Welcome To The Harem
Revelations by Elaine Duncan
Summary: "Love is patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud..." PG, Marita.
Author: Elaine Duncan
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (mmm, responses!)
Summary: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not
boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not
easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices in the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always
hopes, always preserves." --Corinthians 13: 4-7
Credit: Sigh sigh sigh, we all know this. This story came upon me reading
The Poisonwood Bible--which is absolutely delicious--and my mother's Catholic
Boarding School prayer book. I thought it amusing to place Marita's thoughts
on Alex vs. God.
"My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord
who judges me. Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till
the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will
expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his
praise from God."
My knuckles were white as I grabbed the cold steering wheel of the
sedan, eyes focused on each and every move the other cars made; it was a way
to make sure I wouldn't get myself killed, and with all I've been through
these days I should have just passed on from the pain. But, no; my mother
used to tell me that if I repeated John 3:16--"For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should
not perish but have everlasting life"--over and over again to myself I would
be redeemed. I don't know if I believe anymore. If there is a God, He must
have forsaken me. "Have mercy upon me, O God, according unto the multitudes
of thy tender mercies." I doubt the Good Lord has any mercy upon us
shadow-people, those who lie and cheat and wear their heart on their sleeve.
I realize if I told this to Alex, he'd just smile that crooked smile and
tell me he thinks I've gone mad. There are a lot of things I haven't told
him about myself, only because I'm ashamed of my life before the Conspiracy
for some reason. I've never gotten over it: Marita Covarrubias, little
devout Russian Orthodox girl, tainted by society. If my mother is still
alive, I'd tell her this and she would frown and tell me, "Marita, you should
know better." And when I think about it, what is there to redeem? I've
done terrible things, I've done a few good things (most according to those at
the United Nations, anyhow), and some things I'm just undecisive upon. Who
am I? There's a question I need to answer, and at thirty years old it's
pissing me off that I haven't answered that.
Driving is something hazy to me, now. I barely remember how to do it,
much less my driver's license number: the black oil took that from me, and I
wish it took some childhood memories that still sit in my blackened heart. I
grew up, I could say, with an interior sight that made the world pass by at
my fingertips and all I knew was all I read in books. Then we moved to the
United States of America and the whole world was spinning in my head, all the
colors destroying my nice snow-globe world of Moscow, Russia. My little
sister enjoyed it more than I did, making friends while I spent my time at
school and sitting in a tree pondering the meaning of life.
I prayed, too, but that's something Mama always made us do. "Girls!
Time for church!" I dragged myself out of bed, pulled my hair back, was
scolded for not putting it up nicely, got dressed in a childish white thing
that was my cousin Olga's years back, with patent leather shoes. Here come
the Covarrubiases, all Americanized in their Mary Janes! Anna was the first
one to the car, always demanding races which I let her win because it was
beneath me. I was a condescending little brat--and now I'm a condescending
We lived in Tallahassee, Florida, with all those nice southern men and
women who just insisted, "Oh, you _must_ come see the orange tree, dear!
They're lovely and taste oh-so-good." I tried to be polite, and tried to
socialize with the neighbors and their children, but there was something
lacking in these American boys and girls, something I didn't find until
later. I really don't know what my problem was, maybe these children just
irked me even more-so than everyone else, and Anna was my only confidante;
even though she's four years younger than I am.
At age thirteen I started pondering this faith that my mother had
instilled in my sister and I, father home in Mother Russia doing his
government workings that would lead to my untimely breaking. So I dabbled in
things like tarot cards and Wicca, even read up upon Zen and feng shui and
everything else...but nothing held any interest anymore. Belief in evolution
was my thing, the hard-edged facts music to my ears in biology class in my
freshman year of high school. I was a four-star student, a teacher's pet,
sitting in all my classes like a good diligent little immigrant, and I
thanked whatever god I was praying to that week that the Cold War was over
because otherwise I'd have been run out of the area with stakes and
Anna got more attention from the boys than I did; I was a very
late-bloomer in feminine things, and she seemed to crave it. One night she
came home drunk off her ass--by beer, nonetheless--and explained to me the
wonders of sexual intercourse. That didn't happen to me until a few good
years later, and I wasn't drunk. I hope I wasn't. I admit I was disgusted
by the premise of sex and that my sister was sleeping around like a hooker,
but I didn't tell our mother. I was the eldest, I was the one watched with
the wary eye.
