Dance With Me My Siberian Moon
The breath of spring was upon the grand state of Russia and the lilacs were on the brink of blooming in the garden outside of Irina's balcony. She felt the sun's warmth through the window upon her wrist as she was writing another masterpiece, sitting at her favorite view facing the Volga River and the town outside her father's compound, Samara, in the distance. She stopped writing with her fountain pen and gazed through the window. All she saw was the bright blue sky and the forests surrounding the compound and the long break within the sylvan carpet that was bright blue with that speck of the city in the middle. She sighed in awe of the beauty of the moment. She continued writing with a smile on her face, until her pen started to give her trouble. Irina did what any frustrated artist would do when their instrument is malfunctioning; she shook it, and ink went all over her page, her desk, and her brand new dress.
She grabbed a towel from her nearby basin where she washed her face every morning and sopped up the ink on her paper and desk before she worried about her clothing. The poem was saved minus the half of the last line, and the tan paper had an obvious light blue tint toward it at the end. She sighed sadly and finished her sentence, but the paper was still incredibly wet from the spilt ink. It was a mild day, and there was a slight breeze from the trees rustling, so Irina opened the window and held the paper in the breeze to dry. It was fairly working as the paper started to crinkle and dry, but the breeze rebelled and a gust of wind blew into the window and knocked the poem out of her hand, but not out of the room. The gust blew her papers and her open notebooks and she chased the papers around, reaching toward the high ceilings to keep her art in check. She closed the window first and the cyclone of paper settled however, most of her work was in the hallway. First, she gathered up the scattered poetry and stories that landed in the room, put it on her now dry desk, and then she got on her knees and crawled out into the hall to salvage the windblown paper. She saw her latest work be thrown the farthest and she crawled down the hallway to the main corridor to the floor. She was picking up the papers when her father, her father's council, and a young man her age came walking down the hall.
"Irina Yuriovna Petrovicha! What do you think you are doing?" Her father, Yuri Voinovich Petrovich, a prestigious count in the court of Alexander the II boomed at her making her jump to her feet in surprise.
"Father, I was just picking up my papers that I dropped." Irina kept her eyes to the ground as she saw two pair of black shoes coming toward her and she struggled to keep the ink stain a secret, but to no avail as it stretched across her entire waist because of the flowing skirts she wore.
"What happened to your new dress? Why were you on the floor, this is no way for a lord's daughter to behave?! Are you trying to embarrass me? Look at me Irina!"
Her teary dark eyes looked at him and at the other person standing beside her father.
"Irina, do not cry; I will not tolerate crying in this house." Sternly he frowned at her.
"Yes father, I will not cry." She stared at her father's companion, his light blue kind eyes, and his even lighter hair; his handsome smile and even handsomer face. He was staring at her and they were in turn staring at each other, and then they both shied away.
"What a wife you would make, crying all the time, crawling on the floor like a madwoman, with ink stained clothing and messed hair. I should have sent you to a convent if I would have known you were to act like this." He grimaced.
"If I may be so bold, but you have no heir, and hence it would get passed to your nephew in St. Petersburg? Why would you do that, not keep her in the family, and just find a good husband for her?" The young man about eighteen stood up for the young woman he just met.
Count Yuri gave his companion a very hard look and he kept walking down the hall. Without a proper introduction, she scurried into her room and the young man heard quiet sobbing. He walked away; his boot sounded a crunch that sounded like paper. He picked it up and looked at it. He folded the paper and put it in his boot for later to read and ponder about.
"There, there, Irinia," a young woman a year or two older then comforted her, as she was sitting on the bed brushing her own hair. "But I do not understand why does he continue to be angry with you in public, and then dote on you in private? Why must he call you a madwoman constantly?"
Irina just wiped her tears with her hands. "Father is just trying to show what a disciplinarian he is, trying to keep his daughter under his control while company is around."
"That is no excuse! He should not treat you that way Irina." She rubbed Irina's back and gave her a handkerchief.
"You are a very special girl Nadia; you have a mind and are not afraid to use it."
"No you are the special one; with the patience of a saint. You incessantly write these stories and poems, in hopes of being published. Society will never let you unless you publish it under some masculine name, like Lawrence Michael, like the British do. " Nadia responded. " Just because you are a social taboo with your pen, father as he is trying to find a husband for you is sheltering you from any backlash. Oh that the mind is the one that is cursed! This is not right and you know it."
"Now I see why you are a social taboo with your tongue." Irina retorted. "It's not like you had any trouble getting a husband. That German prince was eating out of your hand."
"Germans like rough women, and I was drunk. Too much wine makes my loud mouth speak even louder. Damn the French and their stupid, stupid wine."
"Temperance, Sister, temperance. Just because it is there and it looks like blood, does not mean you have to drink it."
