Playlist song suggestion: Midnight Rain by Taylor Swift
It has been a month since being married to Terry and I felt more like a roommate than a wife.
Our marriage, if you could call it that, was rather mundane. It was a monotonous never-ending routine that consisted of waking up early, Terry doing school prep work for the day, while I showered and got dressed. He would then make our lunches, (Yes he made our lunches because apparently I didn’t know how to make them and I also learned that peanut butter sandwiches weren’t considered lunch) Once he was done, I would pack them while preparing our tea and breakfast while he got ready for work. We would eat breakfast, clean up, he would drive us to our respective workplaces and pick me up after school, and drive us back home where the next dreadful routine would begin...
He would shower, get dressed and disappear to the pub while I stayed home, made supper, and did my work for the next day.
Shira would come to see me while he was out and leave before he returned.
He was always drunk when he returned, his speech muddled, and his feet dragged under his weight as he made his way to our room. He’d shower, dress, eat supper with me, and watch tv then we would go to bed, have sex, and then go to sleep before rising the next day to begin the maddening cycle again...
I would have been at my wit’s end if it wasn’t for my job. I was thankful every day for the chaos that it immersed me in. It liberated me from the lustreless fictitious marriage that I blamed myself for daily.
Another thing that salvaged me from my endless misery was my sister, and my three friends, Helen, Joy, and Tina.
Joy and I didn’t intend to become friends, we pushed together because we taught the same subjects and similar age groups. We were also the form teachers for the two 6th-grade classes, so working together was unavoidable.
Thankfully we had a lot in common. We bonded over our shared passion for teaching, reading, history, and the fact we were both newlyweds trying to navigate through this unknown phase in our lives.
Unlike my roommate marriage, Joy’s marriage was a real one.
She spoke at length about her husband, Shaun, who she depicted as the perfect man. He was home every night, cooked sometimes, and smothered her with his time.
I didn’t volunteer information about my marriage but when someone asked I always answered rather vaguely because in truth there was nothing to tell.
Joy introduced me to her best friend Tina a few weeks later.
Tina was like a nuclear bomb... and I am not sure if I meant that as a compliment...
She was an extrovert and the total opposite of the soft-spoken, motherly Joy. It was amusing watching them bicker because Tina was extremely dramatic, crude, a gossip, easily offended, and always playing coy, especially with the male staff.
Things were never just straightforward with her, there was always some booby trap leaking just around the corner.
You ALWAYS had to be careful around her... Always on guard...
but then... there was our white rose... Our Helen...
Helen is by far the most beautiful human being I have ever encountered not just physically but mentally.
She was a bewitching sight to behold with her platinum blonde hair, caramel-skinned, bright blue eyes, rosy pink medium lips, and tall slim frame which didn’t take away from her high intellect, kindness, and sweet disposition.
What was even more intriguing was her lineage ... She was Russian... technically British and Russian...
… but that wasn’t the intriguing part... According to Tina (our local gossip source) … The kicker, as Tina put it, was the fact that Helen was actually half Indian…
Her mum was a British-born Indian woman, a doctor to be precise, and her dad was Russian-born but moved to Britain when he was young.
Tina also dug up her previous employment history... Apparently, She transferred from some prestigious Russian school to teach here.
Tina, as usual, had a different theory. She suspected Helen was in some kind of elite Russian group and was hiding out.
Her theory amused me and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing at her overactive imagination.
“Hiding out? from what?...” I chuckled taking a generous bite of my sandwich. ” I don’t know... But you can never be too careful...Maybe she’s a Russian spy.” Tina says dropping her voice and eyeing everyone around us suspiciously.
I couldn’t help shaking my head at her behavior before offering her a reasonable explanation. “Tina, She’s a Teacher... She’s here to teach... She’s not some Russian Spy...” I drag out meeting her gaze “What about the Soviets?“Tina whisper yells looking over her shoulder which in itself showed how ludicrous she was behaving considering the only thing behind her was a solid brick wall. “You being ridiculous.” I couldn’t help but say finishing my lunch as Tina stood up and pinned me with a hard gaze “if Russians were so good why are they always villains in movies? Ever thought about that.” She says and walks out of the room.
