Alexander Fufaev
My name is Alexander FufaeV and here I write about:

June 2022 - July 2022: Jule's return and my sister's wedding

June 17, 2022. With a colorful bouquet of gerberas in hand, Jule's favorite flowers, I stood on platform three in Hannover, eagerly awaiting her. Although we had been together for a long time, this moment of waiting felt like we were meeting for the first time. I wondered how Jule had changed after all this time and if she was as excited to see me as I was to see her.

The passing train, which then slowly slowed down, snapped me out of my deep thoughts and brought me back to the present. The doors opened, and a crowd of people poured out of the train with their heavy suitcases and backpacks, filling the entire platform. I looked for Jule, scanning backward and forward along the train. Finally, I spotted her, a girl with short blonde hair, glasses, and two suitcases trailing behind her. I approached her, and my suspicion was confirmed: It was Jule. She looked at the ground until she finally noticed me. She didn't smile, and it felt like she was looking past me.

"Hello Jule," I greeted her and lightly hugged her, while she didn't set down the suitcases to hug me back. "The flowers are for you."

"Oh, thank you! Let's quickly leave the platform so we're not in the way here."

I took her backpack on my shoulders, one of the suitcases in one hand, and held the flowers in the other hand.

"Thank you for your help, Saschi. Is it okay if I'm alone today and unpack my suitcases in peace?" she said as we were on our way to the tram.

"Well, okay, no problem. I'll at least help you carry the suitcases to the tram," I replied, feeling slightly disappointed.

There were still four minutes until the tram arrived. We stood on the platform, and Jule told me about her stressful journey back. But somehow, I couldn't focus on it and let her words wash over me. I wasn't as filled with joy as I had expected when I saw Jule again.

"Alright, Saschi. The tram is coming. You can come visit me on Sunday. I would love that," she said and gave me a kiss on the lips.

"Oh yes, I'd love to come over!" I replied and helped Jule get the suitcases onto the tram.

Jule sat by the window, briefly looking down, and as the tram started, she glanced briefly in my direction so I could wave to her. Then I headed back to Harsum, where my mother picked me up.

In Harsum, I waited another twenty minutes and looked at the gray clouds, reflecting my subdued mood. I considered walking out into the fields right away and recording a voice message for Mara to tell her how my reunion with Jule went.

Finally, Mom returned from work.

"Hello, Saschul. How is Julenka? Did she arrive safely?" my mother asked me in the car.

"Yes, she's doing well, Mom. I'm going to visit her on Sunday. Today and tomorrow, she needs to settle in and unpack her things," I replied, trying to sound as neutral as possible to avoid giving the impression that the reunion didn't go as joyfully as hoped.

"We would all love to see her again!"

"I think she has to work right away on Monday and doesn't have time at first. But on the second of July, there's the wedding, and then she'll come along, and you can see her," I explained.

As we drove home, I sat in silence, feeling that Mom also sensed that something wasn't right in the relationship between Jule and me.

The Wedding

July 2, 2022. On a radiant Saturday, family and friends gathered at St. Martinus Church in Borsum at noon to celebrate the wedding of Dascha and Tobi. I sat in the front row next to Jule, while my mother, the bridal couple, the best man Niels, and the maid of honor Antonia also took their seats in the front row. Lauri sat with her boyfriend Nick and Joachim directly behind me. The church was filled with happy faces and an expectant mood.

The pastor stepped up to the podium and, after a brief greeting, began reading from Paul's letter to the Corinthians.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs..."

My gaze wandered to the cross of Jesus hanging behind the pastor, and I sank into his downward-looking countenance.

"... Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

After the speech, the pastor invited Dascha and Tobi to the altar. Dascha, in her pompous snow-white dress, stood with Tobias, who wore an elegant black suit, and all eyes in the church were on them. At the altar, they faced each other, smiling.

"Today, we have come together to celebrate the wonderful covenant of love between Daria Fufaeva and Tobias Gellmann. They have decided to enter into the bond of marriage and unite their lives together. The love they feel for each other is palpable and shines in their eyes."

Suddenly, I felt Jule's warm hand on mine. We looked at each other with glassy eyes. It was nice to feel that we dared to hold hands again without it feeling awkward.

