10:10:2002 The day my life changed forever.
It was during my early teens when I watched a terrible B grade movie with a plot line of absolutely no consequence, but it involved a conflict along a remote part of the Russian-Chinese border. What I remember most about this movie was the leader of the Soviet army who was, in the interests of my viewing pleasure, a long-legged blonde looking incredibly hot in Russian army fatigues and an army issue cap. Apart from her striking beauty, what struck me most about this woman was her confidence, courage and strength. Commanding an army of battle hardened men in this remote and inhospitable part of the globe with tanks and everything military took a strength of character which took my breath away.
The image of this woman has remained somewhere in my subconscious because I have always felt a gravitational pull originating somewhere deep within the Russian Federation.
In the very first moment of meeting Olga I felt all the boxes were being ticked. She was obviously an outgoing girl with plenty of spirit and charisma, and behind her radiant smile which shone like the sun and her mesmerising sparkling eyes; I sensed a confidence and energy that linked all the way back to the leggy commandant. I was eager to experience more.
I suggested coffee and was immediately offered the name of a café on a higher floor in return. We entered the nearby lift and feeling compelled to engage in small talk I explained pointlessly to Olga that I was from Australia not Austria. Having totally underestimated her intelligence she reassured me that she was already aware of that and I was thankful the lift had arrived at the desired level so that walking the short distance to the café would alleviate the potential for further verbal blunders.
Once seated and our order given we embarked on the most joyous and exhilarating journey of learning about each other. The conversation flowed freely, punctuated by much laughter and banter.
Coffee was over all too soon, so we both agreed on dinner to extend the conversation. Olga explained to me how she had ended up on the website only registering at the weekend which explained why I had only seen her in Helsinki. She told me about her conversation with Lena earlier in the day and her initial reservation over my age. Her upper limit, she omitted, was 40 but Lena had consoled her by mentioning that I didn’t look my age. I laughed, knowing that I also had reservations concerning her age being less than 30.
As dinner progressed I became totally captivated by Olga’s presence. Her entrancing eyes held me spellbound and her mannerisms and gesture were pure theatre.
After dinner Olga invited me to join her for a walk along the Mokhovaya Ulitsa to see the Bolshoi Theatre. We emerged from the warmth of the underground shopping complex into the cold night air. My light jacket proved totally inadequate and I shivered violently with an envious eye on Olga’s fur. Once we were walking I warmed sufficiently to enjoy our activity and found considerable mirth in a joke she described to me regarding a Lada reaching the top of a mountain. “A miracle” was the punch line and I was drawn even closer to her with this delightful display of unabashed behaviour.
After witnessing the iconic neoclassical facade of the Theatre, softly aglow with lights, we returned to the Kremlin and strolled across the vast cobblestone expanse of Red Square making our way towards the splendidly coloured “onion” domes of Saint Basil’s Cathedral looking remarkably like something out of a children’s picture book.
Then we headed down towards the Moscow River and stood upon the Bol’shoy Moskvoretskiy Most, looking down at the black surface flowing sluggishly beneath us. A cold breeze came up the river which provided the excuse to stand near to each other in the darkness, punctuated only by faint streetlights straddling the bridge and the reddish glow from the vast expanse of Kremlin walls.
Suddenly Olga’s cell phone rang and she held a brief conversation with someone in Russian. She returned the phone to her pocket and laughed. It was Lena, from the agency, calling to check how the evening had expired. Lena it seemed was quite shocked to learn that we were still together that late in the evening.
The phone call served as a catalyst to bring the evening to a close and Olga offered to escort me back to a metro station. Particularly upon hearing of my underground adventures throughout the day she selected the station carefully taking me into Ploshchad’ Revolyutsii which was on my line and would lead me back to my hotel without incident.
Standing on the platform she suggested I call her apartment once I was in my room to confirm that I had returned safely. I accepted her offer of goodwill and noted her number carefully. We bid our farewells and I boarded the train. As I moved away I looked back at Olga standing alone on the platform. She leant back against a wall and I could tell by the expression on her face that the day would be one that would change my life forever.