39. Talking with Leena about love
Actually she suggested it herself! Well, not bourbon, but definitely whisky. So there we were, the two of us drinking in the afternoon. Two handicapped people, one with a glass of whisky and the other with bourbon. And all this despite the strict restrictions our doctors have put on us. We joked about the fit our doctors would have if they could see us, but the humour didn’t really work. Leena was everywhere in our minds and she left no room for humour.
“The blood ring,” Leena said, after we had our second round of drinks, “means absolutely nothing. As a ring it’s crap, useless. I remember them as well, just like your friend said, but obviously it means something to Juha, otherwise he wouldn’t have bothered to show it off!” I agreed, the ring was important to him, or as I added, it might have caught my eye and I made something out of nothing. She agreed. Still the damn ring was one of the little mysteries that made up the puzzle of Juha.
“I’m staying with my sister again this week.” Leena said, “The elevator is broken again!” This was hard for me to understand. Leena lives in a building in my neighbourhood, which was made especially for people with her kind of problems, with wide doors and special made elevators and alleys. I think there are four people with wheelchairs living in the building. Still every so often there is a problem with the elevator, and it always takes at least a week to fix it. It just doesn’t make sense to me, and it is definitely unfair for these people, who either have to stay inside until the problem is fixed, or they have to move somewhere else for a few days. Leena is one of the lucky ones, with her sister living close by. But it’s very unfair for the others, who have their closest help maybe on the other side of the city, or on the other side of the country, not to mention those who might not have any help at all.
But again, Leena’s and Juha’s problem seemed heavier than any damaged lift at the moment. “Have you ever fallen blindly in love?” Leena asked, looking at her glass. I think I have, but it is so long ago that I’m not sure if it was true or my just my imagination. “Did she leave you?” She left everybody, including herself. “Sorry!” It’s fine, it’s a really long time ago and I think she wanted to finish that way anyway. “I’m sorry, I didn’t want to remind you of things.” It is ok Leena, you know, despite what people say, time doesn’t heal; it just makes pain more acceptable, affordable, I can’t think of any other way to put it. “You loved her?” She meant everything to me, and she taught me everything. In a very peculiar way she’s the one who taught me to love life during a very strange turn in my life and she taught me to do the things I want to do and not the things I must do. Strange, we often say this, but we rarely do it. I felt like laughing, but only a sigh came out before I continued. But now things have changed, obviously the doctors found my Achilles heel and they have filled me with musts. This time I laughed, but my laugh was bitter so I tried to sweeten it up with some bourbon. Leena looked at me quietly.
What about you Leena, have you ever been in love this way? “You are trying to escape the rest of the story with a question!” True, but I did want to know. “I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately…” she stopped and looked at her legs, “especially since I know it will never happen!” She looked at me and I felt like she was trying to see through my eyes. “I never loved, I never loved crazy, I never loved blindly, I never fell in love!” This conversation was going nowhere good and whisky was becoming a bad choice, I could feel it. “I read about it and I heard about it. Do you believe that even this very minute, on one hand I despise Juha, and on the other hand I wish it had been a Juha for me, just to give me the memory of a desperate love, the mistake, the sin.” On the same time as she said this, faces from my past paraded in my mind. This conversation was not going well at all.
“You know lately I stopped counting the people I love, and started thinking of the ones who love me, and all the time I finish with my sister. Not my father, not my mother, only my sister.” Her voice had a bit of anger in it now. “You know, when we were little, we hated each other; it was her taking my dolls or me breaking her bicycle. There were always fights and drama, and that continued when we got older; it was either my make-up or the boy she liked. Always the same; always fights. With my brother it was totally different. He would even take me out with him when he was going to meet his friends. My brother hasn’t spoken to me for the last five years, he calls at Christmas to wish me well and that’s it. The last time we met, he said that he is poor and that he doesn’t have money to look after me and after all I used to have a good job so I should have saved enough money for the difficult times and not expect from others to help me. The best thing is that I never asked for help; I have enough money and the state gives me enough, I only need the company and the love!” Juha had obviously done something to all of us that day. Leena and her job was not enough for him: he had to wake up monsters we kept asleep and quiet.
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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