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A night out in Turku A night out in Turku
by Alexander Mikhaylov
2008-09-14 08:12:00
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Al lit a roll-up and spat fragments of loose tobacco on the palm of his hand.
‘Damn these things,’- he grumbled.
‘Disgusting, aren’t they?’  –Olga said. 
‘Maybe we should buy real cigarettes, huh?’
‘No. That’ll be too pricey. I’d rather have wine and smoke this stuff,’ - he wiped the palm on his pants and sighed.
‘I mean, we can buy real cigarettes sometimes but then we’d have to cut down smoking, you know.’
‘I prefer not to cut down smoking. How ‘bout another drink?’  
‘In a sec… What were you saying before?’ 
‘I’ve been saying that it would be nice to break routine around here sometimes.’
‘I agree.’
‘I mean, we could go out sometimes or something. Maybe to some pub or a restaurant, or a club...’
‘Cannot say I’ve missed a bar crowd that much.’
‘I know, I know.’
Al groaned. They downed their drinks and stared at empty glasses, lost in thoughts. 
‘I didn’t know you wanted to go out. Today is Saturday, mind,’- Olga said.
‘I didn’t mean to say ‘Let’s go out today’, OK? I was talking about future. It would be a good idea to go places sometimes. That’s all I said,’- Al replied.
‘Sometimes, huh? Why not today then?’
‘You’re kidding.’
‘No, I mean it. Today is as good as any; on the other hand, it does not do much good to sit around here and to mop about it, does it? Oh come on, let’s do it, like in old times.’
‘You’ve said only kids go out on Saturdays.’
‘We used to go out on Saturdays.’
Al nodded with sadness.
‘There are no decent places in this town anyway,’ – He said after a while.
‘There are clubs and bars in this town.’
‘Oh yeah?’
‘Do you mean to say to me that there are actual clubs and pubs in this town?’
‘Oh stop it, for God’s sake. You know perfectly well there are clubs and pubs around here.’
‘Give me a break.’
‘Listen, let’s do it. What the Hell! Let’s do it now.’
‘All right, if you’re serious…’
‘Yeah, I’m serious.’

The air outside smelled of wet leaves. Puffs of mist drifted above the ground. They walked up to a bus stop and scrutinized the timetable.
‘I think the bus should come in fifteen minutes,’- Olga said.
 ‘Shit. We’ll die here from cold.’
‘I’ve told you - it’s Saturday.’
‘So what?’
‘There are fewer busses on Saturdays.’
‘Listen, let’s go home,’- Al said.
‘Come on, let’s move on. Let’s walk down to the next stop.’
‘What if the bus comes? We’ll miss it.’
‘We’ve got tons of time and it’ll take only a few minutes.’

They walked to the next bus stop. Three teenage boys and two teenage girls were standing there and waiting for the bus too. The girls talked in hushed voices, the boys smoked, spat on the asphalt and pushed each other playfully. From time to time, the whole group broke into hysterical giggles. They glanced sideways at Olga and Al and went on smoking, pushing and giggling.
‘I bet these kids are heading in the same direction,’ – Olga mumbled.
‘Aren’t they a bit young for clubbing?’
‘I’ve no idea.’
‘Listen, let’s go back home for God’s sake.’
‘But I want to go to downtown now.’
‘OK, but don’t blame me later then.’
‘All right. I thereby declare that it is entirely my decision to go to downtown now, OK?’

They waited for a bit longer, trying to ignore kids then Olga said:
‘Let’s go to the next stop. I think we’ve still got time. I’m tired of standing here.’
‘All right.’

They began walking further down the road. Al kept throwing occasional back glimpses but the bus seemed to be nowhere in sight.
‘Do you think it’d come at all? We’ve been waiting for ever,’ – Al said then he heard a low rumble.
They turned around and watched the bus as it approached the stop they had just abandoned, paused there for a few moments then drove on. 
‘We should have waited,’ – Al moaned. Something cold began to trickle down his face.
‘Al! Open your umbrella, quickly!’- Olga snapped. 
‘Shit. I left it at home.’
‘What? Are you crazy? It’s November. How could you go outside without an umbrella?’
‘How come you didn’t take your umbrella?’
‘I thought you’d take yours.’
‘Damn. I thought you would.’

They boarded the bus a good half an hour later. The salon was packed with drunken university students, sitting in clusters and shouting to each other across seats.  Olga was watching them for some time then tugged at Al’s sleeve.
‘I changed my mind. Let’s get out of here. Let’s go home.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes. If it’s OK with you...’
‘It’s OK with me, yeah.’

They got out of the bus.
‘Jeez, I saw this crowd and I realized that I didn’t want to go out any longer,’ – Olga exhaled with relief.
‘Yeah, I felt the same.’
‘Why didn’t you tell me then?’
‘I thought you still wanted to go out.’
‘I thought you did.’
‘Well, it’s the good thing that you’ve told me. Well, shall we go home?’
‘Yeah, let’s move. The rain is getting heavier.’

It was a long walk back home and now it was raining in earnest. By the time they progressed half way they were drenched all through.
‘That was your fucking idea!’ – Al growled, wiping his face with his sleeve.
‘Sure. And it was my fault that you left an umbrella at home. Only a complete idiot would leave it at home in weather like this.’

They quarreled until they grew tired of it and fell into silence.
‘Al, let’s check some local place, how about that? I mean, even if we didn’t go downtown we still can go to some pub near home,’ – Olga said after a while.
‘All right. Let’s do that or I’d feel we’ll be complete losers.’

They approached one of the neighborhood restaurants and peered though a window. A moment later, an elderly lady walked out of the restaurant’s glass door and leaned against the wall. She wore an expensively looking fur coat. Her sagging, heavily powdered face was deathly pale. She seemed to be very drunk. Al watched as taxi drove up to the restaurant entrance then a barman walked out and helped the lady into the backseat. As he was doing that, he threw at Olga and Al a hostile glance.
‘You know, I don’t really like this place, ‘– Olga said.
‘Don’t like it either,’- Al said.
‘It looks trashy.’
‘It does.’
‘Maybe we should go straight home.’
‘Yeah. I think it’ll be a good idea.’

Back in their apartment, they changed into dry clothes and poured themselves drinks.
‘I think we need it. It’s the best medicine against the cold, ‘– Olga said.

They downed their drinks then helped themselves to another. There wasn’t much left of the evening but they felt content at last.

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