Tamara Pankova, 55, a blind champion of Olympic Games for disabled people from the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don married a 26-year-old Ethiopian student and says her husband is the most handsome man.
Tamara met the young man in a park where she walked with her guide-dog. The Labrador jumped up to a bench where black students were sitting and friendly wagged its tail. One of the students, Jacob, was the bravest to caress the dog. When the young man saw that the blind owner of the dog standing at a distance could not walk without the dog’s help he took the dog to Tamara. Jacob asked if he could take the woman home, but she refused and instead gave him her phone number. In several days, Tamara Pankova had a telephone call from Jacob who wanted to know if she had come home without any problems. Soon, the black student began to call Tamara regularly. The young man confessed that he came to the city a year ago, he had just few acquaintances there and felt absolutely lonely.
Tamara felt pity for the young man and agreed to have a date with him. Jacob was a good company and Tamara did not feel the age difference between them and forgot that she could not see. She liked Jacob’s kindness and easy views upon the life. It was cold and Tamara decided to invite Jacob to her place and have some tea.
Soon the woman realized that she no longer could live without the cheerful and ingenuous man. She called the Ethiopian ‘Yasha’, in a very Russian manner. The decision to get officially married seemed quite natural for the couple. Jacob called his relatives in Ethiopia and said he would marry a blind 55-year-old woman in Russia .
Jacob’s mother was not quite happy with the son’s decision and she attempted to talk him out of the marriage. But the young man stood his ground. Tamara’s sons aged 31 and 34 did not also like the idea of mother’s marriage to the Ethiopian young man but they did not object to it.
It was really difficult to find a parson who would agree to marry the Russian woman and the Ethiopian man in church. Tamara despaired to find a parson when luckily an old parson from the Temple of George the Victorious agreed to marry them.
Now Tamara is sure she is the happiest woman on earth. After the many years of sufferings she learnt to appreciate little pleasures. She took part in Olympic Games for disabled people and won medals to be able to make her sons’ life happier. Winning a gold medal at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988 was her greatest triumph.
Even though Tamara learnt to be a self-confident and strong woman she still felt she awfully needed love. And she welcomed the young man’s love even irrespective of her age. The doing brought Tamara the public censure of her neighbors. But the happy woman does not regret the marriage and says she would even follow the husband to Ethiopia .
Translated by Maria Gousseva