`Aren’t you cold, Miss?’ said Kristofers. `Do you recall how our stroll seven years ago ended up?’
`Miss? Weren’t we already used to omitting such titles?
Indeed they were, thought Kristofers.
`See, I am cold... And you wouldn’t even make me warm, you clumsy villain?’ All of a sudden Margarēta enfolds Kristofers’ neck with her arms and puts her lips, the full, slightly pouting, ruby lips on the young man’s lips and drinks on them thirstily, dazedly. Kristofers senses her cool and misty cheeks and the flutter of eyelashes and, showing from under her hat, the hair; finely powdered with frost, it’s exuding freshness.
`Margarēta,’ whispered Kristofers, `Margarēta!’
She softly distanced herself from him and said, `Let’s not go insane. I’m not even supposed to kiss you; my health has deteriorated more than all of you might think. My lungs are leaky like a sieve.’
`Don’t talk like this. I am, exactly because of that, going to kiss you right now,’ said Kristofers. He lifted her like a little child under the both of her arms above the ground and gave her a kiss. `Here.’
`You’ve got the strength of a bear,’ cheered Margarēta. `Bear-eared boy, I do love you even if I shouldn’t be saying that - you must be six or seven years younger than me. Hush you! When women reach certain age, they tend to fall in love with boys, everyone knows that.’
`But I have been in love for such a long time... While you gloried in demeaning and disheartening me,’ said Kristofers.
`...And while you delighted in ignoring and disdaining me. What was it you were whispering today to the brunette violinist if it made her laugh so much? Something about me? Or, about my old-fashioned poems? Don’t you think it was obvious to me how disappointed were the crowd, and you too?’
`I was telling Zara that only at reciting your poem you were truthful. All the while you had been putting on airs in order to sting me.’
`And this is what you were telling her?’
`Or rather, just thinking. I would have said it if there weren’t people around.’
`Bear-eared boy.’ And like a kitten she lightly smacked his cheek with her glove. `I knew you’d be there, otherwise I wouldn’t have come. But the music you played, it overpowered me... While the theme from William Byrd’s rigadoon didn’t deserve to be defiled. You’ve no heart, Kristofers. That was a bad dream, not music. Why try to attract attention through affectation?’
`Why give me a silver fiver?’
`Oh - I wasn’t aware of what I was doing. I just wanted to put you down.’
`That wasn’t about affectation but about exasperation. It felt as if I had lost you...’
`You haven’t won me in the first place. I anticipate difficult times if we don’t come back to our senses.’
`Margarēta, my Margarēta - I don’t want back to my senses...’
`Thus, sell my fur coat and become a servant maid?’
`How can you live with such a monster? His body and his soul consist of clockwork pieces, like of a robot’s.’
`Be quiet. Trampedahs is convinced I am repatriating to Germany with him while I’m determined that I won’t. I swear I won’t.’
Eyes closed, she sought Kristofers’ lips and kept kissing them and repeating inexorably, `I won’t, I won’t...’
`You wouldn’t be able to imagine what the German people have become like. My compatriots, cannot recognise them anymore. Misanthropists and betrayers; it is beyond description what I saw and felt. Urian-Aurehan has put a spell on everyone, Jānis Vridriķis Trampedahs included. I’ve decided that on the day when he’ll have packed up for leaving I’ll run and hide away. Later I’ll return to the home on Raiņa Boulevard and claim my room: being a lawful wife, I am entitled to certain things, mister impresario?’
`Yes. Last week I made Trampedahs legalise our marriage.’
`Margarēta... Are you going back to Raiņa Boulevard? Going back?’
`Where else am I supposed to go? He is my benefactor and husband.’
`Your husband? Concerning his husbandry, there are most outlandish things I might tell you...’
`Be quiet,’ said Margarēta. `You can be safe in your sleep - I shall be thinking of you. Jānis Vridriķis spends entire nights working in his office, and he sleeps there. I belong to you, bear-eared boy.’
Kristofers glanced into the beclouded eyes of the lady and was overwhelmed with sadness. Is this the happiness?
`I belong only to you, bear-eared boy, but, I’m not in a position to give up comforts. My lungs are like a sieve - for how long am I going to last? A year, two years? Let this be at least a carefree time. I’m sure Jānis Vridriķis will be supporting me even after I will have remained in Riga against his will. I’m going to take advantage of his sickly affection for me...’
`Good Lord - what kind of a woman are you, Margarēta?’ Kristofers said, his face gone pale.
`I’m a trollop [who is] not willing to jump back into the trough she’s managed to get out of,’ Margarēta whispered.
`I have a room on Akas Street where we both could settle in just fine,’ Kristofers pleaded. `I can’t take this anymore.’
`I did see you entering our apartment hungry, in deformed shoes and green socks. And I said to myself - beware, that is the smell of destitution.’
`It seems you don’t love but only pity me...’
`I do love; if I pitied you I would have left you tonight with the brunette. Isn’t she pretty! By God, I thought, how well these two complement each other, so young and so happy. Zara’s gifted, florid and in the pink; and you so talented. You’d have such smart and beautiful children.’
`I only want you, you,’ Kristofers shouted and locked her in his suffocating wild embrace, lifted her in the air and threw her into a snowdrift, did it again and again; to Margarēta it seemed that the bear-eared had gone nuts; enough, she said, and when this didn’t help, grabbed his hat and threw it away in the snow. While the lad went looking for it, she started going back along the lakeshore.