Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chapter 06: On the Brink

As it approached the time that I was expecting Daise to contact me, I sat down at my computer and opened up my email program. There I found an email from the Dating Site administrators. They had done the scam-check and there was a photo included of Daise standing at the door of a dingy looking apartment signing for the delivery of the red rose. I was happy to know that the basic checks were all good: that she lived where she said she did; she was using her real name and I could see from the photo that she was using her real photos on the website. That went a long way towards reassuring me that I was doing the right thing. Ten minutes later a chat-request popped up.

“Hi Daise,” I typed.

“Hi Rupert. I cannot believe you sent me a cell phone all the way from South Africa.”

“So you got it then?”

“Yes. It is right here with me. Thank you so much.”

“Ok.. Hold on.”

I picked up my cell and pressed the speed-dial that I had programmed with her number in the shop where I had bought the phone and a few seconds later Daise answered.

“Hello. Rupert?”

“Yes. Hi Daise. How are you.”

“I am so excited. Thank you for sending the rose. It is so beautiful, and also for the phone. I have never owned my own phone before,” Daise gushed.

“It's a pleasure ... you can stop thanking me, it was nothing really,” I laughed.

“It's not nothing,” she answered, “this is the nicest present I have got in almost as long as I can remember.”

“Well, then I am glad. I'm sorry it has a South African SIM Card in it so you can't really use it there.”

“That's not a problem. There is no one here that I would really want to call anyway. There is just my best friend Alina, and we see each other almost every day.”

“What about your family?” I asked. This was something that had been bothering me.

“I have none. They are all dead.” came after a slight pause.

“Oh. I'm sorry to hear that. My condolences.”

“It's alright. I am used to it now.”

“Did they die recently?”

“My mother died when I was very young of pneumonia, my father died a few years ago.”

“I'm sorry to hear that. Did he also get sick?”

“No. He was killed in Chechnya. He was commanding a Tank Battalion during the recapturing of Groznyy in early February 2000.”

“Ok. Sorry if I caused you pain. I didn't intend to do that.”

“That's OK. I was only ten when he died. I have some very good memories of times with him when he was on leave from the Army.”

“Who did you live with then?”

“Alina. Her father was one of my father's Company Commanders. I was living with Alina and her mother before as both of our fathers were away a lot of the time. When my father died, it became permanent. Alina's father took over the Battalion and was killed a few days later, also in Groznyy.”

“That must have been hard for you. I'm glad to hear that you at least had someone to love and care for you.”

“Yes. We became a very close family.”

“Daise, sorry to change the subject, but I really need to ask you if you have given any thought to what I proposed?”

“I have Rupert. I have decided that I will come to see you. Alina has told me that I would be very, very stupid not to at least go to meet such a nice man.”

“I'm glad to hear that. Tell Alina 'Thank You' for me.”

“I will. She is very jealous of you. She joined the site the same time that I did, and she says that she has only gotten emails from horrible men who are rude and ugly. Not polite and kind like you.”

“I am very sorry to hear that, but I am very glad to know that she has encouraged you to visit. I need you to send me the details so that I can book a flight for you.” I proceeded to tell her what paper-work needed to be done, and who she needed to contact in our Embassy in Kiev (Kyiv). I had received assurances from our Department of Home Affairs office, and from the Ukrainian Embassy in Pretoria that there would be no problem in issuing her with a visa; that it was simply a formality and should take no longer than two days.

We chatted a bit more, and Daise assured me that she would get the paperwork processed as quickly as possible and then we ended the call.

I was on a high after that call. It seemed to be moving along very nicely. I also had a reason now for her desperation to get out of the Ukraine, as it was apparent that there was no money there, and from what I could find out about the country, very few prospects. I wondered about Daise's relationship with Alina, it sounded as if they considered themselves sisters, and wondered if I had missed my cue when she told me that Alina was jealous of her. It was something to think about. I put the thought on a back burner in my mind and started the process of booking her a flight online.

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