Mother nearly had a conniption fit when I got a letter from Yale
University, accepting me with a scholarship. "No! Absolutely not, Marita!
You are not going to another place in this horrid country!" She felt my
sentiments about the United States...but I needed to get out of my head, away
from my mother and sister and everyone else that was burdening my life. My
father occasionally sent letters, all in Russian, which I had refused to even
practice in an effort to shed that husk of my lineage.
What I wanted to do, though, was beyond me: there were so many majors,
so many things to get enamored with, but I decided it would be interesting
following in my father's footsteps in the government--albeit not Russian, or
American. So I stepped foot in an economics class in New Haven, Connecticut,
a shy blonde girl with her head too far up her ass to see the real world for
the first time. I studied, I even partied some, but I never took it to
extremes: the sororities told me I was a loser (my God, I feel so immature
using that term), and made fun of my homeland.
Four years in that prestigious hell and I got the fuck out of there. I
moved to New York City, severing any ties with my family; I never went home
for the holidays. I stayed with friends on Christmas and New Year's Eve in
my college years. Now I stayed alone. Then the shadow-people came to me,
they said they had my father...and that I would join their ranks. I had no
damn idea what I was getting myself into, really. It all changed when I went
to a meeting, feeling naked as all those men and women stared at me, looking
through my clothes for my usefulness.
I was sent on mediocre "missions," as they were called: I killed, I
gathered information, and all this under the guise of the United Nations. I
found it quite amusing when I sat home, alone, drinking vodka to down my
worries about a soon-to-come death. Emily Dickinson says Death stopped for
her, but I think he merely passed by; in the form of a man who was originally
a partner on a murdering, who decided to try and get under my skin and find
out what the hell I was all about. He knew, I didn't. His name is Alex
Thinking of him makes me sick, lonely, angry, hateful, in love, all
kinds of things that I can't put my finger on. I believe at one point we did
love eachother, but that was destroyed as quickly as any evidence the group
could have conjured up. I think they knew, but kept evasive as
possible...kind of like myself. I was trying to be an enigma, a puzzle, but
Alex solved the Rubik's Cube of Marita Covarrubias in no time at all. I wish
I found that solution myself faster than he did.
Our relationship, as it could have been called, progressed from holding
hands to hugging to kissing to the One Determinable Sin: sex. I was jaded,
love-drunk, absolutely out of my head when we made love, him telling me he
loved me and later cuddling up and talking about myself and him commenting
upon his life and playing with my hair and touching me everywhere. Thoughts
still bombard me and drive me insane. I'll get into a car accident if I keep
my brain on that for long.
I rose in position at the United Nations because they considered me
stubborn as hell and adept at doing whatever Iraq threw at us, so I ended up
a Special Representative to the Secretary General, and that's where
everything got fucked up--from Agent Mulder, from Alex, from the group, from
everything. I learned more of the group's specific things as I rose in
position there, given lies to deter Agent Mulder from the truth he was so
Then came the situation of my betrayal to Alex, the black oil, the
serum, Fort Marlene, memories I have luckily blocked out from my system,
things I don't want to talk about ever. Ever again. It's gone, it's done, I
have control of my emotions now. No one's looking to stare through a mask on
my face now. I can safely say that I'm free, or at least my handcuffs have
gotten loose. When I was a little girl, five, I dreamed of a family. Now I
detest that memory. I have my own words, I have my own dirge to sing to
myself. No one can hear it but me.
There's many more stories to this and I can only pray to the God I never
really believed in that He lets me live long enough to have a life of my own.
One only has a life of one's own, I read in a book--but I never did. My
insight took it from me, slathering everything in cynical remarks and views.
What do I do now, though, is the question. And as I step out of this car and
head to the house in Moscow I grew up in, as I read the Russian words and
echo them, letting the gutteral sounds drawl on my tongue, eyes focused on
the towering building that seems like a forgotten mansion. I remember my
mother's words: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting
life. You, my girl, you will need this. Remember it, keep it in your smart