Maryna, the woman for whom there can never be enough jewelry, enough clothing, delights in giving it away. Dark haired, dark eyed, her English gets better every year, while my Ukrainian remains limited to asking for the ashtray and mistakenly calling men “machines”.
A bottle of wine into the evening, we find ourselves in her closet.
So far, measured against the four pair of earrings I have brought her, I am up five pair of earrings, three rings, and two necklaces.
And holy Hannah, now we’re in her closet.
“Seriously,” I say, “you don’t have to give me clothing.”
She dismisses my concerns with an elegant wave of a small, white hand. “Try,” she says. She holds out a long, form-fitting dress.
“Hmm,” I say. “I don’t really feel like –“
“Do,” she says. “Please.”
“I have stitches on my back,” I say, a smallish whine creeping in. “I mean, there’s a bandage, but –“
Maryna is not interested in excuses as to why my modest, Minnesota self is reluctant to get undressed in front of this slender, sophisticated woman.
“Come, come,” she says. I pull my shirt off, and she pulls the dress up, pulls it over my head.
I hold my arms up like a child.
We pull the dress down over my hips.
She steps back, evaluates what she see, then shakes her head. “No,” she says. “Pants down.”
I laugh, just a little drunkenly.
“No, no, no,” she says. “Look een mirror. The lines. You see? Ees no good, like this. You take pants down, we see dress and your beautiful shape.” She pats my ass appreciatively. “I weesh I had.”
“And I,” I say, lifting my wine glass from her night stand, “would be pleased to take some of your bust.”
But Maryna will not be swayed by flattery. “Pants down!”
What am I to do?
When a beautiful woman demands that pants are removed, one does what one must.
Particularly when there are free dresses involved.
Maryna’s daughter, all five years of her, nods solemnly from the bed, then returns to her iPad, where animated pastel creatures gambol about in an hypnotic fashion.
Fifteen minutes later, I am up three dresses.
“Beautiful,” she says. She grins at me. “You like Turkish/Ukrainian coffee?”
I ponder this. “I don’t know,” I admit.
“I make,” she says. “Maybe you like, maybe not.”
“Maybe you give me the recipe,” I say.
She smiles, and I am reminded of a small, dark-haired cat. “Maybe,” she says, eyes shining, “maybe not.”
Come back tomorrow, where we learn about Turkish coffee!