tagGroup SexRussian Wives Ch. 01

Russian Wives Ch. 01


I resolved to be married by the end of the year. This was my one and only New Year's Resolution.

Of course, my prospects for marriage were slim. I worked two jobs and often a third so that I could put money aside for an eventual easier life. At one job, I was a full-time computer programmer and web designer. I then free lanced in the evenings for another company that wanted all the time I could give them; I usually put in another forty hours a week for them. My third job was as a weekend bartender at a resort that specialized in weddings; I was busy most weekends with that too. All that work meant I had little time for a social life, but I was saving money – money for a rainy day; money for a family; money for a better life than I'd grown up in.

The few women my age that I worked with were mostly married or unavailable, and apparently even their friends were when I asked 'if they knew anyone.' Moreover, I didn't handle rejection well, so I tended not to hit on women I didn't already know or get introduced to. That left a pretty empty field of play.

I'm not bad looking, but I am a little reserved. At thirty-five, my parents had all but given up hope for my ever becoming a family man. My older brother often came to my defense, assuring parents, friends and relatives that I hadn't crossed over and that I'd meet the right woman in time.

Of course, I had a covey of friends of all persuasions – many from my various jobs past and present. My closest friend and co-worker was a gay guy named Bruce. Somehow, he knew I'd never cross the line, but that I was tolerant of his life choices. He was a superb computer artist and graphics designer, and in his spare time worked as an interior decorator and feng shui consultant. Bruce urged me to use the computer – 'the wonders of technology,' he called it – to find a bride. He'd met several lovers through the Internet and was sold on the concept.

Thus, three months into the year of my resolution, with only nine months remaining in the year to get married, I logged onto a website that promised attractive and hospitable women that sought marriage outside their country - Russia. Somehow, I managed to spend an hour or two each night window shopping – reading the biographies and dream lists submitted to the site by dozens of Russian women. Of course, I'd done enough work on the Internet to be skeptical of all the claims in the biographies as well as skeptical of the photographs that all seemed to show model quality women in chic clothes.

I narrowed the field down to a dozen I might like from the generic descriptions they'd written, and then a week later I winnowed my selections down to four by gut feel. By this time, another month had passed. I paid for another month's membership on the website and started to e-mail the four women that seemed to have personality traits and backgrounds that might bode well for a long-term relationship – even a marriage. I sent several photographs of myself, plus a long bio and my own 'dream list.' I was letting it all hang out there so they could get to know me.

Three of the women responded within four days, and I never heard from the fourth. One of the replies politely explained that she had become betrothed to a local boy, however, she thanked me for my interest and wished me the best of luck in finding a bride.

Svetlana, the first girl to respond, was twenty-eight and apparently a shapely long-haired redhead. She e-mailed several more photographs to me, more casual poses than the formal portraits on the website. Svetlana had gone to college and studied accounting. She was working for a government agency keeping track of the finances for part of the organization along with fifty or so other accountants. She responded to a lot of the questions I'd asked, and, to my delight, asked about thirty other questions of me. Her questions revealed that she was indeed being careful about whom she choose to leave Mother Russia for, and also revealed that she was intelligent, witty, and discriminating. Our correspondence had started.

Elena was the second girl to respond. This twenty-seven year old also attached a dozen candid photos to her first e-mail, including photos with some of her friends. Elena designed women's clothes for a small boutique in Moscow, and she wanted to create her own line in the U.S. eventually. In each photo she sent she was dressed with exceptional care, her trim body showing she was fashion conscious, as well as skilled in design, makeup and hair styling. She too asked some deep questions, and she shared a lot more about herself than was evident on the matchmaking website. I could even tell she had a spiritual side to her that I relished.

I corresponded for a month with both women, being as open and honest about myself and my responses to their questions as I could be. They seemed to be doing likewise with the questions I posed to them. Quickly, I really got to know the two women on a much deeper level than I thought possible through e-mails. There was little about our lives that we didn't talk about.

