Day  3. Нижний Новгород, Поволжье.

The Taxi Driver

Ilbrus, 59 years old.

I was born in Azerbaijan and I studied in Baku. During the Soviet Union I went to study in Nizhniy Novgorod at the Institute of Water Transportation. And I’ve lived here since then. Today I am taxing, but in the 90’s and 00’s, I had my own business and made good money. But from that money 80% was sent to my family. The Caucasus is the Caucasus. There education is completely different. There you have respect for the elderly and for women.

My first wife – journalist and a TV host, was the head of the department in the university, a smart woman. She wrote a book about me. We are from the same village, studied together in school. We are divorced. The first foundation for the collapse of the family was laid by her father, my father-in-law. When we got married, I said “We are going to Nizhniy Novgorod. I won’t be living in Baku”. And her father did not allow it: “No, she is a journalist and she will work in Baku.” I bought her a four room apartment there. But what kind of family life can you have long-distance? We got divorced after 4 years.

She loved and still loves me madly. She still calls me five times a day. When we divorced, she was 32 years old, a young woman. Her dad (through her sister) said “There are many young eligible bachelors, she should remarry”. After that she didn’t speak with her dad for eight months. She said, there was only one man, there won’t be another. That man I love and I will love all my life. We have a daughter together.

After the divorce I didn’t speak with them for 10 years. I left the apartment and left. All these years I never saw my daughter. First I sent them money, and then my daughter began to speak up. I want a dad, not the money. In 2016 I went there and my niece organized a meeting with my daughter for me. Ten years later. I went and sat in the car of my ex-wife and my daughter started talking about childhood grievances, that’s all she held onto for all these years. She told me everything and began to cry. I told her “Alright, daughter, are you finished? Goodbye.” I couldn’t handle when they attack me like that, it’s in my personality. 

I met my second wife in the hospital in Nizhniy, where I was when I had an ulcer, she was also a patient. She was a good woman, she loved me very much. She forgot her own diseases and cured my ulcer with her food.

I lived with her in a two bedroom apartment, there was a dacha (summer house), the Volga, a Zhiguli (Editor note: Zhiguli was a common brand of car popular during the Soviet Union.). I earned money, she had a group two disability, Rheumatoid Arthritis. She put me in her will. She persuaded her aunt, she said “you know your own mom” . In reality my mother-in-law is a rotten person. So my wife decided to give the house that her father had left to me on the condition that I buy her sister and niece an apartment. 

Then my mother-in-law took me to court. Court started as such: The black caucasian cheated a 70 year old grandma. I immediately told the judge that she won’t raise her voice at me. But when the judge found out her doctor, relatives, neighbors, everybody supported me, everything changed. After half a year we reached an agreement. You wouldn’t believe how my dead wife came to me in my dreams after that and asked, what happened. Why did I fight with her mom. I went to her and she ran away.

After her death I met my third wife. Another while she was in the hospital, I went to the cafe to eat. I saw her. She was asian, a pretty young girl, working as a waitress. I saw her and suddenly thought; how she could be my wife. Then I forgot this story.  

After the death of my wife, a year and a half, I ended up in the cafe again and saw her. I decided to meet her and sat down at the table she was cleaning. She says, sit down at a clean table, why did you sit here? I say, “Specially sat down, to meet you. I want you to serve me”. 

I gave her my number, but she didn’t call me. When I went the next day, I asked, where did she live, and after work I waited for her near her home in my car. I told her from tomorrow on not to go to work. I have serious intentions. The next day I arrived with roses, as expected, she did not show up at work. She came to my apartment, I immediately showed everything to her, I say, “Will you marry me? Don’t think for a long time.”

After a month we filed an application and got married. And now we have been together for seventeen years. The relationship with her is very difficult. I’m 59 and she is 38: 21 year difference. She is jealous of me from every pillar.

I’m a bastard. For four years I didn’t cheat on her at all, but she still is still jealous. It’s as if I’m doing it. But, it’s like I’m guilty without actually being guilty. That is when I started cheating on her. I told her, I love her, I want to be with her, she needs to understand that I do everything for my family. I’m a big family man, I work for days to provide for my family. Several times we almost got divorced, but I can’t step over the children now, they will be very worried. Especially the daughter. I already hurt one, I don’t want to hurt these children either.