Blesok no. 108-109, July-August, 2016
The Seasons (excerpt)
Translated by: Milan Damjanoski
A red egg. The first red egg dyed for Easter and a leaf of the flower called rock crane’s bill – to give me a clean bill of health- were my trusted companions for my first bath alone. My mother said to me: “First, you take the egg and caress your cheeks with it so you’ll be beautiful, healthy and with rosy cheeks in order for you to get married, then roll it all over your body so you won’t have any aches. Then, do the same with the little flower. Leave the door unlocked, so nothing bad can happen to you”. I didn’t follow her advice. I locked the door and even put a rag on the door knob so no one would peek inside. I took my bath alone. I laid there in the tub. I filled it up with water, but not sufficiently to cover my whole body. I was afraid of water. I’m still afraid of it to this very day. I neither understand it, nor do I trust it. They said in school that there is nothing more powerful in the world. That it can erode rocks, that it can change any landscape, that we are all made of water. This was too much for me. I didn’t know how to handle such power. The water inside of me was enough of a burden to bear. I found out, years later, that depending on its surroundings and the voices around it, water would change its molecular structure. This explained a lot. Why I had remained of little stature, why I rarely drink water and why my kidneys were sick. But most of all, why I carried such a chaos inside of me. My water didn’t listen to classical music, did not hear pleasant and warm maternal voices in the morning, nor did it hear enough fatherly advice in the evening, yet it did listen to the band Rage Against the Machine together with my brother:
Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me
Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me
I’m telling you, this was not good for my water, but it did make pleasant waves at the time.
Most of the time it was frozen, in quite a badly packaged asymmetrical molecular state. It would melt when listening to Russian fairy tales and films about princes and princesses. Once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away, lived a girl, poor or not, yet profoundly miserable until the day there showed up a prince or a pauper, whatever he was, though undoubtedly a mighty charmer, intellectual and a cynic in reasonable doses who saves the maiden from her misery. And then comes “The End”. Well, that ain’t right. What’s next? What happens next? How did the maiden fare with the prince? Was she happy with him? Were they, how to put it, sexually compatible with the prince? I read somewhere: male and female sexual organs vary in size. They are like a screw and a nut, simple as that. What if the prince’s screw does not fit with the princess’ nut? No one cared about that, yet everyone said that sex before marriage is prohibited and a mortal sin! We analysed all of this eventually, me and my girlfriends.
OK, so, what exactly is the difference between sex and making love? And is it true that French kissing can get you pregnant?
Look, I would respond sagely. Making love is like having a crush. This means you love the boy, but he doesn’t know you love him. So, making love is anything, but sex. That is, everything except sex. What about going to some second, third base?! I never could understand all that talk about bases in American movies. What about sex then, what is sex, they would ask me. Well, sex is when you make babies, it’s just you’re not really making babies, because you need to practice first, just like you would for anything else, so the baby would come out healthy and beautiful. Ahaaa… They would say, believing every word I said. I had an older brother and next to him I had learned a great deal. That’s the reason why they listened to me. For example, if you ever pretend to sleep, you should breathe very slooowly if you don’t want to be caught in the act.
I was thinking a lot about sex. I would peek whenever they would close my eyes because there was a love scene in the movie they were watching on TV. Then I would wonder to myself, is it true that when you lose your virginity, even though it is in quite a hidden part of your body, your face will betray you? I was afraid that my mother would find out. She once told me: If you marry after you have lost you chastity, then the groom’s family will put you on an ugly donkey, you’ll be sat backwards and they’ll put the donkey’s tail in your mouth. They’ll stick a stalk of freshly torn leek in your hands and parade you through the village accompanied by shouting and cursing, not music, so everyone can see that you have been a bad girl. You’ll serve as an example for all the other young girls so they know they should save themselves for the night of the wedding. Finally, your mother-in-law will send me a hideous loaf of bread made of black flour, kneaded without yeast and with a large hole in the middle, on the bottom!
I thought to myself, these must be terribly stupid folks or, rather, highly socially conscious ones if they rate the lesson that the community needs to learn higher than the reputation of their own family.
So, what if she has saved her virginity?
In that case, the bride is mounted on the best horse in the village. The horse is adorned with garlands of the loveliest flowers. The bride is paraded around with singing and music, while the mother of the bride is sent sweet round bread, decorated with candy in all colours, sweets, honey and, of course, the loaf will have no holes.
I didn’t heed her advice. My first menstruation after I lost my cherry was a whole ten days late. My mother was worried. I was a mess. How was it that babies are made? And what was sex and what was making love? And did we know how to practice first or we were doomed to make a baby at the very first time? I was searching for mu virtual notes in my head.
My father looked small as never before. He was sitting hunched back in the waiting room holding his head with his both hands, sighing deeply. I was So what, I thought to myself, Romeo and Juliet were 15 and 16 years of age. Yet, I’ve never heard anyone saying anything bad about them or think that they were too young to love. The gynecologist summons us into her office. Give her a thorough examination, my mother tells her. This is her first visit to a gynecologist.
All right, says the doctor, it’s not a big deal. Just relax. She spreads a cold gel all over my belly. Lower your panties. I lower them just two millimeters. Little bit more, she tells me. All right, all right, I’ll do it! I say this as I realize at that moment where my womb actually is.
My mother: But doctor, give her a good check-up, she is late.
The lady doctor understands what’s going on.
– Did you sleep with a boy, by any chance? – she asks me.
I steal a glance at my mother, she is has a distraught look on her face which tells me that this is no time to lie.
– Well… I say, I was awake the whole time!
The nurse bursts into laughter, while the doctor almost drops the ultrasound exam device from her hands.
– She’s not pregnant, announces the doctor.
My mother: She’s not?!
Me: I’m not? What a shame!
My father lifted his head for the first time that day and sent a questioning look at my mother. She responded with an ecstatic nod. He shot her down with a look of reproach which said: This is all your fault. You were supposed to take care of your daughter. Now it’s too late, how are we ever to find a husband for her?
My mother, from that day on, started to lecture me about how it is very important never to make my boyfriend angry, never ever to offend him and to be always obedient and humble when with him. Even if some day he came drunk from work and remembered that I wasn’t a virgin on the day that I became his wife, I should then remind him that he was the one who deflowered me, but also to apologise to him that I have allowed this mistake to even take place.
– Mistake? I stare at her with my eye-brows raised.
– Mistake indeed, and a terrible one at that! Apologise to me right here and now. Tell me – I’m sorry Mother, I made a mistake!
– Apologise to me!
– To you?
– Well, you are my daughter, I gave birth to you. You’re my flesh and blood!
– Well mother, then the mistake is yours.
– Apologise this very instance!
– My body, my business. I’m not apologising!
I just stay silent and think to myself: yes, I made a mistake, I made a mistake not doing it earlier. Now I have so much to make up for lost time before menopause sets in!
Sex. Lots of, lots of sex and the occasional exam. A little bit of pot, quite a little bit of wine, but a lot of, lot of sex and the occasional exam. In the country, at the movies, in a room full of flatmates who are hopefully asleep. In the park. By the river. In the bus. At concerts, on the stairs, back against the wall. In the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, at night, at the break of dawn… And the occasional movie, book, play. Orgasms? Of every kind! Scientists are lagging behind in their research, I conclude. They have identified only five kinds of orgasm and are still wondering if the G spot is a myth. I only wonder if it is G or some other letter. Or a whole other alphabet.