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Grigore & Tatiana

by Nick Nicholson © 2009


erotic fictionThe first crisis in their relationship occurred on a warm August night in 1997 when Grigore talked his fiance, Tatiana, into letting him ejaculate on her face. The night had started off well enough: Tatiana had cooked spaghetti Bolognese, a dish with which she was unfamiliar (since she wasn't Italian), but which she had made a concerted effort to prepare. Grigore wasn't Italian either, of course, and so was unable to say whether the dish was authentic or not, but he enjoyed the slippery tendrils of pasta and the rich Mediterranean flavours (flavours that, like Tatiana, he'd never grown up with) and said so. Tatiana smiled at him across the kitchen table in a way that Grigore thought might lead to lovemaking later that evening, an interpretation which, as it turned out, was accurate.

After dinner, Grigore and Tatiana drank some Scotch whisky, a small luxury that, on rare occasions, they afforded themselves. Tatiana curled up next to Grigore on the second-hand sofa given to them two months earlier by Tatiana's parents. Their talk became intimate, quieter. They listened to the mesmerising hum of the cars outside on the streets of Bucharest and to the creaking of the timber beams behind the walls and ceiling of their apartment. Then, in a mildly euphoric state, which she had attained even before finishing her drink, Tatiana took hold of Grigore's hand and led him to the bedroom, a small room decorated with pretty floral curtains and superfluous pillows.

One thing led to another, as these things do. Kisses led to caresses, which led to fondling, which led to undressing and falling naked onto the bed. Grigore was unusually excited. Perhaps the whisky had had an excessive effect on him too. Perhaps it was the excitement of their impending wedding, only seven weeks away. In any case, flushed with more daring than was his wont, and encouraged by Tatiana's heavy breathing and tightening grip on his bare buttocks, Grigore whispered into her ear and told her what he wanted to do. Tatiana seized up. The room was dark but not dark enough to conceal from Grigore's eyes the deep furrows that immediately emerged on Tatiana's forehead. The humming of the cars outside suddenly turned into an insistent and intrusive noise, like a drill. Tatiana had never been confused about Grigore before; she'd always seen him as a gentle, considerate man despite his hulking stature (at times, he could look like a Russian thug, or so it seemed to Tatiana), and so his question or was it a statement? created a rare turmoil in her mind. After several moments of excruciating silence and stillness, all she could manage to say, or rather squeak, was one word: why? Grigore couldn't explain. He was a simple man (he worked as a security guard at a government building), not given to deep introspection about himself or his motivations. Grigore simply did what made him happy. He loved Tatiana. A few years earlier, when he was still a teenager, Grigore had seen pictures in magazines of girls with semen on their faces, which was what he wanted to do with Tatiana now, but she was obviously troubled by this prospect, however benign it seemed to Grigore. Maybe if you think of it as something nice, like falling snow, he said, it won't be so bad. Tatiana lay like a cold statue beneath him. Grigore was at least wise enough to refrain from saying anything further and waited for her response (it was a delicate moment that could have gone either way). Then, being young, and not wanting to displease her beloved fiance, nor seem prudish, Tatiana nodded, albeit hesitantly. She envisaged herself drowning, alone, in a mysterious black sea.

Grigore didn't know it at that precise, indelible moment, but the ridiculousness and stupidity of his suggestion to Tatiana, to think of his semen as snow, would, in later years, haunt him like an insoluble riddle.

After it was done, Grigore opened his eyes and looked at Tatiana. Two milky streaks lay on her cheeks, almost parallel to the tears that ran down her face. At first glance, Grigore thought her tears and his semen blended together in a way that seemed divinely beautiful, as if his spilled fluids were like tears, too, tears of joy. But it was only a momentary thought. Tatiana shoved Grigore away, hard, with a force that belied the thinness of her arms and body. She ran to the bathroom, crying, screaming, how could you, Grigore, how could you humiliate me like that? You made me feel like a whore! Grigore replied with two words that, when they left his mouth, sounded like tiny echoes swallowed up by a canyon: I'm sorry.

Tatiana eventually emerged from the bathroom, her face clean and dry, but with her eyes still faintly reddened, and got into bed. Neither of them said anything, nor did they so much as glance at each other. The next morning, it was as if the incident had never happened. Both Grigore and Tatiana appeared to have forgotten the unfortunate event of the previous night, or at the very least they had buried the memory of it in the deepest recesses of their minds.

