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10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 34 10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 34
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-07-06 06:39:34
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A heavy stomach and another invitation for coffee

The chicken was just too dry and the thin slice of feta in the middle didn’t help much, the oven potatoes were not cooked enough and coriander is not a herb Greeks use, oregano is the herb used for oven potatoes. Except this, the poor carrot slices and the seven peas on the side looked like orphans who were there just to give some colour to a tasteless plate. But I was there; I was eating the food, saying how wonderful it was and congratulating the chef! Then I left as fast as I could.

That was definitely a heavy …chicken because I could feel it moving around in my stomach for hours after I left Mandy’s restaurant. I suppose the conversation about Greek politics didn’t help much either. So here I was in the metro, trying to read my book, still a few stops from my house when I heard a loud “Moi!” Pieteri of course, had spotted me from the other side of the carriage, and he was trying to show me how happy was to see me, but after I waved hi he …ignored me and started talking loudly to the woman next to him. The way she looked at me, I was sure that he was telling her about me. Probably complaining about the linguistic problems he had with me.

I got back home and of course one of the first things I did was to prepare an instant cappuccino and head for the patio to have a cigarette. Instinctively my eyes went straight away to Leena’s balcony and he was there. Alone, and looking at me! Strange, but with this and that happening, the last couple of days he had escaped from my mind; obviously I hadn’t escaped from his since he was looking at me intentionally. I nodded and he pretended that he didn’t see me, so I just sat down looking to the other side and smoked my cigarette. The man saw a threat in me, for his own reasons, a threat I could not understand but sense. And yes, I have to admit that Leena is a sexy woman but at the moment I had too many things on my mind to start flirting with my neighbour. Actually it had never crossed my mind, I acknowledge that she was sexy; really attractive that’s how far I was going.

And I suppose it is Murphy’s Law or something like that, but while I was thinking those things, Leena walked in front of my patio on her way home and of course she stopped. Obviously she hadn’t seen Juha or if she had, she pretended that she hadn’t. “Hi, how are you?” I said hello with a smile and I said that I was fine returning the question, “a bit tired, we had a hard day today, a small accident with a school bus!” I asked if anybody was seriously hurt but she answered with a smile that nothing had really happened, just percussion, “but you can imagine having twelve kids in the room exited with the accident and on the same time their parents were worrying that something had happened and they couldn’t see it!” I laughed, of course I could imagine; every time my daughter fell it was like a catastrophe and of course every time she cried I was in total hysteria. I could definitely empathize with the parents.

“How’s your book going?” she asked, and I tried to explain one more time that this book was a slow process, mainly because it had to much of myself in it. I think I say the same thing every time somebody asks me about the book, the very same book that supposedly is the centre of my creation the last fifteen years. In the meantime I have written tens of other things, from short stories to other books, but I never finished ‘the book’. The book is still in a very primitive condition; I still collect and write notes, here and there without any real connection. I suppose writing something that is inspired from the history of your own family has a lot of black holes. Somehow you have to face your own self and your ghosts and I’m not sure if I’m ready for that yet. Odd, because one of the ghosts that haunts me is my father and the man has been dead for over thirty-five years now. I suppose that makes him the real ghost of my life; he’s always there with me, I’m scared that he will criticize me and he is always ready to encourage.

Losing a parent at a young age is one of the things that have bothered psychologists throughout the history of the science, and I suppose I am a good example of that. All the problems that followed after his death changed everything dramatically in my life. Of course I didn’t say any of this to Leena, but I’m sure that she sensed my thoughts, because she asked if I wanted to come around for an afternoon drink. “Plain coffee” she explained with a smile, and of course stupid me, I answered mechanically, yes, why not! “Good, I think Juha is home already!” as she said this, she looked over at her house, pretending that she just saw him and waved. I had to go inside to get my shoes, and when I met her on the path on the way to her house, Juha was waiting for us at the front door.

He took her in his arms and gave her a really passionate kiss, which definitely was a show for me, “Hi! How are you?” he said with his heavy Finnish accent. I tried to be nice and answered that I was fine, but Leena interrupted me saying, “he is a bit sad, so we’ve better make a coffee and see if we can find anything that will make him happy!” she was acting like a sixteen-year-old, full of energy and passion. Without letting go of Juha’s hand, she went inside, leaving me behind to follow them and close the door. I suppose I was family now, and this was her way to make me feel comfortable. 

All characters and events depicted are fictional, and any resemblance to persons living, dead, or fictional or situations past, present, or fictional is purely and completely coincidental. 


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