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10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 19 10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 19
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-03-25 07:42:17
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19. The man who reads a lot

“Hi, I remember you don’t speak Finnish!” she said with a beautiful smile on her face. “Hi!” I answered back surprised. “Sorry to surprise you like that but we just come back from the supermarket and we forgot to buy sugar, can you give me some and I promise to return it soon!” I just loved the way she spoke English and her Finnish accent. I told her to step in and naturally she took off her shoes and followed me in the kitchen where I found the sugar pack and filled a small plastic bag.

“You have got a lot of books!” the kitchen is somehow open space and you can see the living room which has bookcases wall to wall and you can see that the books are three and four rows piling one on top of the other. “Yes… and obviously not much room for them!” I said smiling. “You must meet Juha!” and obviously feeling the question on whom the hell Juha is she continued, “he is my boyfriend, he is an author and he reads a lot! What are you doing?” I just love reading! “Oh that will be wonderful to meet, Juha is very …reading person and he really knows a lot!”

Juha’s face shown anything else than a …reading person but who am I to tell? I answered …we will see which for the ones who know me has a special meaning. When I say ‘…we will see’ it means in a very kind way …no! Obviously Leena didn’t get it and she just said, “What about tomorrow, I will be home early like today and we can have coffee all together!” and then while putting her shoes on she added, “And I will have your sugar as well!” and with that she walked out and disappeared from my sight letting me looking at the two wet stamps her shoes had left on the floor.

When I lived in Japan for three years I liked this habit, to take off your shoes when you enter a house and I have to admit I was somehow gladly surprised when I saw it again in Finland. Of course the reasoning is different and it makes far more sense in Finland than it did in Japan. When you coming from a snowy and full of mud outside to a clean inside is natural and logic to take off your shoes in the entrance of the house. Still I have to admit that I hate it when I wear boots which have long and complicated bootlaces. But I did learn, slowly but I did. Nowadays I’m wearing short boots easy to take them off and the only thing you have to make sure is that your socks don’t have holes!

So now we have a name and a short of description even though a person who reads a lot doesn’t make much sense, by the way an unbelievable person I met a few years ago here in Helsinki and one of the most prejudice often to the limits of racism told me one day ‘who you think you are and you have so many books!’ Amazing but true the best part of this person is that he passes himself in Finland for an intellectual and another cute part, he is a foreigner but I have said it before, one of the worst enemies for the immigrants are other foreigners especially the ones who got finally the citizenship, they are often the reason for a lot of misery and acts that under different circumstances would have been consider criminal. But I suppose asking for justice when you are a foreigner is somehow …not practical!

I looked my bookcase and I did admit that I need more bookcases but there is a very critical problem, there is no space for more bookcases since at the moment they have got every possible wall all around the house and this is definitely not a small house. But what a lot of books make? He might be a teacher but he didn’t look like a teacher; he might be some kind of researcher! That could be, the ones I have met they looked a bit weird, but then again how can you indentify weird, I suppose for some people I look weird in my age with my ponytail.

I tried to call Marc again but he didn’t answer so I decided that after this visit and the invitation which I had the feeling that Leena considered as accepted I needed a cappuccino urgently so putting on my jacket I stormed out in the street and then to the metro. Another neighbour was walking with me to the metro and I have to admit that she was a real sight. We had never spoken and she was the type I think she will never speak to me or anybody else. You must have seen the ones who follow this Goth-fashion, all black, eyes, clothes just everything and the most amazing thing about her is that she is carrying a handbag in the shape of a small coffin! She lives with the man in an apartment just next to the new Leena’s house and her boyfriend is another amazing story. The man must be in his late forties, really tall; always dressed in black like the girlfriend. Balding head with hair only behind his head and mainly behind his ears but really long all the way to his back. I have thought many times to make a fiction story or a cartoon with them but somehow and in a very twisted way they look the most normal people I have seen, at least in my neighbourhood!

You see if you put aside their looks they are a very quiet and loving couple and they actually show it, you can see it in the way they treat quietly each other when they walk in the small neighbourhood road or when they are going to the metro. I have even met them a couple of times in the big mall and they are always side by side walking quietly like floating. Oddly this is a couple that must read a lot and I don’t know how this came to me but this Juha definitely didn’t look like a reading person. But then I just had to wait another day and I would find out and for the first time after long my curiosity won my …I will!

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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