37. Leena’s news
I was sitting there, not being able to say a word, feeling like somebody had thrown a glass of cold water at my face. Leena sat on the other side of the table, having a cup of herbal tea in front of her and a thin smile on her face. “It was Juha’s idea!” Of course it was his idea but no word was coming out of my mouth. “We will be more together, he will be able to come to my work and keep me company!” Err was the first thing that came out of my mouth and it stopped there.
I had met Leena in the mall in the news’ agency, while I was browsing through the foreign newspapers and magazines, something I often do without necessarily buying any. It is nice to have the feeling of the newspaper paper going through your fingers, but to buy one …hmmm! First of all, the newspapers come one or two days late and the internet is always cheaper to read the news and the variety much bigger. Anyway I was checking a magazine about photography, and my mind was definitely not on this earth when I felt a hand brushing on my arm, I turned around and there was Leena, with a big smile on her face.
Hey, what are you doing here? I asked, wondering more over the time of the day than the place. It was after eleven, which according to her usual routine meant that she was either at work or on her way to work, and the news agency was quite far away from her way. “I got some news and plenty of time for a coffee, you buy!” She had a sort of playful grin on her face, making me to leave the magazine straight away and follow her upstairs to the coffee shop. Cappuccino for me, herbal tea for her and the first shock came after the first taste of the cappuccino, the second followed fast after and then she didn’t give me the chance to take a breath and on top of that I could not light the cigarette I desperately needed.
Juha had come back from the east, or wherever he had been for a week, full of apologies and excuses. He promised that things were going to change and he said that he was finishing his book. But the best part was that a friend of his had a pub somewhere in Helsinki, she didn’t mention the area. The friend needed an assistant and he was going to pay well; much better than what she was earning now. The man had helped Juha a lot in the past so he owned him a favour, and she had to help him. And there was something else; he would be able to go around any time of the day and be with her - something he could not do when she was working as a nurse. The best thing he kept for the end, and this made her mind up. He couldn’t stand the smell of sick anymore; a smell she carried with her all the time, according to Juha!
I wanted to scream but I couldn’t, not because of the place but because no sound was coming out of my mouth. God, how stupid can some women be, that’s the only thing I could think of; until I remembered some very embarrassing moments of my past and things I did for women. I took a deep breath and I gave it a try. Leena, have you got any idea of the difficulties of working in a pub? I mean the hours and the people you will have to deal with? “It’s going to be fine, I will do a job I enjoy, meeting and socializing with new people all the time, having a drink and always being at ease. No uniform, no acting codes and no restrictions.” And what happens when somebody is drunk and becomes violent? “Juha will be around!” That’s what exactly I wanted to hear!
Leena, you stretched yourself to get to where you are in your job, and now you are giving it all up to become a bartender? I sounded cruel but there was nothing else to say. “Listen, I have thought about it and I made my decision, I resigned an hour ago! I just have to stay a couple of more weeks until they find a replacement and three weeks after I start at the new place!” Did you tell them why you resigned and about your new career? “Of course not!” she said loud. Somewhere inside, perhaps deep inside she knew that what she was doing was wrong and she was feeling embarrassed about it, otherwise she would have told them, but she didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t say anything; Leena was obviously bewitched by the blood ring and the thought made me shiver.
It was amazing that she couldn’t see my objections, she could only see her joy, however real it was… if only a result of nervousness. She asked me if I wanted to have lunch with her and Juha, she was going to meet him soon and tell him the exciting news about her resignation. Then they were going to visit his friend’s pub to have a first look. I declined, coming up with any excuse I could think of. The last thing I wanted was to meet Juha, it would definitely be hard for me to keep my mouth shut. I had had enough of him, and it was building up. Then again, it was not my business to say anything, it was her life and Leena is definitely a grown up woman with enough brains - at least in theory!
Watching her walk away from the café, I was trying to think of more excuses not to do anything or say anything. After drinking the last bitter bits of my coffee, I nearly ran outside the mall for a cigarette. Somebody said something to me while I was walking in the alley on my way outside, but I was just too much in my own thoughts and my anger to notice. The only thing I could think of was I needed a damn cigarette.
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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