Unfortunately, that stuck in my mind as it ventured to all the stereotypical names and images depicted in history and movies... but it was Tina’s ignorant behavior that compelled me to extend a hand of friendship the very next day.
I remember how cautiously I walked over to the elegant creature, during our free period. I watched as she worked from multiple books, scribbling down notes for her next lesson.
I almost chickened out as she dragged her eyes from her work to stare up at me with those wonderous, unnerving sky-blue eyes.
I attempted to sound and look prim and proper when I asked her to join my group for lunch while trying to hide my sadness, loneliness, and insecurities.
She wasn’t hesitant when she agreed, slowly nibbling her plump lower pink lip and quickly diverting her attention back to her work after I scurried away.
At Lunch, she cautiously approached, greeting Joy and Tina before lowering herself next to me. I sent her a friendly smile which she returned before we turned our attention back to the conversation at the table.
I was quiet as Tina talked about her son Lushen, Lut, and the vacation she was planning to take him on because of her recent divorce, from and I quote “the deadweight.”
It was only then Helen spoke, surprising us, as she gave Tina tips on where she had been and where Tina should go. She also recommended what should she eat, and places she should stay.
I was in awe at all the places she had been and asked her question after question about some of them which she readily answered.
Everything flowed quite easily since then and she became part of our little circle and my close friend.
I quickly learned during our free time, away from Tina’s prying ears I learned so much more about Helen.
She talked at length about her grandmother and grandfather that became Her and her old brother’s guardians after Both her parents died in a plane crash.
She confessed that she didn’t remember them because they died when she was just 3, but her life was still full. I asked if she missed them and she instantly shook her head “No, My grandparents are my Parents... and my brother is my protector, my go-to, my best friend... We are a small little group but it’s filled with love.”
Next, I asked about the mysterious transfer and she laughed loudly at the rumors before shaking her head. “I moved to be closer to my brother Ivan. He has two engineering companies here that specialized in harbor repairs and quick-turn equipment solutions. He also owns multiple tug boats in various ports around the country that brought ships into and out of the harbor. His team also repairs some of them.” She explained as my brain concluded He was exceptionally wealthy which she confirmed later on in our conversation.
We talked a great deal about Ivan and admitted that she was alone now because he had to head back to Russia to attend to his other engineering operations and their grandparents. “Ivan puts family above everything else...” She said with a soft smile before she turned sad adding “It’s a shame he can never have his own family...”
Intrigued by that I couldn’t help but ask what she meant. She sighed softly give me a brief history of how her family came to be.
“My brother and I were both born in London, but Father was technically Not. Sure it says he was but we later found out he was born in Russia and he didn’t carry his Biologicals father’s name. My father’s biological father was a military man, a real asshole who thought that bestowing all his money and property to My gran and dad would make up for the years of abuse he put them through.” Helen explains. I soak up the information chewing thoughtfully on my lower lip as I ask my next question “So what did your gran do?” I ask...
A soft sigh left her lips as she sat back, reciting past events as she was told.
“According to Anna... She wanted revenge, and In order to do that she made my father prove he was my grandfather’s child and provide all the necessary information and take up his biological father’s surname.” Helen explains making me frown. “Borisyuk?” I attempt causing her to giggle and shake her head “No that’s papa’s surname. Our actual surname is Volkov. Ivan said Dad refused to let us change our surnames to Volkov. He said we were Borisyuk through and through. Anyway, that’s not important, what’s important is why Ivan can’t have children.” She says waving the topic off and going back to the topic we were talking about.
“When Ivan was 8, he was sent to a private boarding school. Everything seemed fine until we discovered it wasn’t... Ivan was bullied not because he was mixed race but because he had a very Russian surname. The boys were merciless, Arya and our parents and grandparents weren’t even aware of it until he was 13. My parents were called to the hospital because He was badly beaten and because he beat up his attackers. He healed up and our parents and Grandparents sent him to an International school. After our parents died, we relocated to Moscow and rebuilt ourselves. Everything was fine until Ivan became engaged to satan’s spawn and they were trying to get pregnant he discovered the true severity of his injuries, He was sterile. I remember how heartbroken he was Arya. He always wanted a family but he could never have one of his own and the bitch didn’t even stick around. She went off, Ivan closed off, and having a family has never been spoken about again... The worse part is he won’t even try...”