Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Poison From Your Hands, Darling. Poison!"

Being romanced by a Serbian man is *completely* different from going out with an American man. For one thing, the Serb will bring you flowers, often a single rose, every single time he sees you for the first few months when the romance is new. Then the floral onslaught slows to one fresh bouquet per week... for life. Even my father-in-law, who's bickered with his wife year in year out for 50 years as of last February, rides his little old bicycle down to the greenmarket every Saturday to get those flowers without any prompting whatsoever. It's a man's duty, after all.

Then there are also those little turns of phrase - instead of "Are you crazy?" he will ask, "Are you normal?" And, when you serve him food you've made, which, if you are me will be more or less burned, he will smile reassuringly and say, "Poison from your hands, Darling. I would eat poison from your hands."

I thought it was just his own unique brand of broken-English until our second Thanksgiving together, when my step-brother's father-in-law, a professor at Belgrade University, was among our honored guests. As he advanced on me cowering among the smoking pots in the kitchen, he brandished a single red rose, bowed and said, "I am so looking forward to this meal. Poison from your hands, I would eat. Poison!" with a gallant Serbian smile.

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