An Open Letter to Mrs. Marcu

(The next two entries in the journal will discuss our time in Turku, Finland.)

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Dear Mrs. Marcu:

My apologies in writing to you if you don’t exist. Since I’m a writer of fiction, that doesn’t bother me as much as it might bother some. I also know your last name wouldn’t be Marcu, because your alleged husband’s first name is Marcu, but it’s better than calling you woman who doesn’t necessarily exist who may or may not be attached to the man that tried to pick Catrina and myself up in a bar in Turku, after we made it very clear that his attentions weren’t wanted.

The day before I found out how sick my husband’s father was, I came back from a day of sight-seeing with the declaration that I wanted to karaoke, as I had heard it was big in Finland. Catrina, trooper that she is, researched a great place in Turku, so we were ready for Tuesday night karaoke fever. Honestly, Mrs. Marcu, we wanted to play glow in the dark mini-golf, which was across from the hotel, but they had moved downtown, and then they were on vacation when we located their new location. It was just not meant to be.

So, we went to karaoke. The bar was kind of dead, but hey, it was Tuesday. We were in there, a couple of young women were in there, a folk singer was doing an interesting mix of English songs and English songs in Finnish. It’s all good. We forked over two euros each, cozied up with a couple of strawberry ciders and waited until the karaoke started around ten.

Now, Mrs. Marcu, let me make this clear. Neither Catrina nor I were dressed very provocatively. Not that that matters, but you should know we weren’t screaming available. Catrina looked nice, and I would go so far to say that I looked…frumpy that day. But Marcu gave us the eye across the room. I leaned over to Catrina and asked if she had activated her plus one ring of protection (the wedding ring) because I thought we were going to have company.

Marcu asked if he could join us.

Your husband is a big guy, but he seemed like a nice friendly guy. Catrina took the brunt of his conversation and first, and he tried to convince her that he owned many stores, and that he was a successful business man. Catrina explained she was traveling, but talked about her husband and daughter. Marcu had an awful lot to drink and was kind of handsie.

Catrina headed for the rest room, and she thought at that point we should leave, but I thought I’d be damned if I’d let some guy chase me out of a bar. Marcu and I talked a little bit, and he told me he had one store. I have this truthify power. It’s probably my teacher vibe. He seemed pretty receptive to flirting with me, but I had the distinct advantage of sitting further away from him at the table.

Anyway, Catrina came back. We put our cards on the table. We told Marcu that we were married. At first, he though we were married to each other. We clarified that. I pulled out pictures of my husband. Although Catrina mentioned we had come out to be naughty, she was very clear that drinking was what she was talking about. Marcu asked how naughty. This was the point where we both said VERY clearly that nothing was going to happen between us and Marcu. As a matter of fact, I think the exact words were, “It ain’t happening.”

And that’s when you entered the conversation, Mrs. Marcu. Marcu told us he had a wife, although he didn’t have kids. We were all very clear at that point that we were three married people who were going to hang out and do karaoke. Hey, it could happen. The evening was looking up. Marcu was behaving.

Marcu disappeared for a moment, and came back with some drinks. I was working on my second cider, and that’s my absolute limit with the depression medication I take. Somewhere in the conversation it comes out I’m a professor, and I figure with refusing his drink, becoming a smart woman, and showing him pictures of my husband, I am no longer a viable target.

I am right. The karaoke begins, and his attention is all over Catrina, renewed, who is drinking his drink (which we both agree in hindsight wasn’t a really smart move). I sing one song (“You Only Live Twice” by Nancy Sinatra) and Catrina can’t find a number she likes. Marcu has finished his drink and is working on the one I turned down. Marcu tells Catrina that he loves his wife, but Catrina is beautiful.

Catrina decides to slip away to the rest room again. Marcu swallows the last of his drink and follows her.

That, Mrs. Marcu, is uncool. Marcu has hit on us, been rebuffed, and is still keen to score with my friend. There are no mixed signals in the mix. I go into matron mode, scoop up her purse. He strategically comes out into the hall and finds me standing there with Catrina, which clearly isn’t what he hopes for. Shortly thereafter, Catrina decides there’s nothing she wants to sing, I decide I’m tired, and we leave. I do have to come back for coats because I forgot them in our hasty retreat.

Mrs. Marcu, I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with your husband. It may be okay with you that he’s stepping out. It’s certainly not okay with me that he is. I appreciate that he took the hint with me, but Catrina was also pretty clear about her expectations of the evening. No does mean no. I’m glad I was there because I’m not sure Marcu’s English would have been that good, although it had been impeccable all evening long.

I think it’s very uncool that two women can’t go into a bar and have the nice evening they’ve paid for because there’s a predator on the prowl. You may know your husband is a bounder and a cad. I just thought you should be aware about this case. I would also like a refund of my two euros at your earliest convenience.

Catherine

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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