Attachments-1

rotes_zimmer

Our attachments is the source of our problems. You are attached when you think your life would be impossible without what you are crazy about.
Ten years ago, I was standing in the long line behind the doors of British embassy in Moscow with supreme trepidation and wish to see London where I had never been. My attachment was Anglo mania and sincere belief in superiority of universe with epithet British over universe with epithet Russian including advantages of English breakfast tea over Russian tea.
I was accompanied by middle-aged gentleman – my pen-fiend from Eastbourne, who entertained ideas about Russian women approachability and hoped to bring me to UK, he was bold and shaking – not because of anxiety, but because of being ruined by diabetes and two heart transplant operations he had come through.
I had not passed embassy interview, because could not give direct answer to the question of stern looking English woman separated from me by glass as in prison or zoo, how many times I executed sexual acts with my English friend. I flushed painfully, and in this fire, my Anglo mania was burned. I destroyed books of my favorite English authors and threw pages down from balcony at the heads of Moscovites.
My second strongest attachment was Graz. I fell in love with this town in summer of 2001, when being ready to immigrate to Sweden, suddenly got invitation from one quite decent St.Peter engineer.
To love somebody means to recognize in him (her) yourself. The specific atmosphere of Graz, nuances of light reminded me of place were I was born. The breath of town, its provincial charm and coziness of its street cafes made my heart ache. I found myself to be fond of local prime articles such as pumpkin oil, elegant park lamps and national trousers, which accentuated intimate outlines of native men torsos.
But light always transits in shadow. In spite of political triumph of KPÖ (the reds) in 2003 in region, general official attitude toward foreigners stayed conservative. Even within circle of KPÖ supporters – mostly ordinary uneducated people – one could easily sense disapproval of those speaking other language. They saw in foreigners intruders who arrived in Stieremark to consume goodies.
No work, no right to work and no single euro of social benefits. After every pleading visit to Immigration office (Landesregierung) and Social help office (Sozialamt) I was ill and laying in mansard was rereading Adolf Hitler autobiography.
One fact puzzled me. Graz was known as town of numerous nightclubs and brothels.
It seemed those who were responsible for local regulations and laws kept in mind quantity and disposition of places where foreign women in need could find temporary financial consolation. May be they kept in mind those places simply because they paid occasional visits there?

Galina Toktalieva

Kyrgyzstan-born author residing in Graz, Austria

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