“Having trouble staying at home? Shave your eyebrows off.”
I scroll through memes.
Next to me, Sergei is on his phone scrolling. The sun makes the cum on my belly glisten. We just had sex for the second time today. The afternoon sex is the best. Where in the morning my pleasure is being anesthetized by sleep, and his dick rolling in and out of me feels like a goldfish, in the afternoon all the surrealism sleep distillate evaporates and what is left is bright technicolor reality. I kiss him in colours. His dick is a hot column, looking to be my foundation from the inside. I am a thousand mouths moaning louder than the sun.
“Hold me tighter,” I sigh, because his grip needs to be so tight on my arse it’s painful. It’s the only thing preventing me from evaporating into a fog of exhalations. My hot air into his ear is the engine of his pleasure. I push my hips to meet him.
“I love fucking up against you,” I moan.
“My sweet baby,” he says over and over until pleasure chokes him off and his throat hurts from all the pleasure shooting out into my hips up, up, up meeting him while he flies, flies, flies and crashes.
Day four of our Corona Quarantine Honeymoon. Four people died in the last twenty-four hours, making the total deaths in the Netherlands twenty-four. Official ministry information also gives the average age of the deceased: seventy-nine years old.
“Keep working, young people, keep working, the sweet cogs of our capitalist machine, keep working. You have no worries–work, work, work.” The government stance.
We both work from home. Sergei finds the switch hard. He has the heart of a communist and the ambition of a capitalist. “How can I get my promotion in this shit?” and “I need to work” are the things he says, but his heart is not in it. Within his team, they are all trying to come up with tasks for themselves, but how? It’s a travel company and all travel is banned as the world halts.
Sergei is paid about seven thousand euros a month to study spam; how to make it more effective. Every millimeter of the website of his company has a team of eighty data scientists behind it looking at how to push, push, push more effectively. Sergei studies “hero messages,” the product in the email that is being pushed. When we talk, he fills my ears with real hero messages, talk of anarcho-back-to-the-land movements, about the destructive sides of global capitalism, then he brushes his hair down and plasters on his mask to go to work. He’s been wearing the mask so long, I wonder if it’s starting to become his real face. Sergei the Amorphous, another victory of global capitalism?
I cooked an extensive dinner, served it seated on the floor and asked him how his day was, what he actually did. Early days of courting. I didn’t know his answers would make me erupt and weep.
“There are so many pressing problems!” I screamed. “We were in this research group trying to make the invisible indigenous people visible in the land use debate, fighting against the expansion of Heathrow Airport, measuring air quality in London–and we only had one data scientist!” My face heats up… the thought of 1,500 Sergeis working on “hero messages,” whilst a handful of academics try to bring about change. Salt all over my face.
“We need you Sergei!” I should’ve said. Instead, I turned on rock music really loud and started throwing my stuff angrily into my bag.
I’m not a slave, to a God that doesn’t exist.
And I’m not a slave, to a world, that doesn’t give a shit.
FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT
Marilyn Manson screams in the background.
“Where is your idealism?!” I shout.
“What do you want me to do?” Sergei asks. “You want me to make buttons? Go to a protest?” he spits out the words as if they are too bitter. “I don’t have time for these things.”
“You don’t make time,” I shoot back.
“When should I do these things? I work eight hours a day,” Sergei reminds.
“Yeah, eight hours a day creating a carbon output, working for a company that doesn’t even produce anything, it’s just a fucking middle man that takes a cut of other people’s work.”
“That’s why it’s so profitable,” Sergei remarks dispassionately.
They’ll just cut our wrists like
Cheap coupons and say that death
Was on sale today
Marilyn Manson chimes in. I storm upstairs to grab my toothbrush from his bathroom. I’m OUT.
“I can’t talk with you in a calm way, you’re even making me raise my voice and I don’t want that. So I think it’s best you leave,” Sergei says.
I snort. “I was already leaving. Does it make you feel better to ask me to? More in control?”
FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT
The music rages on.
I don’t leave. Something keeps me there. Something beyond ideology, something visceral. The poles in his humanity pull at the poles in mine.
Sergei offers, “Your idealism is shallow. It’s totally out of place. Why don’t you look at me, and ask me about who I am? What options I have?”
He had the same disgust I had for his job, but quitting would automatically mean he would have to leave the Netherlands and go back to the dictatorship he is from. The company had tried to fire him a few years earlier, but Dutch labour laws demand quite a lengthy process, a court case, et cetera, and before it got so far, he potty trained himself. Keeps his opinions to himself. Smiles. Learns the corporate language, reads the pop psychology blogs and moulds himself into a good worker.
In the coming weeks, I keep suggesting slightly subversive activities and jobs. I forward an email from a research group in Paris, I take him to dinner in a squat, I inform him of an underground newspaper editorial meeting, want to go to the “Beautiful Trouble Choir” with him, because he is musically gifted and used to sing in a choir. Nothing is picked up on. I cringe when I see his bank card; I know these motherfuckers invest in conflict and environmental degradation. He has ideology, he has intelligence, he has a lived experience. Where is your lived idealism? I look for it in his life.
“You’re just privileged,” I hear his voice in my ear. “What do you want me to do? Put stickers on lanterns?” I hear him scoffing. “What’s your impact then, huh?”
I cry, but I learn to do it without losing my smile. I break myself, I potty train myself. Don’t talk about these matters. Sergei sends me pop psychology articles to read: “How Not to Be An Asshole,” “How to Recognise That Your Partner Needs Space,” moulding me into a good partner.
We’re both potty trained now; the capitalist worker and the silent, supportive wife.