As I corresponded with the two beautiful women, I also studied immigration, green card, and citizenship requirements. They were tougher than I thought. I told each that if I selected her she'd travel to the U.S. on a normal travel or vacation visa, good for 90 days. If we decided we really liked each other during that time, we'd get married and immediately start to work on the green card and extended or family visa. There was always a chance she'd have to leave the country after our wedding until the paperwork cleared all the hurdles.

I arbitrarily set June 1 as the date I had to decide which woman I would marry. If it were a toss-up at that point, I'd wait two more weeks and then decide. Time passed and I ended up in the middle of June, facing the rather complex decision yet again. I sat at my computer with the selection web page in front of me. I stared at photos I'd printed of the two women and re-read every piece of correspondence. I remained undecided – they were each beautiful, smart, talented, and desirable in their own unique way.

I recalled stories of mail-order brides I'd read about from the 1800s or early 1900s where the marriages proved loving and stable for lifetimes. I recalled that in some societies, for instance in India, marriages are arranged; a couple may never even meet until their wedding day, yet many marriages end up happy and rewarding. That was what I wanted.

I clicked one box and then the other – alternating between the two women. Back and forth. I played 'eeny, meny, miny, moe' trying to decide. I did the one-potato-two-potato' game. I made lists on a pad beside my computer. But when I chose one, I'd feel bad about now choosing the other, so I'd try some other scheme. Somehow I knew another two weeks or month would leave me in the same predicament.

In the end, I decided to close my eyes and click wildly across the web page containing the selection, letting the fates decide the issue for me. I even put a paper bag over my head so I wouldn't be tempted to peek. I then clicked the mouse wildly for a couple of minutes, moving it in random jerks and jogs around on the mouse pad.

When I looked a minute later to see if anything had happened, I found I'd not only made a selection, I'd also agreed to forward $2,000 to the matchmaking company so that they could pay the airfare for the winner from Moscow to Tampa, the large airport nearest to me. To my surprise, the screen had changed and I didn't know whom I had selected. The closing web page told me I would be contacted shortly with arrival information, and suggested that would be in two to four weeks so the woman I selected would have time to arrange her affairs and say goodbye to her family.

The next day, Sunday, I didn't have to work; yet I was full of nervous energy. I went and looked at houses, figuring that the modest condominium I'd lived in for ten years would be unsuitable for my soon to be bride. I liked the third place I looked at: a four bedroom, four bath home with pool that nestled next to a pond on a picturesque golf course. I bought it on the spot. I'd never spent so much on an impulse purchase.

The following week, I took several evenings off from my freelance work to complete buying the house and also to purchase some furniture for it, including a king-size bed. Suddenly, I was glad for all the extra hours I'd put in since I'd graduated college. I could afford the house, got a great mortgage rate, and bought much of the furniture we'd need without pain. The next weekend I moved into the house with the help of Bruce and a couple of other friends. The place would need a woman's touch, particularly with the decorating, but it was more than adequate after I'd unpacked some of the things I'd saved as well as some significant donations from my parents and brother. Over the phone they'd communicated their pleasure with my decision to find female companionship, even if it was through an Internet dating site.

While all that went on, I was left with a dilemma. I didn't know which woman I'd selected. I didn't know what kind of e-mails to send to either Svetlana or Elena. Both of them had sent me e-mails expressing some excitement about my coming decision time and talking about immigration, but since I'd done my selection neither of them indicated they'd heard anything from the matchmaking company. I decided to remain equally vague and uncommunicative about having 'decided' until I knew the outcome of my selection and one of them was in my arms.


Three weeks later, I stood in the arrivals area outside Tampa's airport security with a bouquet of flowers. There were others standing around to greet deplaning passengers too, but I bet I was the only one that wasn't sure who they were meeting – and who had an expectation of marrying the mystery passenger. The e-mail from the matchmaking company only gave me the flight number and date that I was to meet. It was a Saturday afternoon and I had decided to take the following week off work in order to spend time with my new 'fiancée;' this was the first vacation I'd taken since I'd started work there fourteen years earlier. I didn't want my girlfriend – a term I'd have to adapt to over time – to feel lonely or, on the other hand, to feel preyed upon.

