Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Russian Bride

I went to a party on the 31st of May and I am still in shock.

Not because the party went off like something you read about in the papers and tut tut when they talk about it on the radio.

The party was for a friend's birthday and she decided to have a 1950s theme so we all turned up dressed appropriately, faces and hair gussied up, made cocktails, ate edible versions of tragic 1950s party nibbles and enjoyed some period appropriate music until everyone got drunk enough to put on Amon Amarth, Puscifer, Tool and Korpiklaani.

The thing that shocked me is that one of her friends who had casually mentioned he'd be bringing a guest, turned up with a lovely young girl who essentially seems to be a Russian mail order bride.

He had told literally no-one that she existed.

He hadn't said he'd met anyone online, that someone was moving in with him or that he had suddenly turned into the kind of guy who tells his friends that his girlfriend* isn't allowed to drink because he's told her she's driving...

He's closer to 40 than not, she looks like she's around 20 and speaks English with hesitation.

She didn't seem cowed or shy exactly but she wasn't actively engaging in conversation, rather responding when asked and content to stand around and observe otherwise.

He didn't hover over her like a hawk all night but him swanning off to talk to other people and leaving THE GIRL NOBODY KNEW EXISTED who doesn't speak very good English with a bunch of loud, tipsy strangers isn't much better behaviour.

I had actually seen him down the supermarket with her once a couple of months before, said G'day in passing, gotten a Hello back from him and a smile from her and wandered on thinking 'I guess he's got a girlfriend?'
If it hadn't have been for that encounter absolutely nobody would have any idea how long she'd been in the country.
And that's just when I saw her.
For all we know she's been here since his last visit to Russia** and he just hasn't seen fit to mention it.
The last visit to Russia that we know about was late last year, in case you were wondering.
What if she's been here this whole time?
Just... sitting about his house...

The thing is he's always been shit at sharing news.
You find out he's due to have knee surgery a week or two before it happens because he makes a throw away comment about taking time off work.
You find out he's going overseas because he says something about a VISA.
But moving a human being from one country to another and possibly having to sponsor them legally?
And moving them to a shitty country town with nothing going on, and not introducing them to your friends*** so she possibly has no social circle?

The friend whose party it was thinks he said she's over here teaching Russian but I don't know where or to whom or even if this is an accurate recollection as the problem with 1950s cocktails is that the party started at 6pm and everyone was stinko by 8:30pm.
Luckily they slowed down, eased off to lighter mix drinks and didn't wreck themselves but there were a lot of lapsed memories that evening.

It is a very weird situation to find yourself in.

He was acting as if nothing was wrong but getting a bit stubborn if anyone asked him why he wouldn't let her drink.
Her English is functional but not very complex and if he's the only person she knows, she mightn't be willing to risk getting him offside if we start asking her if she's OK or happy.

Maybe they're having a perfectly good time together, it's hard to say, but the situation seems creepy.

So I guess now we know she exists we'll have to try and work out what the hell is going on, who she is to him and make sure he's treating her right.

I can imagine wanting to start a life in a new country and being willing to shack up with somebody to make it happen but moving to a small town in central Victoria and spending most of your time in the house of a man who barely talks doesn't seem like a great reward for your bravery.
Better than actual abuse - which we don't think is going on - but yeah, not the cream of the crop of promised lands.

He's always been a bit NQR in some social situations but even people who have known him since high school are stunned.

And so now we're questioning everything we know about him.

So now that we know those who know him best are going to try and get the two of them to come to more days/nights out, get to know her better and ask him what precisely the deal is before we all die of curiosity or start stalking them around the place to make sure she's OK.

Because she's a total sweetie and we would throw him over in an instant if we thought he was treating her badly.

*We assume, for all we know they're married...

**He's been two or three times and had never really said much about the trips even when pressed and now we're worried we know why.

***Or family? We have no idea if he's told his family...

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