, he loved cars. Anything German, specifically.
Religion & his beliefs.
I was agnostic, however, he was not.
He mentioned how strict his parents had been growing up.
Marriage wasn’t a choice. It was a given.
The words lingered on my memory all night.
I was heavy for the remainder of the week.
I ignored his phone calls, texts.
He was going insane.
This one voicemail ate me alive.
Of course, you’re a beautiful girl. I was foolish to think you’d even want me to begin with. Was it something I said the other night? Did I upset you? I’m truly sorry if I did. Mari. Whenever you’re ready, I’ll be here if you want to talk.
I’ll always be here.
Truth is, he was.
All these months, he stood there with open ears & his arms wide open, always smiling. Always.
Loving me (even if he hadn’t said it) through the goods & bads. Catching me & filling me with so much hope & happiness.
He made me blossom the way I hadn’t before.
And yes, I wanted to talk to him. I wanted him. I wanted us. I wanted it. But I didn’t have much to say.
I didn’t want to love him this wildly.
Another night fell & I thought about my ex.
I knew he was having the time of his life.
Girls, booze & music. Right.
The thought pissed me off.
I felt guilt even thinking about him, having Slavik giving me a chance at a new life.
A new beginning.
M: I haven’t called I know,I’m sorry. I…
S: it’s ok, I’m going to get you.
We’re on the highway towards an unfamiliar new city. I loved how much he loved exploring.
As always, he pops my door, reaches for my hand and let’s me out.
We grab dessert at this contemporary dessert shop downtown and feed each other bites like morons.
We walk around for a bit and he proceeds to standing on a bench, declaring his infatuation with me to everyone near by.
I catch eyes and initially flush.
This man is out of his mind!
But well out of it, for me.
We’re on top of a building with a city’s worth view.
He’s leaning against his car, grabs my waist and pulls me in while kissing me the way he’s never before.
I think his manners have slipped, but at this point I don’t care.
I kiss him back.
He’s hot and he loves me just as much as I love him but neither one of us dares says it.
Why can’t I just, commit?
For once? For him? For us?
For a minute you had me worried I’d lost you.
I wouldn’t forgive myself if I’d let you go. I want to give you something, so it’s always a little reminder.
He runs to the drivers side and slips a red box with a bow. It has an unusually small look in his manly hands.
He pulls the bow loose and takes out a necklace.
He’s standing in front of me, practically looking into my soul.
And even though he got a glance it, he stands firmly & unmoved. He’s devoted.
This. This is my reminder to you that I’ve wanted you the moment I laid my eyes on you.
You’ve kept your feelings reserved. I know you have. But this is letting me express mine.
Whenever you’re ready, take the ring off the necklace and promise your finger with it.
I think he can see the terror streaking from my eyes.
Haha no Mari, I’m not proposing to you. At least not yet.
I just want my reassurance that you’ll be mine at one point down our lives. You don’t even have to wear it, just keep it.
I want to keep your heart whole.
He squeezes my checks and we hop in the car.
Mari, what’s up? Talk to me. I’m not good at guessing.
I can’t face him so I keep my eyes on the road.
M: Just tired. Take me home now, please?
I hated hurting him. But I hated even more that I loved him.
I’m barely 20. I need to enjoy this.
He’s 24. He wants this.
Me? I cant offer anything right now.
Everyone has made it clear that I’m not enough. Not good.
The days pass.
My phone buzzes. Half asleep I roll over, thinking it can’t be Slavik. He has work tomorrow.
Why? Fucking why?
I can recognize that voice among millions.
Him: I’m so sorry I was such a jerk last time we spoke. I’ve missed you. And your voice. I didn’t mean anything I said. Can I please stay the night & make things better? I have no where else to go. I love you.
M: Um. Yea. Just come now and I’ll leave the door unlocked. Just come up to my room. I love you.
Him: I love you. I’ll see you soon, gorgeous.
FUCKING SHIT I DID IT AGAIN! I couldn’t have hated myself more.
The door cracks open, in all black he slips in.
I’m in bed with a loose t shirt and nothing else.
He comes over, his eyes full of hunger. When we’re done undressing each other,
He looks at me. I look at him.
Wondering where the hell we went wrong.
It’s been 5 years. Five.
I don’t know but my eyes start to water. I can’t think of Slavik.
He starts kissing me starting at my eye lids down to my feet.
The rush is incredible. I know this scent far too well.
We make love all night & wake up at 1 the following morning.
I roll over and he’s there, still sleeping.
I know he didn’t mean anything he said that one night on the phone, but it cut me. Deep.
He used to be so sweet. But I’ve changed him and I’m dealing with all the consequences.
I can’t bring myself to let anyone close.
Slavik. Can you meet me?
We arrange for lunch at Apple Bee’s, since he’s always loved it so much.
When I pull in, he’s already there.
And, again, I gasp just as hard as the first time I saw him.
mmm wow. Yessir that’s all me. Woe baby you look great!
I fucked up.
I gave this up. I let it go. Fuck fuck fuck I’m an IDIOT.
I almost run back to my car and just leave.
So I wouldn’t have to hurt him. So I wouldn’t have to see him.
I say as I dodge a kiss and peck him on the cheek instead.
Lunch is filled with him talking about his new job he starts in a week and how we gets to do what he loves. Excitement over powers his voice.
He loves driving and now he’s gonna get to drive all over and everywhere in brand new foreign cars.
I faint a smile.
It relieves me knowing he’ll be far away. Always on the road, but it kills me because I know he’ll be thinking of me just the same.
M: I’m glad. You’re gonna have lots of fun. Me well, I’ll just stay in good ole Greenville and paint. Work. Same ole’
I smile again.
This time practically choking on my own words.
He traces my face.
Silly, I’ll be missing you. I’ll FaceTime you every night I’m not on the road, baby doll.
He covers the bill, leaving a generous tip.
He was always so amazingly good to everyone around him.
We hopin his car and hit the road again like the old days.
I look at him, again.
He looks back.
It feels just like the beginning.
He speaks to me in Russian and I reply in Spanish.
We both look, you know,
And we laugh.
We’re at another city’s worth view and we just sit there. Looking out the window.
I think he feels it.
We’re back at in the Apple Bee’s parking lot.
My stomach is turning and my throat is knotted. My head’s pounding and I die inside
Knowing this is the last time I could ever see him again.
My eyes dampen and I hug him.
I hug him for the longest that I can recall.
M: I’m sorry
He kisses me and he almost doesn’t have to know. But I let him know, anyway.
Today, on the way to work, on 85, I pulled up next to a white Benz.
I don’t think he wants to recognize me.
But I recognize every detail of him.