Monday, 28 May 2012

Chapter 41: Five Days to Love - Day Three


At precisely 9am I stood in front of the leafy, secured grounds of the Russian Embassy located on Tehtaankatu. A large wrought iron gate was opened by a sullen looking official and I was soon inside a drab, sparsely furnished room with teller booths at one end. The atmosphere was sombre and the small group of people who accompanied me through the gates were soon absorbed with their respective business. I found a bunch of bilingual (Russian/English) visa application forms on a small table and I soon busied myself responding to the form’s requests. Then I quickly joined the small queue quietly shuffling towards a bored looking young girl behind the glass partition.

With all my documents present and correct I was soon back out on the street after being dutifully notified that my passport would be available for collection just before lunch.

After lunch found me with an impressive, full page, gold coloured Russian visa added to the interior of my passport. Feeling somewhat elated at this accomplishment I decided to treat myself with an afternoon in Estonia. Catching one of the numerous ferries plying the Gulf of Finland I was soon wandering the exquisite and enchanted streets of “old town” Tallinn.

It was cold and dark by the time returned to my Helsinki hotel, late in the evening. The excitement of the morning passage through to Moscow was beginning to rise within me; the apprehension - the invigorating unknown. I was drawn to the computer in the hotel’s foyer to revisit to re-familiarise myself with the ladies who I hoped to meet in the coming days. I searched through the pages of photos and checked off the half dozen or so girls which I had on my list. They all remained present on the site. They all remained inviting. Already, I felt that I was forging some sort of bond with these meticulously presented faces peering out at me from the computer screen. The girls appeared connected to me on an intangible level which seemed intimate and personal as though they were waiting for me - and for me only. The virtual illusion was, without doubt, encompassing me and empowering me and I resisted little.

It was then I noticed another face; a new face which I had not seen previously. Her name was Olga and her pretty, smiling face with gloriously sparkling eyes stole my attention. Having explored this web site in Iraq to the point of unquestionable familiarity I was able to ascertain with a high degree of confidence that she was a recent addition. She somehow appeared distinct from all the other girls and her energy reached out to me. Her photos were adventurous, exotic and charming. I opened her profile page and read further.

By this stage I had in my mind a clear indication of what I was seeking. Even though I was expecting my liaisons to be short and transient I still sought particular qualities and attributes. They were derived from the necessity of protecting my own wellbeing and to enhance the quality of the engagement.

It was important that any lady I met spoke English fluently without the need for a translator. I wanted a free and uninhibited exchange of dialogue throughout any interaction. I could not understand how a relationship on any level could develop without this. I also considered this attribute important to assist me identify any potential “danger” directed to my person considering I had absolutely no knowledge of the Russian language whatsoever.

I sought a university graduate employed by a western company. This I figured would reduce the cultural divide and contribute to a more meaningful exchange of thoughts and ideas. Also I wanted to meet a woman without children to align with my own self-centred lifestyle. Although at the time I was not considering a long term relationship I was sure my subconscious was paving the way towards the future regardless of my immediate intention.

Olga’s profile checked all these boxes. I continued with renewed interest. I read about Olga’s social life - an extraverted, intense and entertaining life full of friends a fun. Something in my mind sensed an anomaly. I wondered how a union with my own almost introverted lifestyle would work.

There was also the question of age. To keep any form of liaison “real” and more secure my lower limit on age was set at 30, Olga was 28. Conversely she was looking for someone up to 40. I was 43.

I exited her profile page and studied her profile photo locked in thought. Olga looked stunning - she had presence; she had style; she had charisma. My hand held the pen poised over the next empty line at the bottom of my list. Finally, I put the pen down on the table. I decided to exclude Olga from my list and with a little less certainty I returned my attention back to the other ladies.

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