In my pocket I carried pictures of both Svetlana and Elena; I didn't want the embarrassment of missing them if they walked right by me. I figured I'd hide both away after I saw my new 'mate' walking down the concourse towards where I stood just outside the security gate. My own uncertainty led me to look at the photos every few minutes, as though to ensure their images were emblazoned on my mind.

The plane landed, and a few minutes later I watched the sudden stream of passengers surge from the arrival gates towards where I stood.

I saw her. I felt that uncertainty I worried about at first, but then as she turned and started walking towards me I was certain. Elena. My heart throbbed with love – the fates had decided my future wife. She was dressed sharply, and even in the distance I could see other male heads turn to admire her. I hoped I'd be up to the task of being boyfriend, lover, companion, and husband.

But then, a shock wave swept over me. My blood ran cold. I thought about running – fleeing an impending doom, an impossible situation, an Armageddon of my own making. I dropped the flowers without even feeling them missing from my hands.

Fifty feet behind Elena strolled Svetlana.

Svetlana was looking into her pocketbook and then at a small photograph. A photograph of me, I presumed. I quickly checked the two photos I carried to be sure. There was no doubt, particularly as they got closer to where I stood. I felt faint. Neither woman seemed aware of the other.

Elena saw me and started running, even with the heavy shoulder bag she carried. As she got to where I stood she rushed into my arms and kissed me. I was speechless, but returned her kiss in an abrupt and automatic way. She kept saying my name as she kissed me: "Jonathan. Jonathan. Jonathan."

I moved her to arms length about the time Svetlana reached us. By now she had found me, her brain matching the flat two-dimension photograph with my real image – an image I'm sure that looked ashen and in shock. The look on her face appeared to be somewhere between puzzlement and irritation. "Jonathan?" She asked hesitantly coming to a stop beside us. She asked and I nodded slowly, but she already knew the answer.

I nodded numbly. Elena looked at Svetlana and also looked puzzled.

"I am Svetlana ... but who is this?" She looked Elena up and down with curiosity – or perhaps it was distain. Her Russian accent was unmistakable.

Elena answered in Russian. I listened carefully enough to understand that she said her name and gave the suburb of Moscow where she lived. A further chatter of Russian took place with rising voices between the two.

People started to turn and look at us. We were creating a scene.

Finally, I broke into the conversation. "Please, both of you come with me. I'll explain, or at least I think I will. Let's not make a scene here. Please. Please come with me."

With the two women giving cold shoulders to each other, I picked up some of their hand luggage and they followed me to the luggage claim area. Both had cleared customs and immigration in New York. The flowera I bought were trampled by the other passengers as they surged into the terminal.

Amidst an eerie silence, we collected two enormous suitcases, piled them on a cart with the hand luggage, and I led them to my car. Somehow we got the pile of luggage in the back of my car, and I drove out of the airport garage.

The forty-five minute drive to my new home was an exercise in anxiety, stomach acid, and mental torture. We barely talked. Each of us appeared alone in their thoughts, trying to absorb the emerging situation or trying to piece together what happened. Once or twice, I weakly pointed out something tourists might like: Tampa bay, the Sunshine Skyway bridge, the Gulf of Mexico, and then the entrance to my neighborhood. All they did was nod. Out of fear, I didn't mention my indecision and how I'd ended with both of them. I thought about how I'd explain to them, and then what we'd do next.

Finally, we got to my new neighborhood and my new street. "This is my house. I just bought it two weeks ago," I told them as I pulled into the driveway and stopped. Both nodded with some degree of acceptance. "Please come in. This is awkward, but think of this place as yours." I shuffled all the bags into the entry foyer, grateful for the physical activity.

I briefly gave them a tour of the house, pointing out where each of the major living areas was: bedrooms, kitchen, living room, pool and so forth. We ended standing in the living room.

Svetlana broke the silence we'd endured for the hour. "Mr. Jonathan, why are there two of us here? You need to explain, if there is an explanation." She stood in one doorway to my living room, her arms crossed and a peeved expression on her pretty face.

