I lived a shallow and meaningless life. Chased revolutions for thrills. Faked contentment and belonging by shopping, until a brutally honest Russian, I met online, changed everything about the way I saw the world and my place in it. A year later, she joined me in Ukraine during a period of civil unrest, revealing that she needed me as much as I needed her.
By effecting an elaborate escape to meet me in Kyiv, Elena unleashed a series of events that had us running for our lives. Crossing the planet entirely on our own and unsupported, and defying all the rules of common sense to stay together and live as we wanted, I grew up -- and fast. During this unthinkable, year-long run for our lives, I didn't just rescue the deer-in-the-headlights Russian but found and rescued myself. I learned what it means to love, to take responsibility, face death, face life, and embrace the meaning -- and even the meaninglessness -- of it all. Suddenly, I was measuring value in heartbeats, not dollars.
I am one of the two women who fled for her life, across the planet, entirely unsupported and against all common sense (the rules) to be with Elena (who had just escaped from Russia, described in a book called Talking to the Moon). And NO, just because Elena and I happen to have the same gender, this is not an LGBT story, but a story of liberation and doing whatever it takes to do what you know is right for you. To live with *yourself,* essentially. Love story? Of course, I love Elena, but this is really about the love of life and self. Yikes, is that a bad word? Self-love? Loving oneself? If so, you probably don't want much to do with us and our story. This is a story of courage, of strength, of adventure, of growing up, of liberation. There is no sex in it! There is no romance. It's a love story, insomuch as Thelma & Louise or Sherlock Holmes and Watson, or Rosemary and Thyme, happen to be.
Why the rewrite?
I am not going to lie to you. This book has gone through a lot of incarnations and incantations. Incarnations being: Convergence, Elena and Meg, and now, Frack the Rules -- a new, slimmed down, no-holds-barred look at what happened after, Talking to the Moon.
For those not ken to the lunar reference, Talking to the Moon is my partner: Elena Ivanova's, recollection of events that led to the planet-crossing run for our lives. The very escape -- not just for Elena, but also, for yours truly -- that I describe in all those words following these ones. If you haven't read Talking to the Moon, yet, you can still read onward for the thrills, chills and uproarious hilarity -- aka, gallows humor -- you'll come across in Frack the Rules, but you are going to be missing some of the background.
It took Elena literally more than a decade to come to grips with what happened, and then, to put the heart wrenching details down, in English. Before then, I did my level best to cover what I knew from that dark time in her life. But, take my word for it, I knew very little, and Elena does an infinitely better job of telling her story than I do. That is why I am not including my rendition of Elena's experiences. She, quite simply, does a better job than anyone, describing the events that led to her standing, face-to-face with me, in Kiev's Borispol airport, all those years ago.
To use a cliche that is astonishingly appropriate in this case; I am going to cut to the chase, but in so doing, you may be left wondering, why we did what we had to.