In October 1997, they married, and in the tradition of Romanian weddings, the singing, the dancing and the drinking continued until daybreak. Both Grigore and Tatiana felt ensconced in the warm protective arms of their families. A bright new road lay ahead of them. The following October, Tatiana gave birth to a boy, Vasile, and in January 2000, a girl, Malina, was born. Life was good.

One night in July of that same year, 2000, after finishing his shift at the government building, Grigore decided to take a different route home, for no other reason than to break the monotony. Along an unfamiliar street, he was stopped by a man who asked for a cigarette. The man, dressed in clothes that were not as inexpensive as Grigore's, had thick black hair (Grigore instantly thought of the Black Forest, even though he'd never been to Germany) and a beard that was equally thick and black but streaked with grey. Grigore gave him a cigarette, then lit one for himself and together they smoked and chatted amiably about nothing in particular, perhaps the weather, perhaps even politics. At a certain point, the conversation paused and then the man asked, do you want a woman? Grigore understood what the man meant (he was oddly unperturbed by the question) and without thinking, or perhaps it's more accurate to say, without needing to think, nodded his assent. The man, who had introduced himself earlier as Petru, gave Grigore the address of an apartment block in the next street and told him to go to the sixth floor, room 602. Grigore thanked Petru and left. Petru, the bearded stranger whose hair reminded Grigore of the Black Forest, vanished into the night.

Grigore found the building easily, entered through the front doors and made his way up the narrow dimly-lit stairs. There was no-one around. For a brief moment he thought that perhaps he'd been set up to be robbed, or beaten, or raped, but these thoughts lingered and floated away like smoke. His ominous frame had almost always forestalled the eruption of violence from others and so fear was something he rarely experienced. Grigore arrived at room 602 and knocked on the door, noticing the numerous strips of bare wood where the paint had long since peeled away. He heard muffled sounds. Then a man's voice asked, through the closed door, who sent you? to which Grigore replied, Petru, and a few seconds later the door opened.

Compared to Petru, the man who stood at the doorway was older and gruffer in appearance but just as thickly bearded. Grigore's instantaneous thought was that perhaps this man was Petru's older brother, but he couldn't know that for sure because the man didn't introduce himself. Wary of undercover police, the old man looked Grigore up and down then silently stood aside to let him enter. Inside, three young girls lounged on a long sofa, smoking cigarettes, their faces painted with make-up but their expressions like heavily-erased drawings. The old man called one of them by name, but Grigore forgot the name the moment it was spoken. The girl, who looked to be around 20 but was probably 24 or 25, extinguished her cigarette in a cut glass ashtray that was overflowing with butts, then stood and approached Grigore. She had lanky blonde hair (bleached, Grigore guessed) and wore a tight white miniskirt, a red midriff-baring tank top and high heels that were scuffed and worn, making her feet look unutterably sad. Grigore noticed that the girl's eyes were green, like Tatiana's, but unlike Tatiana, her breasts were small. The old man leaned close to Grigore. You like Ukrainian girls? he asked softly, his breath heavy with the stench of cigars and alcohol. Grigore didn't know if he liked Ukrainian girls, or what particular qualities Ukrainian girls might or might not have, so he just nodded. The man told him the price (1,250,000 lei), which Grigore promptly paid. The Ukrainian girl then grabbed Grigore's hand with a certain impatience, although he had no idea what he'd done to make her feel impatient, and led him to the bedroom. You, gypsy cocksucker, called the old bearded man with a vampiric look in his eyes, no funny business, to which Grigore calmly repeated, no, no funny business. The bedroom door closed behind him. Illuminated only by the weak light of a single lamp, Grigore made love to the Ukrainian girl with green eyes whose name he hadn't remembered. Twenty minutes later he returned to the streets of Bucharest and walked the rest of the way home.

It was the first time Grigore had ever been to a brothel. In the endless days of his youth, before he was married, Grigore's friends would attempt to cajole him into going to brothels with them, but he'd always resisted, for which he was mercilessly teased. Grigore would smile and shake his head at his friends, insisting he was in love with Tatiana and had no need for prostitutes. But on this July night things had been different, although Grigore could not have described how, exactly, things were different. There had been no overwhelming desire, no anxious forethought or planning. It was just a strange feeling.

