Why I Am A Cold Hearted Bitch
I was 22 and working at my first job, in a small Russian town where I knew no one. My boyfriend (now known to my readers as Mr. Goldie) was still in school, seven hundred miles away. The living conditions were particularly exhausting. I couldn't find a place to rent. The company provided a bed in a five-story building, in a room with two other girls. One of the girls was okay; I wasn't on speaking terms with the other. Each of the floors two through five had forty rooms, a hallway, two bathrooms, two kitchens, a washing area with sinks lining the walls. We used the sinks to wash our hair, brush our teeth, and do our laundry. Our resident alcoholics were frequently seen peeing in them. On the first floor we had the showers, open for our convenience from 6AM till midnight, mysteriously closed all day Tuesday. A large number of young families lived in the building; crowds of screaming kids roamed the hallways, giving us headaches and keeping the resident babies awake. I was pretty darn miserable. I missed my boyfriend. Every guy in town was hitting on me but I couldn't cheat. We had agreed to get married as soon as he finished school.
He was 19, a lanky, bespectacled, geeky-looking kid with moldy teeth that he never seemed to brush. In a town with ten research institutes, he didn't stand out as incredibly bright, compared to other guys I knew, but he was okay to hang out with. He worked with me in our company’s IT department and his parents were fairly high-ranking execs at the same company. I don't remember for the life of me what it was I said or did that set off his raging, intense crush on me. Life was boring; work was slow; Dima (as will be his name for the duration of this story) was incredibly obvious; so pretty soon we both became the talk of the town.
I tried to let him down gently, but I didn't know how. I was a late bloomer and had not started dating until 17. Before Mr. Goldie, I'd had a bunch of short-lived affairs that I inevitably ended. At 22, I was good at dumping guys, but not at comforting a lovestruck nineteen-year-old without further leading him on. This went on for a couple of years. I don't remember much of it now, except a few funny stories, like for example the first time Mr. Goldie came to visit on his winter break. I could not get any work done that day, hovering by the phone, waiting for that call. The only person more excited than myself was Dima. I swear he stopped by my desk every five minutes.
"Has he called?"
"Has he called yet?"
"So has he called or not?"
"What, he still hasn't called?" - the happy Dima asked me after lunch. - "Maybe he's not coming!" - and a shit-eating grin brightened his face.
I told Dima to get lost, promising I'd beat the crap out of him if he didn't, thus saving him the humiliation when Mr. Goldie did call five minutes later.
Before our department's annual holiday party, the guys from my group pulled me aside. They were in their early 30s, married with kids, and treated me like their little sister. It felt nice being protected.
"OK, we have a plan, you don't need to worry about Dima at all," the guys explained. "We're going to sit next to him and make sure he's drunk. We're not gonna stop till he's out cold. You can count on us."
As it turned out, you cannot outdrink a teenager, even a geeky one, when you're an aging, 33-year-old family man. I was enjoying myself at the party, when I suddenly found Dima in front of me staring in my face.
"Lllletsss dddate?" he proposed.
I looked around for my protectors. They had all passed out. Out of the IT crowd, about fifty people were still mulling about; most of them worked on other floors and I hadn't seen them before in my life.
"I'd love to, Dima, but you know I can't, I have a boyfriend."
"Bull (hiccup) shhit. I will see you chasing after me yet, Goldie," announced Dima, suddenly loud and clear. Fifty people turned around to see who'd be chasing after Dima. Damn you, instant fame.
Call me a cold hearted bitch, but that shit is funny.
Next day, nobody in our group did any work. My fellow programmers gathered round to assess the situation.
I suddenly found everyone feeling sorry for Dima, and staring at me accusingly.
"How come you're all sorry for Dima? How come no one is sorry for me?" I asked them.
A coworker thundered, "When you are on your knees begging someone for love, that's the day we'll feel sorry for you!" That was supposed to shame me.
Instead, it pissed me off.
In my opinion, Dima had it easy. At the end of his shift, he was going to go to his parents' nice, cozy apartment where he had a room of his own that he didn't have to share with a bitchy, catty roommate. A room of his own that he could enter and then close the door, lay down on his comfy bed, and jack off to his little heart's content, thinking of me. And when he was done, he could go take a shower, even if it was on a Tuesday, and take it alone, with no preteen girls standing around staring open-mouthed at his privates. Heck, he could even take a nice hot bath if he wanted to. Last time I'd taken a real, lie-down bath was on my birthday, when a coworker invited me to her place to sleep over. Unlike me, Dima had his own place, with his mom and dad taking care of him. His only problem, that fucking crush, was all in his head. He was the one who had cultivated it in there, and he could put an end to it as soon as he decided to. Whereas getting out of my situation was not as easy.
Such were the thoughts that ran in my 22-year-old, maximalist mind. In retrospect, I should not have thought those thoughts, cuz karma is a bitch. But more on that later.
Back to Dima. By the time Mr. Goldie moved in with me, Dima was completely over his crush, to the point where he'd come over, drink with Mr. Goldie, and play with the young LilProgrammer. Eventually he met someone, got married, had a kid, and, in a twist of irony, asked us to give him our baby crib when we left for America. So basically our children grew up in the same crib, which was kind of what Dima had initially wanted, though not one hundred percent the same thing. But hey, you can't have it all. From what I hear, he's still happily married, has a nice career and has gained some serious weight.
When my kids were little, I used to tell them a story about a guy who had a crush on me, but whom I had to turn down, because he never brushed his teeth. The story worked especially well on ChinchillaBoy, who now brushes his teeth three times a day.
To be continued...