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10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 35 10 Helsinginkatu: Chapter 35
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-07-27 08:26:18
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35. Tears for Da Vinci
Coffee was ready in a minute and mine had no alcohol in it this time. I had already explained to her in detail that due to my health condition and all the medication I take, alcohol is something I should avoid most of the time. Juha, on the other hand, didn’t feel it was too early and he had the bottle next to his cup, refilling it every so often.


The conversation was all about the weather and life in Finland this time. Of course I was obliged to answer the usual questions and uncomfortably excuse why I left my country to immigrate here, while every Finn dreams of living where I come from. I had the feeling of a déjà vu, and I think we had the same discussion last time I was here – but then again Juha had gone over the top with alcohol that time so I bet he had no idea what we talked about.

“Are you reading anything good lately?” Juha asked, surprising me with his question. Actually yes, I said, ‘the God’s spy’ “Wow, philosophy?” Leena said. No, no, it’s a mystery story which takes place in the Vatican, no secret codes though! I added, joking about the fashionable Da Vinci Code. Juha just kept looking at me. “You didn’t like the Da Vinci Code?” she was definitely surprised. It’s not that I didn’t like the book; on the contrary I think it is a fantastic choice for holidays in the seaside, but that’s it! I think people took it too seriously and they make too much from it! “I loved the book!” Leena said quietly while Juha kept looking at me quietly.

“Have you read anything about Da Vinci?” he asked after a few minutes of awkward silence. Well I read about him and his work when I was at college, taking art history lessons. “So you know that he was one of the founders of the Masons and another secret society and that everything is coded in his work!” Juha, Da Vinci’s work is unbelievable, the man discovered the airplane before people even thought about it, and he actually designed a tank. Yes, perhaps he was a mason just like Mozart’s father and others at the time, who wanted to survive among kings and emperors, but a secret society and codes that can affect us today …well, I don’t believe in E.T. either! And I finished with a laugh. Juha was not laughing.

“You know, for somebody who says that he reads a lot, you are very ignorant!” The bad English and strong Finnish accent made it sound much worse, but I was trying to keep myself calm, ‘it’s just a book, man!’ I said quietly, trying not to make any sudden move. “No, it’s not just a book!” and now his voice was a lot louder, he sounded hysterical. “I’m going out for a walk!” he said after a minute of staring at Leena, then he stormed out of the house, knocking the door hard behind him. Leena looked confused, as if she didn’t whether to run after him or stay with me. It’s alright, I’m leaving, I said, trying to help her come out of the unfortunate situation she was in. I left and she followed me, running after him, or at least in the direction she thought he had gone. Strangely, but while he was staring at her, I thought that I could see his blood ring shining more, like there was real blood inside the rock.

It suddenly hit me. I had almost forgotten about the strange ring, and now it was all coming back to me. I still had no answers, and Risto hadn’t come as he had promised, to help me with some explanation about the damn thing. I went home, wondering what was happening, whether Leena had found him and if he had calmed down. God, once again I have to say that Finns and alcohol don’t make a nice cocktail. It took me a while to calm down. Half an hour later I was out on the patio, a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I saw Leena slowly returning from her hunt. I stepped out and called her name. She suddenly looked very tired and I could see that she had been crying.

I tried to make her come in, offering a cup of tea or whatever else she wanted, but she didn’t want anything. The only thing she told me was that he had left for somewhere in east Finland to see his kids and he was planning to stay there for a few days. Instinctively I looked at her arm, which she was trying to cover while she was talking. A huge bruise was there, at the moment bright red, but it would obviously turn purple after a few hours. I didn’t ask, I knew. The size of the bruise and the force of the blood ring, the details stormed into my mind and made me feel dizzy. She looked at me and realized what was I looking at and what made me suddenly stop talking, and she said, “He loves me.” Then she ran back to her place.

I never understood how this works. How you can make love turn into so much physical pain? I sat down, not knowing what to think. Should I speak to her, should I speak to him? But then again, he would get angry with me and beat her again because that was the bitter truth, Leena was constantly being beaten by Juha and she kept defending him. I needed something stronger than an instant coffee with a lot of milk, but the time and the place was wrong. I should have accepted the drink Juha offered me an hour ago, I thought and I smiled bitterly!

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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