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10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 15 10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 15
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-03-10 09:10:37
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15. Cappuccino and depression

We ended up in the same place again drinking cappuccino and eating cinnamon buns. Lately I have the feeling that we are like a long-time married couple, we have said all the important things so we know what each other thinks without talking about it and we have limited our conversations to the most superficial and somehow innocent subjects without that meaning that we stopped enjoying each other’s company. I have a friend who believes that the best way to keep friendships is by seeing your friends a maximum of once a month, according to him if you see somebody more times in a month then there is no news and everything becomes boring. For a minute I closed my eyes thinking the faces of friends I left behind, Marc is again into his favourite Barbie subject and he didn’t understand anything.

I suppose the melancholy I feel over the last two years is building gradually and sneaking up. I suppose I am too stubborn to admit defeat from the weather and the dark winters but the truth is just around the corner and lately I started feeling it. I suppose all my problems with my health over the last two years don’t help much but then again this sounds like an excuse and that’s one thing I never excused to myself …excuses! Perhaps that’s my nemesis! I smiled with the thought but again Marc was into his next favourite subject …DVDs!

A young Asian girl sat alone at the table next to ours with a small green salad in front of her, this country will never stop fascinating me. Here is a country that just ten years ago had only a couple of thousand of foreigners and in only ten years there are tens of thousands of foreigners from every side of the globe most of them living in Helsinki and quiet suburbs became small Babylons with all the ethnicities and languages parading inside one of the biggest malls in Scandinavia. Even the mall itself is an example of this monstrous Babylon feeling. Made sometime in late-80s I think and then adding parts during the time has become a monster of different colours and styles with concrete buildings coming out from every side and new ones under construction all the time.

The girl looked her nails and made me look at them, bright red colour with some shining bits on them, I suppose another new fashion. She had a long and thin face just like an El Greco painting with beautiful brown eyes. She looked so fragile and small, so familiar and exotic the same time. I took my eyes from her scared that she will sense my stare and misunderstand me. I suppose if I was twenty years younger it would seem like flirting, in my age it just looks strange looking at this young girl. Marc was quiet. I tried to think something to say fast but my brain had stopped so I made a question about a film. He looked at me.

What could I say? Let’s share our depression in a cup of cappuccino? I didn’t say anything so we both sat there quiet, I nothing in my mind just looking at the girl who was finishing her salad or whatever was what she was eating. “Richard is coming round tomorrow with the girls!” that sounded like a statement. What a strange feeling, Marc could see himself as the family man who spends time with the family and other family men, I don’t know much about Richard but he seems like a family man; and they can share things family men share, like football, the latest episodes of their favourite television series, what this friend or the other did and how did they do it. Why I could never be like that after all I had a daughter the same age like theirs. Perhaps this strange feeling I have that there is something intentionally artificial in these ‘family man’ lives!

“Shall we go?” I asked standing up and getting my jacket and my small rucksack. Amazingly this black old rucksack had become the last two years part of my outside look. And very practical thing, I had inside my notebook, a small sketchbook and of course my glasses and my book, occasionally a bounty and more often an extra packet of cigarettes. For a strange reason the girl stood up exactly the same moment also getting ready to go, she looked at me and smiled. I was so surprised that I didn’t smile back, just pretending that I didn’t notice I continued with my jacket, Marc was ready and he said that he had to do some shopping, so I went outside the mall to have a cigarette while he was doing his shopping and then we could head together to our houses with the same metro.

On one side of the mall there is a small space, alley or square with a weird metal status that reminds me a gigantic vagina. After the state forbid smoking inside cafes and pubs some clever people created these cafes under tents where you can even smoke since they are …outside and the tent only protects you from rain and snow. So there were the usual suspects drinking bad coffee and smoking one cigarette after the other and guess that was there when I walked past …the man with the blood ring.  And my excuse was that I didn’t have work so I could be there this time what was his excuse?

He didn’t see me but I stopped on the side near a stand for cigarettes to have an excuse and I started watching him. This time I did have the chance to see him better! The man was in his late-thirties early forties losing the top of his hair with a small moustache and a lot of extra weight. I didn’t want him to spot me so I finished my cigarette and headed to the metro station where Marc was already waiting for me.

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