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English / 07.06.2019 / 1511

Why Do You Need a Relationship?

Iliy Kvatsashvili, author from the Dark Side of Business

As any person in their right mind, many years ago I would have found the question ridiculous. What do you mean, “Why?” Isn’t it obvious? It's love, it's family, that’s just how it goes, it’s human nature, what am I, some kind of loner… bottom line: I had a lot of answers to such a silly question.

The thought that relationships were for collaboration on work or art I abandoned almost immediately. In such arrangements I couldn’t live or work

And I, clever and handsome as I was at seventeen, brought my girlfriend home and said, “She lives us now.” As you understand, the basis, cause, and goal of any relationship at seventeen is sex. What else can a young guy have on his mind? I could have lots of things on my mind. After sex, that is.

After a while, my blue balls reclaimed their pinkish tone, and I could make a sober assessment of the relationship I now found myself in. I realized that what I’d found for myself was a basically a doll. I could play with her as I pleased, but even on the best of days she would only parrot what I said to her. And I knew better than to listen to the way she mutilated my thoughts. Basically, as the great Arkady Raikin used to say, “When someone listens to you with their mouth open, it’s nice… for the first two days!” I lasted half a year.

At eighteen I realized I needed more than sex from a relationship. After all, I liked talking, too, preferably to someone who reads books, like I do. If she understands what she reads, that’s just great. And if what she reads inspires her to think for herself… That could give me an orgasm even without sex. That’s how I met my second common-law wife.

A relationship based on communication, common interests, and, of course, sex (can’t forget about sex), turned out to be much more fulfilling. I savored every second of it. My favorite memory was getting home from work or university and spending evenings lying in bed reading books. She would sit, leaning on a pillow, and I would put my head on her stomach. We would lie together like that, reading our books. I’d have something like Stanisław Lem’s Futurological Congress, she preferred Zelazny or Lukyanenko. From time to time we’d explain the premises to each other or read aloud funny moments. From time to time I’d complain about her resting the book on my forehead, and she’d grunt that I was squishing her stomach or squeezing her bladder.

But there were some scandals in this “alliance”, which at times overshadowed the good days. What can you do, the girl was smart, and I was no fool. Out of nowhere we would have Montague and Capulet-style feuds. And these conflicts weren't always intellectual in nature. Here is an example. It is late in the evening. I am sitting at my PC writing my course work. My girlfriend is behind me on the couch, reading something about journalism. My phone lights up as two SMS’s flash on the screen one after another. Seeing that it’s just some spam from the service provider, I delete the messages and get back to work, annoyed. Thirteen seconds later I hear a voice behind me, filled with false carelessness:

“Who was that?”

I answer truthfully:

“AT&T.”

“Let me read it…”

“I’ve deleted it already…”

“A-ha!”

And that’s it, next comes a scandal that lasts well into the night, with detailed accounts of every girl that ever hit on me who I didn’t give the cold shoulder to in the rudest and loudest way possible. Really, the reasons we fought didn’t matter, we’d use any pretext. In the morning we would make up just as passionately, ripping many a bed sheet.

Half a year went by like that.

This time we separated by mutual agreement, as they say. The girl was clever, she always tried to fight me for power. Had she been wise, she would have married me.

After going through all these stories I decided that the most important thing in a relationship was being accepted the way you are. I wanted to feel a willingness to develop together, not a desire to look for a new partner. My next couple relationships dissolved this illusion, too. I had several girlfriends that were ready to accept me whatever I was like, as long as we got married. You’d think that would be enough for me. But in these relationships there were two negative points I could never put up with. First of all, if they were ready to accept me no matter what I did, I stopped liking myself. In these moments I started seeing myself as a monkey with a hand grenade, which wasn’t a pleasant feeling. Secondly, these girls didn’t really want me, they wanted marriage. I was merely acceptable for the role.

The thought that relationships were for collaboration on work or art I abandoned almost immediately. In such arrangements I couldn’t live or work.

By twenty, I’d lived a fairly rich life, both in terms of events and thoughts. I could relax and concentrate on my life, my career, and my interests. To avoid making the wrong impression, I’ll point out: I didn’t give up on relationships; I didn’t become bitter or desperate. I just stopped thinking about them...



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His fingers were freezing from the cold. Gauntlets over the gloves, winter boots… None of this protected him from the harsh wind. The arctic ocean is nearby. Is that where the wind is blowing from?

— Brasileiro, why did you get distracted? Hook it up... — commanded the crew chief. He was making sure that the workers were quick at hanging the fish to dry.

Brasileiro looked at the cod with hatred. Cod, cod, cod... Those who never lived in northern Europe would not understand the significance of this fish. It would be shocking to find out that in the second half of the 20th century, there were three times when Iceland was ready to start a war with England over codfish.

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Leonardo’s Notes

“The problem is, Nikolai, that you never finish anything you start. You don’t even have a degree,” my girlfriend scolded me. We were on the subway.
She had just received some money to make a website, where she would eventually put up some boring local news. The site had dramatically less subscribers than even her Facebook page. In a couple years, the project went bankrupt. But she never lost her faith in the magical formula:

“You need closure. Every beginning has an end…”

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...And the complaints started coming in from all over the Internet. We heard a quacking from the Facebook swamp:

— And my mum used to tell me: haven't you eaten too much? My mum's toxic!

"Toxes will never admit their mistakes!" the second frog answered her...

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The Teacher's Label

A fat writer Dima Bykov in poor health with his head held high has distinguished himself. He has decided to rank in descending order the passed away colleagues. Some of them has been ranked first, others take second and even third places. Sergei Dovlatov has been taken down a peg next to his classmates. The teacher Bykov gave him a satisfactory grade. He even didn’t hide that he wanted to give him a poor grade.

Dima Bykov has unleashed a war on social media by his ranking. Somebody noticed that the teacher is not good even at his own domain. Someone replied that he have been aware of Dovlatov’s bad marks... I was astonished by the desire to make value judgements about literature and even the literary characters. This approach reeks of the judgments of school teachers. It's not the most pleasant aroma...

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