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10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 7 10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 7
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-02-08 09:51:37
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7. The bloody ring

We were still in the Sport’s Pub drinking our lagers slowly and waiting for another friend to join us so we could move all together to the next pub. The girl from the bar had already come around to pick our plates and asked if we wanted another pint. We were all fine; I suppose we were all keeping for the next pub where the company was going to get bigger and the thirst higher. Richard and Marc had moved from the Barbie to football which made more sense in the place we were and Clint joined exactly the moment we were sharing memories from the last time any of us had been to a real game, for me had been over a decade and I hate that.

I’m not one of these ‘real’ football fans despite the fact that I support a certain team since I could remember myself, I think I have all my life been one of those sofa-fans, I enjoy watching football in front of the television with a big pizza and a lot of beer! I enjoy the swearing part as well, probably because in general I don’t swear. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a game at the stadium, it is just more …comfortable or I’m lazy, I’m not sure what’s going on and the funny thing is that for years I used to buy season tickets to go only two or three games a season. I suppose it was my way to show my support to the team trying to ignore the fact that the only thing I was supporting was the owner’s pocket.

Clint joined the conversation easily; my problem was that I could not join Clint. When a language is not your native doesn’t matter how well you might speak it there are always people you don’t understand all the time and I had this problem with Clint, I understand something like half of the things he says and after one point I just node without understanding a word he says. So Clint was talking with me just nodding, Marc and Richard were adding something to what Clint was saying and I had turned off; well not entirely. Where had the man with the gray coat and the red box had gone? And what made him familiar?

And then we paid quickly because it was about time to move to the other pub and meet the rest of the lonely hearts’ club! I will explain another time what this lonely hearts' club is. I was not exactly in the mood to return home and lock myself in front the computer screen so I decided to join for a couple of drinks, after all I needed a bourbon because I could still feel the man’s eyes staring at me. Damn, what was it that thing that made him in a weird way so familiar? In the next pub we were apparently early so we decided to sit outside on the protected area of the pub and have a cigarette. It was amazing how easily people adapted the new cigarette laws. Two years ago if anybody had said that we would go to the pub and not be able to smoke most of us would have at least laughed. Two years after we were sitting outside in the cold, thick jackets, hats and gloves on enjoying our cigarette before stepping inside.

The pub owners, clever creatures had created little areas in the backyards of their pubs decorating them with comfortable chairs and big heating lamps to make the cold somehow acceptable making us smokers have the illusion that there was a friendly place for us in a state that was after us with prejudice that sometimes gets serious but this is another story I will have the chance to analyze another time. At the moment the four of us were sitting comfortably with jackets, hats and gloves on enjoying our drinks and a cigarette. Well not exactly the four of us since Marc is not smoking and always complaining that because of our nasty habit he has to suffer. I think the next time he will nag about that I will force a cigarette in his mouth.

Anyway we were sitting there the four of us, the three smoking and all four drinking when I noticed that Richard who was sitting on the other side had his left arm hanging from the chair’s side lose and I noticed that he was the only one who didn’t have his gloves on. The other thing I noticed was his hand, actually his fingers, Richard was wearing a wedding ring and that made all the pieces in the puzzle fit, I know now what caught my eye so much with the man with the gray coat in the other pub. Damn! It was a ring! That was it! The man was wearing a strange and big ring. The weird thing about it? The big red stone, actually the really big red stone and the red was so strong and somehow bright. A bloody ring. A literally bloody ring because the red stone in the middle had the colour of blood and most important I had seen this stone before! And I had seen before the gray coat and the Nazi soldier’s t-shirt and the weird look.

“When we finished with our drinks we will go upstairs, are you going to join us?” Mark asked and my answer came with no second thought. “Thanks lad, I might go to the cinema or something, not much in the mood for this sort of evening!” Marc gave me one of this, ‘I knew you would say that’ looks. “Join us for a couple of beers!” Richard added. It would have been fine if the four of us would have gone to a quiet pub with gentle rock music where we could hear each other and I would even make an effect to understand Clint but a noisy Irish pub was not exactly what I needed and then I wanted some quiet to think. Marc saved me making a comment about the losers’ club that was waiting upstairs and they left leaving me alone in the backyard of the Irish pub.

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