Nadia smiled quite wide. "Fine then. Make fun of the entire town calling me a bloodsucker after being courted by that Transylvanian fellow. All that is a myth you know. Farewell I will leave you to your lovely quarters. Did you find your last poem?"
Panicking Irina threw open the door, and started walking in the nearby hallway. "Where could it be?" She shrieked inside her mind for she had no time to memorize it.
She came upon her father again this time just talking to the young man. She found a place under the staircase to stop and listen to their conversation.
"What a pleasant surprise, my cousin sending his son all the way here just to invite us to a ball! This will put Irina in the attention of very good young men. Nikolai I cannot thank you enough for visiting." Count Yuri said.
"Thank you for your hospitality, but I must be back on my way to Chapaevsk. I will look forward to see you there, and your daughter, it was unfortunate we never were introduced formally." Nikolai responded.
"Yes it is a pity. I will escort you to your carriage, and I wish you would have fine weather. The snow should have all melted by now."
They walked off discussing politics, the outrage over the freeing of the serfs, the progress of the railroads, and the securing of the newly founded Russian port city of Vladivostok in the Orient. Irina breathed a sigh after they had passed, and then started to run around frantically in hope of finding her lost poem. She started to tear up again.
"How can I rewrite the most beautiful thing I have ever written? The only line I can remember is the title, Dance with me my Siberian Moon."
The music of the string quartet filled the halls of the large house of Count Yuri's brother-in-law in Chapaevsk. He even rented a trumpeter to aid in playing "Cortege" when the guests arrived, which is appropriate because all the guests were Russian nobles, and "Cortege" is the song played entrance of the nobles in Rimsky-Korsakov's Mlada. The main dish was the traditional soup Schi, based in onion and cabbage broth along with fresh fish straight from the Volga, with vinegar, pickle, and kvass. The soup was dense and full of a delicious hodgepodge of the vegetables left over from winter stores. Fresh bread was served and so was French red wine. The music was full of The Mighty Five Russian composers, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Cui, and Balakierev. The dances were long, and the male nobility handsome. Their military coats, pinned with medals from the Crimean War, velvet and strapping, their pants creased, their boots polished; all showing how good of a husband they could be. The civilian noble men were dressed nicely in tailcoats and pants with a European air to them. They ranged from eighteen to forty, and the younger ones were falling about since they were tipsy and asking married women to dance by mistake. The wives were wearing light color dresses, blues and lilacs, and pale lemons draped their bodies with bodices and corsets, "restraining them like society" as Nadia would say. Nadia was not there; it was just merely Irina, sitting alone on the balcony outside; not wanting to dance but to remember her beloved poem. She wanted to remember what it was like to be loved.
Nikolai's eyes wandered about the room trying to find the face he had held so dear. That face which stumbled upon him so suddenly that he was intrigued by that odd sight. Her long dark hair frazzled and fallen and dark eyes with budding tears caught the pity and warmth of his heart. He asked her father where she was, and he nodded that he did not. He went around and talked to many other people and people never met or seen her. He caught her on the balcony talking to herself.
"Cursed!! I must figure out the rest of the poem. I must! Tancuj so mnoj moya Sibirskaya Luna. What comes next?"
"Eto dlya tebya, lyubov' moya, ya padayu v obmorok" Nikolai answered from the doorway. "It is for you my love that I sway and swoon."
Irina's eyes widened with joy. "Under your power of light, my only lifeline…"
Nikolai answered, "The whole reason to stay alive for me to pine…"
"For you, and to feel your kisses upon my neck as we dance in harmony…"
"The music takes us to a paradise of beauty as you stroke my face gently…"
"While the scent of lilac beacons Spring…"
"I feel the loss of my bridegroom's ring…"
"I promise I will run to you if you take me away…"
"With the sky our home forever oh moon…"
"The stars our friends forever oh moon…"
"So dance with me and steal my breath from by body…"
"And death sweet death will overcome me…"
"Let us die together at dawn."
Nikolai approached her and they both stared at the crescent deity above them.
After five minutes of silence, he finally shattered it.
"That was the most beautiful poem I have ever read. I have read Shakespeare; I have read Homer and all the Greeks. This poem stole my mind and its writer my heart. I would never treat you the way your father has, and as radical as it is, I will allow you to write, and read. Maybe after your death they will be published, as times could change, but I cannot allow such beauty to be repressed. I will ask your hand to marry you, and go to your father as he will accept. Please Irina; it would be a great match if it were to come true. What do you say?"
"Dance with me, my Siberian love." Irina grabbed his hand and she led him to the ballroom. The dance was crisp and genuine, their smiles lit up the room more than the gas chandeliers.
"I know what Father will say, 'She will live life in her books!'"
"I would say in return, 'At least she knows how to live.'" Nikolai responded.
"Now I will not have to marry that German prince after all!" Irina told herself as the dance ended as she and Nikolai walked over to her father and their future began with a dance.
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