Sergey was a Tatar Filmmaker.

His father was a German photographer, and his mother was a Tatar storyteller.

He made documentaries about people and nature and the planet, and he wanted to make a documentary of me.

He had once had written a book, and thought of himself first as a writer. But one evening he was sitting around with friends and they had the classic “hey, kids! Let’s make a digitally-filmed documentary!” urge that has always driven thespians.

He said, in addition to my being beautiful (which meant, “I see that you’re not wearing a bra”), that he saw passion in my eyes. (Which may have meant, “I can see your nipples.”)

I did not want a man interfering with my afternoon so I shooed him on his way.

But one day I changed my mind. I booty-called him and he answered on the first ring.

He met me for Vietnamese, although I had already eaten by the time he arrived. He ordered a tea after I prodded him to get something. He forgot to drink it, and gave it to me.

We compared books we’d written.

He told me about the documentary he was doing. His team was going from Vladivostok to Lisbon , turning people’s stories into paths of wax story-bricks that would connect the world.

I had been hungry for someone to talk to!

He said he liked “the Small Prince,” (Le Petit Prince), and how the Small Prince likes to talk about “true things.”

He put his arm around me.

We watched the rain from under an awning, then headed home through an avenue of trees had exploded in spring green, lilacs out in full force, pink-and-white apple blossoms drifting through the air, and yellow daffodils

Once home, I went to make him tea. But he captured me when I reached for the tea boxes. We kissed plenty.

He must have kissed many women in order to be as good as it as he was.

My hand wrapped around his neck and stayed there.

“Nice dress,” he said, completely ignoring it, unwrapping it, and staring at my breast in his hand. He learnt my breast by touch.

I felt myself sharing with him the Me I was when I didn’t have to be anybody special.

We went condom shopping.

How is this even my life, I wondered. There I was, walking down the street in Kreuzkölln, wearing a black dress with no bra or underwear, and hipster German sneakers, walking arm-in-arm with my Tatar hipster artist (also in hipster German sneakers), and we were walking past the lilacs and the Turkish jewelry shops and the graffiti on our way to go make love all afternoon.


He believed women needed “little pauses” between orgasms.

We don’t.

But if you need a little pause, we’ll wait for you.

Dressed, Sergey looked like your average gaunt artist. But when he took his clothes off, he had a beautiful body! He had all those things women hunt for.

He paused in the middle and asked to please kiss me again. I happily obliged.

I learned about his knack for dramatic timing that afternoon.

He allowed his Kundalini snake to subsume the human, and by the end, the human had disappeared and there was only the snake.

We both released our Kundalini snakes that afternoon.

We lay there and my head spun luxuriously. He asked me with concern, was I ok, it was not too big, he had not caused me any pain?

I smiled.

He asked me for tea. I told him to go make it himself. I was busy lying still, while hormones flooded my head.

He could not process the fact that I did not want to jump up, get dressed, and make him tea.

So, not wanting to be rude, I finally gave in. ….He also ate some stale pita, remarking, “I am always hungry after sex, I don’t know why.”

We added video portraits of each other to our phones. Although he was sharp to say, when I mentioned my portrait project, “it’s not just men you’ve fucked?”

I wanted him to stay so we could discuss our artistic journeys, and eventually we would stroll out and get some Turkish dinner, and then we would come back home and make love for the entire rest of the evening and sleep in each others’ arms.

But he had a movie to make.

So this is what it’s like to be with me, I thought.

He forgot his bag and when he came to retrieve it, I hung on to it instead of relinquishing it. Stay, I wanted to whine. He kissed me, smiled, and said he’d see me “soon.”

He did not call or text the next day.

Some days later I caved and texted him. “Hey I finished your picture and got a visa!”

He messaged me, “congratulations I’m working on my movie!”

We started to schedule a rendez-vous. But he lost interest, mid-scheduling.

A few months later he messaged me. Since this was still then, not now, I ate up his message hungrily instead of blocking him for being an icer. We met, I was overjoyed to see him, and we limped back to his house in Bergmannkiez. The place stank of chain-smoking.

We had sex and then he spent the rest of the night editing his movie.

I pretended to sleep.

He had told me to wake him up so he could walk me to the bus in the morning, but this proved impossible. So I limped to the bus station with my suitcase, on my way to California.


One full year later, I got on the metro one evening, on my way to dinner with a rich man with whom I had nothing in common but who had grand taste in restaurants. I looked gorgeous all dressed up.

Sergey was sitting in the metro, facing the doors I had come through. He saw me and stared. I grabbed the pole in front of his seat, nearly touching him, and made an show of taking off my coat and cardigan in the sweltering metro. I knew my tits were right at his eye level.

I never looked at him. Instead I fussed with my headphones.

As his stop drew near he stood up and I took over his seat. I could feel him looking down at me, and refused to meet his gaze.

Only at the moment he turned and walked to the doors, did I look up, straight into his eyes, and he looked straight into mine.

He smiled an apologetic smile. I did not smile back.

We held each other’s gaze through the window, as he walked all the way down the platform and out of sight.