"Tobias Gellmann, do you take Daria Fufaeva to be your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to love her, honor her, and stand by her side in good times and bad?"

Without hesitation, Tobias answered.

"Yes, I do!"

"Daria Fufaeva, do you take Tobias Gellmann to be your lawfully wedded husband? Do you promise to love him, honor him, and stand by his side in good times and bad?"

Dascha hesitated, typically for my sister. She loved to make things a little more exciting.

"Yes, I do!" she finally replied.

"Then, join hands..." the pastor continued.

I glanced briefly at Mom. She cried tears of joy.

Dascha and Tobi repeated the pastor's words one by one and exchanged their vows.

"In the presence of these promises and your love for each other, I now pronounce you lawfully joined as husband and wife. What God has joined together, let no one separate. You may now kiss and begin your journey together as a married couple."

I lifted my gaze again to the cross of Jesus, briefly closed my eyes, and bowed before him in silent reverence.

Dascha and Tobi kissed passionately. All the guests rose from their seats and cheered with joy.

After a short stay outside the church, Mom, Lauri, Jule, and I drove to Gutshof Rethmar, where all of Dascha and Tobi's friends and relatives gathered for a festive meal and a lively party.

We arrived a little earlier and saw the dining tables being prepared. In the basement, I played a round of bowling with Tobias' friends. Later, I went outside, where Jule, Mom, Joachim, and Tobi's parents were sitting at a table, chatting with each other. Directly behind them at the tables sat Dascha with her girlfriends.

"Ah, Sascha! Come, sit with us!" Thomas, Tobias' father, called out to me.

I took the only available chair next to Jule.

"So, how's your studies going?" Thomas asked me.

"Yes, I'm currently working on my master's thesis."

A brief silence followed.

"When are you planning to move out?" came an unexpected, somewhat uncomfortable question from Joachim, accompanied by an exhaled puff of smoke after taking a drag on his cigarette.

I glanced briefly at Jule, who lowered her gaze. It was uncomfortable to feel this interrogation, and it reminded me of a class conference in school where I burst into tears. I felt hot, and probably my face turned red too.

"I want to move in with Jule, but she's not ready for that yet," I replied, trying to stay calm.

"Do you really want to live at home until you're forty?" Joachim asked, while others listened curiously.

"I don't mind," Mom jumped in and laughed.

It felt like I had done something wrong and that I needed to justify myself. But before I could respond, Thomas, who probably noticed my discomfort, diverted attention by asking Jule a question.

"And you, Jule, how's your studies going?"

"Good, I'm a doctoral student now," she replied and started talking about her work.

I sat there still, lost in thought, staring at the table. In Joachim's eyes, I felt like a mama's boy at thirty, burdening my mother more than supporting her. The close bond with my mother, which I perceived as a strength, seemed to be viewed as a weakness by Joachim.

"The buffet is open," announced a friendly waitress from the inn. It was seven in the evening, and we all marched to the buffet. From hot dishes to soups to desserts, everything was vegan. That was important to Dascha and Tobi, as they were mostly vegan themselves and wanted to surprise the meat-eating guests with how delicious vegan food can be.

After dinner, Antonia gave an emotional speech, bringing tears to Dascha's eyes. Mom had worked on an even more emotional, almost cinematic speech all day and night. Unfortunately, she didn't dare to present it in front of so many people.

After Antonia's speech, the DJ started, and Dascha and Tobi opened the party with a dance. Tobi had cool friends whom I had already met at the bachelor party during paintball. I had a lot of fun on the dance floor with them. Jule, on the other hand, wasn't really in the mood. She was plagued by a headache and mostly sat at the table or outside. I didn't blame her.

"Did the headache tablet help a bit, my dear?" I asked Jule, who had received a headache tablet from the waitress half an hour ago.

"A little better. But, Saschi, is it okay for you if I go home with Oxana soon?"

"I'll come with you!" I replied, glancing at the clock. It was already one o'clock in the morning.

After saying goodbye to the guests who were still drinking and dancing, Mom, Jule, and I headed back to Borsum. After rinsing off the sweat from dancing under the shower and then getting into bed with Jule, who was already asleep, I realized how tired I was. Shortly afterward, my eyes closed too, and I fell asleep.