There is nothing quite as creative or revengeful as a woman wanting to even out the pain and suffering endured over a lifetime at the hands of a cruel and hopeless man. Her name was Akalena, his was Boris.
This is her story.
Of course the start of her marriage was wonderful, even loving. He chopped up the firewood. No one could wield the axe in this small Ukrainian village of Pukiv like Boris. He stacked the piles nicely, provided the kindling by going into a small pine forest. Mountains of pine cones, twigs and even the dried needles he carefully arranged in neat piles. When winter came, and it came to fire wood, there was plenty. He would sometimes drink vodka but nothing too much, certainly not like Ivan from next door, whose wife made him sleep in front of the wood stove when drunk. Her marriage had long ago waned to nothing but she did not want to have her husband found frozen stiff in the forest. Those Ukrainian winters were never kind to those men too scared and inebriated to find their way to the front gate and face spousal fury. When men went missing, the wives would first look into the neighbouring woods, that’s if there hadn’t been a heavy snow fall. In early spring, the forest would then yield its bitter harvest with husbands’ remains found, some still clutching the bottle. It went some way in explaining the surplus of available women. Sometimes, while Boris was swinging his axe, some of those without husbands would saunter by, their hips still capable of a suggestive swing as well.
While Boris did not fall prey to Vodka very often, he did keep a lecherous and leering eye out for those women with loose ways and swinging hips, especially if special favours could be bought. He would sometimes take his axe to one of those women that had walked by, but ended up with more than just chopping their fire-wood. It wasn’t long when rumours became rife of Boris having been noticed whoring and snoring amongst the widows of Pukiv, spending nights away. He had no qualms upsetting Akalena, smelling of Vodka and stale sex. When confronted by Akalena, he scowled and told her ‘did you ever run out of firewood, did you, you bitch’? Go on, ‘give me my hot soup and pull my boots off’. I’ll fucking well swing my axe wherever I choose to’. Akalena would give him his chicken soup…; boil some water for his stinking feet. The soup had been on the stove for hours, waiting for Boris to show up.
Akalena was disappointed in her Boris and as the years went by, her love also shrivelled as did the love of so many Ukrainian women married to those hopeless men. The swinging of axes or their Vodka fuelled raucous ranting never did make up for their violence, their drunkenness and their hopeless and desperate womanising. There were some who secretly wished their husbands would be found frozen stiff in the pine forest as well. They would give up going into the forest, almost hoping they would not be found except in spring.
(will be continued)