Elena stood in the other archway. She shook her long jet-black hair out of the bun she'd had it in; the locks cascaded down her back in a sexy move as she tossed her head. She added, "Yes, I'd like to know that also. Why did you ask two of us to come to America – to become your wife?"

I gestured for them each to sit and they did – about as far from one another as they could be yet remain in the same room. I'd had an hour to think about what I'd say to the two of them, how I would explain my indecision and crazy selection process. My ideas at where to go from here, however, remained elusive; I had no notion of what to do next.

I started slowly and recounted my tale of why I went to that website; why I went online, how I'd narrowed the selection to the two of them, and then my indecision over the weeks I'd allotted. I told about my crazy scheme of selecting what I thought was one of them, trusting in fate, and then discovering that I didn't know whom I'd chosen. I mentioned sending $2,000 to the matchmaking company.

Both said in unison, "I got a $1,000 for my travel." At least I knew I'd funded both their trips so they weren't out the travel cost.

I went on, "I really thought the fates – the gods – the angels – or whatever you choose, didn't want me to know whom I'd selected until you arrived and I met you at the airport. I've been excited these weeks, but without a clue from either of you or the company as to whom I selected." I paused and added, "I filled my time buying this house and some furnishings to add to what I had. But, now I don't know what to do."

Elena asked in a rather calm tone, "If you had to pick now, who would you choose?"

I looked blankly at her, and then Svetlana. After a minute I said flatly, "I can't decide."

Svetlana rattled off a stream of Russian towards Elena; I detected a tone of sarcasm. Elena laughed, no doubt at my expense. A fairly rapid but polite conversation in Russian then took place between the two of them. I didn't understand a word of it.

Svetlana finally said, "Jonathan, why don't you get us all a glass of wine. Make yourself scarce for a few minutes while we talk."

I nodded and left the room; a rapid chatter between the two of them filled the living room – in Russian.

When I returned a few minutes later, Elena and Svetlana were seated next to each other on the sofa. Now they gestured to one of the chairs. I served us each a glass of wine, some light hors d'oeuvres, and sat. I noted they at least looked civil towards one another. There was even an occasional smile.

Svetlana started, "Jonathan, while there are many things we could say about your indecision, we both admit you have good taste." They both laughed at the self-congratulatory remark. She went on with a smile, fortunately, "Ultimately, you will need to make up your mind, so we have a proposition for you."

Elena then spoke: "Writing and e-mails and sending photographs are not adequate to get to know someone at a really deep level. We all seem to agree on this point." She looked at Svetlana, who nodded her agreement. "Thus, we propose to live with you – if that's all right with you – and over the coming days or weeks we expect you will find one or the other of us a favorite and be able to make a decision. When you decide, one of us will leave. We will part friends, but with perhaps some major disappointment."

I nodded my comprehension of their proposal, trying to weigh the pros and cons. Compared to the alternative of them both walking away in anger, it seemed a good idea. I felt I could get to know the two of them over a week or so and then make a decision.

Svetlana picked up the conversation, "We have a few things to work out. Where we sleep, how we each contribute to the life in this unusual situation." She paused and added, "However, right now, I am so tired from traveling I need some sleep so I can think straight. I couldn't sleep on the plane – the excitement of coming here and all. We'll talk more later – or tomorrow. If it is all right with you two, I shall claim the pink bedroom for now." She looked to Elena for disagreement, but finding none she stood, claimed her huge suitcase, and lugged the valise into the nearest bedroom and shut the door.

Elena and I watched her depart. She said, "She looks very tired; I slept on the plane." She surveyed the hors d'oeuvres, and said with a smile, "I need some real nourishment. Do you have anything worth eating here – besides the cheese and crackers?" She stood and headed to my kitchen. I followed, suddenly aware of my terrible eating habits.

A half hour later a pizza was delivered to my door. Elena and I ate on the back patio watching a breath taking Florida sunset over the lake and the fairway for the fourteenth hole. We talked, amidst my bemoaning the terrible situation I had created for her and Svetlana. She told me to relax and live in the present – to just accept the new situation and live life from this point forward. As the minutes ticked by, I relaxed more and more from the tension I carried.

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