Marriage

from “Cynics”
by Anatoly Mariengof (1928)

( Photo by Naoko )

1918

“Olga, will you marry me?”
“This is very opportune, Vladimir. I discovered this morning that we shall not have steam heat in our house all winter. Without this proposal, I am sure I would have turned into an icicle by December. Can you imagine sleeping alone in this huge bed? It is big enough to play hockey on.”
“And so?…”
“I accept.”…

Olga lifted heavy eyelids sprinkled with fatigue, stretched herself, and turned to me with a sigh.
“Terrible, terrible, terrible! Here I was all along convinced that I was marrying for convenience, and now it turns out that I married for love. Why, my dear, you are like a splinter, and in December you won’t be competent to warm the bed at all!”…

My books and I, protected by an authorization from the Commissariat of the People’s Education, moved into Olga’s home.
As for my furniture, it did not move with us, for the Tenants’ Committee, in the interests of my spiritual war against my bourgeois prejudices, forbade me to take the bed, the writing table, or the chairs.
I had a serious talk with the chairman of the committee.
“Well,” I said, “I won’t argue about the writing table. It is obviously a luxury. After all, the Critique of Pure Reason could have been written on a window-sill. But the bed now – I must sleep on something.”
“Where are you moving?”
“To my wife’s.”
“Surely she has a bed?”
“Yes.”
“Well, sleep on it with her.”
“Pardon, comrade, but I have long legs; I snore; I sweat after drinking tea; and on the whole I would rather sleep apart.”
“How are you married – for love or by registration?”
“We registered at the commissariat.”
“In that case, citizen, the laws of the revolution provide that you must both sleep in the same bed.”

THE END.

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