When he arrived at the apartment, Grigore explained his lateness by telling Tatiana about how he'd decided to take a different route home, just for a change. He also told her about the stranger he'd met in the street and about smoking a cigarette with him. Naturally, he said nothing about the brothel, the old bearded man that looked like the stranger's (Petru's) brother, or the Ukrainian girl. Later, in bed, after Grigore had watched Vasile and Malina fall asleep in their room, Tatiana kissed Grigore on the cheek before she herself fell into a deep sleep. She dreamed of white horses, galloping, galloping.

Grigore didn't dream that night, or if he did, he couldn't remember.

Grigore's income as a security guard was insufficient to sustain regular visits to brothels, so he didn't bother going to another one until the following year. From then on, it became a pattern: once a year, when the notion occurred to him, and when there was a little surplus money that would not be especially missed or could be explained away if it was, Grigore would find a brothel (usually an illegal one, because they were cheaper), a different one each time. This pattern continued for several years.

On two occasions, in March 2002 and then in September 2005, Grigore asked the prostitutes he happened to be with (Ctlina, 21, and Daniela, 19, respectively) if he could come on their faces, or at least on their breasts. They said yes, without blinking, but it would cost extra. In August 2004, in a particularly grotty brothel, not far from where he and Tatiana lived, Grigore was fucking a prostitute who was considerably older than him (she called herself Trixiebell, which Grigore thought was a rather cartoonish American name, but she was neither American nor cartoonish) when he stopped at a certain point and asked if he could fuck her arse, something, it occurred to him, he had never dared ask of Tatiana. Trixiebell said yes, but it, too, would cost extra.

In 2006, Grigore forgot to go to a brothel.

The second crisis occurred in February 2008, four months after Grigore had slept with a beautiful Moroccan prostitute of indeterminate age (the two events were, of course, quite unrelated). Malina had just turned 8 and Vasile was nearly 9. Anyway, on this particular night in February, Tatiana waited fretfully for Grigore to arrive home from work (he was now the Assistant Manager at the security company, which meant his hours were longer). She had put the children to bed and was sitting forlorn and depressed on the sofa, drinking vodka, when Grigore entered the room. Tatiana had been depressed for months, perhaps even years, but on this night, Grigore, in an atypical moment of insight, sensed that something very bad had happened, or was going to happen. He fetched a glass from the kitchen, sat down next to Tatiana, picked up the bottle of vodka and poured himself a drink. The clock ticked. Finally Tatiana said, I'm sick, Grigore. I went to the doctor for tests. It's breast cancer. They have to cut it off. Grigore looked at his wife and asked, which one? She replied, the right one. Grigore got drunk and cried, as did Tatiana.

Two weeks later, Tatiana's right breast was removed. Grigore was there at her side, in the pale green hospital room, when Tatiana woke up from the anaesthetic. She tried to speak but her words were slurred, incomprehensible. Grigore didn't know what to say and could no longer cry. He held her hand for two hours. The next day a Friday Tatiana said to Grigore, I'm only half a woman now. How can you love only half a woman? Grigore wanted to say something but at that moment a nurse entered the room and his train of thought came to a dead end.

In the months that followed, Tatiana recovered physically, but psychologically she was never the same. She refused to allow Grigore to see her scar or her solitary breast. She would suddenly start crying while standing in line at the supermarket, or while preparing meals, or, worst of all, when she was alone, when the children were at school and Grigore was at work. It was as if the cancer was still eating away at her. Grigore felt completely helpless. He took long walks around the streets of Bucharest (streets that were now very familiar) that often lasted for hours.

Life lumbered on. Then in May 2009, Tatiana asked her husband for a divorce. Grigore protested at first, but a week later, realising that the situation had become untenable, and irreversibly so, he conceded to Tatiana's request. The bright road had ended in a cul-de-sac. Now, said Tatiana to Grigore, you can spend your time with as many whores as you want.

That night, Grigore dreamed of a blizzard, of being entombed under a mountain of snow. He woke up, just before dawn, shaking with terror.

Six years later, Grigore married Luiza, a childless woman from Moldova. Tatiana never re-married.

© 2009 Nick Nicholson. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Bio: Nick took up writing in 2006. He lives in Canberra, Australia.

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