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Back to Helsinginkatu 10: Chapter 12 Back to Helsinginkatu 10: Chapter 12
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-07-05 08:54:56
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12. Alexei and a friend from the past

Looking at Alexei while he was talking with Ivan I started thinking how easily we include and conclude death in our life. Heart attack and we feel relieved, we understand it we can live and continue living with it. It was the same with murder. Murdered by a drunken bum in Sörnäinen. That was another solace. The semantics of the place was relieving; it is like murder happens every two seconds in Sörnäinen, like it is a natural thing for the area. Somebody was murdered in Sörnäinen and life goes on.

The same time I was feeling really sorry for Pekka, I suppose guesswork and waiting was what this case was all about for him with everybody pointing anonymously at a geographic area, a neighbourhood in Helsinki with the wrong reputation.

Alexei kept talking with Ivan in Russian with Ivan obviously more tensed and Alexei mainly listening, here and there I could pick the word police but nothing seemed familiar, naturally Ivan was angry with the police suspecting his friend which was the obvious thing for the police to do. I looked at Alexei, he was listening Ivan looking at his beer and it was like he was here with and not. Probably in denial feeling that it was all an exosomatic experience; it was happening to somebody else and not to him. I could sense it with the way he couldn’t focus to anything. First it was the beer, then the bartender and the screen that had started playing karaoke songs showing forests and lakes. The fast changing pictures in the big screen seemed somehow to comfort him because somehow the lines on his face soften.

“I’m sorry we speak Russian,” Ivan said but I nodded that it doesn’t matter; I did understand that he needed to say all these things to his friend, somehow it was comforting him. Alexei compared with Ivan looked so fragile. How can you profile a person like him? I shook my head and I had a bit of my beer. The beer was really bad and especially after so long standing in front of me and getting wormer. Alexei was a very ordinary man of his age, obviously hard working; you could see it from his hands and the hard lines on his face. And talking about faces I must had a weird smile on my face because they both looked at me the same time. I need a cigarette, I said and I jumped out without saying anything else.

Sometimes you think are thinking two things the same time and without understanding the deeper thought is taking over making an unnecessary statement. I suppose that had just happened to me. While I was trying to profile Alexei I thought of all those televised series with profilers and smart detectives and how smartass they act. I mean they just look at somebody and they can tell you from the colour of underwear they are wearing to what they had for breakfast that morning. Of course reality has absolutely nothing to do with it. Profiling depends on statistics and probabilities and sitting somebody in a very bad karaoke pub in nowhere for a few minutes having really bad beer was not exactly the ideal situation to profile him.

I had no idea what Alexei had for breakfast that morning and definitely I didn’t care what short of underwear he wore. He looked a very normal man, acting normally under the circumstances. The man had obviously lost somebody he loved and he was confused, in denial and definitely started having guilt problems and if he was innocent the police wasn’t helping much. But I suppose this big if was what the police was looking for. While smoking my cigarette outside the pub in the company of the woman who had entered before I was trying to think what I should ask him. The photo kept coming in my mind, the girl looked so innocent and so in love, well he looked in love as well and somehow the photo seemed to be resent, so no doubt this couple loved each other. It was not just chemistry, they were looking at each other’s eyes and it was not an intentional pose, the photo was taken obviously from somebody else while they were not looking. But again the girl was murdered. Perhaps Ivan and the media were right, one of those usual suspects who seem to often be around that area was guilty for this crime.

And I’m not sure why but the Zepo came to my mind that moment. Zepo was working for a political party when I did some work for them and he was married with a Kurdish girl. Actually Zepo had to change religion in order to get married something that obviously had put a lot of pressure on him. Not because he was any kind of religious person, but because he was forced to accept something in exchange of something that had nothing to do with religion. Gradually we had become friends, often going out for a drink while the election period I was mainly working for the party and Zepo had told me stories I had found difficult to believe.

His wife had to get permission to marry him not only from her father but from a local council based in Helsinki with religious figures from different Islamic nation and of course the first thing they demanded from him was to become Muslim. He told me how difficult it had been, it was like wearing a suit that didn’t fit him as he said and it was something he had to deal with all the time even in his most private moments with his wife. The same time he was upset for his son because he constantly felt that his son growing up missing things due to his religion in a country that actually has nothing to do with Islam. Fine, Peka was in my list, I had to see him as soon as possible.

I returned inside to find Alexei and Ivan quiet looking at their beers. New paints had replaced the old ones including my half finished. I could see Alexei’s eyes moistening and Ivan uncomfortable not knowing what to do. Alexei was obviously going from denial to sorrow and an alpha mail was the worst companion at the moment. Shall we move from here? I asked; I feel like we could all could do with a cigarette. Ivan smiled nervously and Alexei nodded, they both drank most of their beer without a breathe, I let mine for the old man next table that had already realized that I was not going to drink it and felt that it shouldn’t go wasted; I nodded to him that he can have it and we left. Next stop was going to be Alexei’s house!

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