Chapter 33 – Empanadas de Kebab

 

Friday, 5 February 2016.

 

Day 47

 

🎶 The girls need a break, tonight we’re gonna take
The chance to get out on the town
We don’t need romance, we only wanna dance
We’re gonna let our hair hang down 🎵

 

Do I really?

 

“You look good, Anna.” The surgeon arrives and gives her a hot kiss.

She’s not wearing a dress, high heels… Nor red lipstick. She is looking pretty in her own way, thank you very much.

They go and sit down in the second row of the movie theater. Anna’s sister and niece on her right side. Ümit on her immediate left. And next to him, his daughter and Sabri, her fiancé. All united for the Avant Premiere and the spilling of Ümit’s guts.

A typical date. 😁

Very curious to learn about his life…

 

The documentary starts. The lights are dimmed and Anna can sense the surgeon’s nervousness.

He grabs her hand for support. It’s cold and he’s shaking like a wet puppy. Poor doggy. She smiles and assures him that it will be alright – pressing his hand affectionately.

In the very first minutes of the show, there’s a scene in which the surgeon’s daughter is assisting him in filling an online dating form. So, right at the start and Anna already discovers about his preferences in women. Funny.

Everybody in the theater laughs heartily during the show. Well done! Talented director.

The documentary portrays him as a strong-willed, stubborn, funny, hardworking man. A loving/controlling father, whose daughter finally moves to Turkey to have breathing space, connect with their relatives there and grow as a person.

Anna can feel how they love each other immensely. She is happy for them.

Reader dear – yes you! No need to tell you much more, because if you’re the curious type, I’m sure you can easily google up this documentary, using just your brain a few key words.

Flashforward to October 2017 and Anna’s at the cottage again, one of her favorite places on Earth.

Writing.

She calls Ümit from there. She wants to ask for his permission to write about their dates, since he can potentially be recognizable.

“How are you, Anna? he asks with his sexy accent and warm style “Have you remarried?”

“Oh, not yet,”  she laughs “but I did fall in love last year…”

“Really, tell me about it!”

“That’s why I’m calling you, tbh. I’m writing a book…”

“Interesting…” he comments. With a rising, curious, investigative pitch in his friendly voice.

“It’s about the experience of being a woman, a mother, an ex-wife, a teacher, a friend… A vulnerable, yet strong human being. Someone who, though brokenhearted, still has the courage to believe in new love. She needs to deconstruct and reconstruct herself. She just needs to find out who she is now. And she joins Tinder and, voilá, you’re one of her dates. Number 9. Just 46 days after her separation.”

“Wow, you were quick and active!”

“Oh, I met Mr. Boyfriend a few dates after ours. Actually, just a few days after meeting you, as well.”

“Haha. Good. And is he from Finland??”

“Well, you’ll have to read the story to find out. You know how poker-faced, mysterious and slow Finnish guys can be, don’t you? But I won’t reveal anything at this point.

“So… I’ve reached the chapter where it’s time to write about meeting you. And… our dates were so different from the others. Really fun (well, mostly), that I’d rather not change them too much, if that’s OK…?

“You know, I was lonely and I direly wanted some fun that evening. You distracted me. I needed that!”

“Good, good.”

“I can change many details in my writing. For example, if you want I can say you came from abroad to Helsinki for a medical conference. We matched, and you took me to the conference gala as your +1. A gala where you were going to give a speech and receive a prize? What do you say?”

“Hmm. Let me think for a second. Maybe you could just change my name and my city? Now I’m seeing a nurse, but at the time I wasn’t seeing anyone. We were both single, we had a good time. So…”

“Yes, and I want to describe all the positive stuff.”

“Yes. You do that. It’s your story. Write from your heart. Maybe I can proofread before you publish it?”

“Yes. And do send me a Turkish name you’d like? On WhatsApp?”

 

Ding!

Anna receives some suggestions to choose from. As well as…

 

Write briefly about our night ending with talks about religion.

Did it happen? Remind me please. Tell me what you remember and I’ll use some of it. Co-author. 🙂

I remember feeling excited! Let’s meet and reconstruct it all again?

Funny guy! Now I know why I had such a great time with you!

Seriously!

Hmm. I’ll think about it.

 

Ümit says he could be a gynecological surgeon in the story. What else? Anna emails him the previous chapter and he likes it.  He’s quite flattered and wants nothing changed. I told you he likes the spotlights. Artistic man!

 

But now, back to Day 47 and our second date…

Ümit is being interviewed on stage after the documentary. He looks pleased. And relieved.

Anna’s sister congratulates him and leaves with her daughter. It’s late. Anna and Ümit walk to the cocktail celebration hand in hand.

There, she meets his people.

This is a very Turkish-South American kind of date. Extended family?? Friends. Ex-wife and her lover! Workmates. The whole bunch.

Bring the kebab already. Empanadas de queso, por favor!

Noisy. Warm.

“Anna, in a couple of years, you will already have raised your teens and we will travel the world together! I’ll buy an apartment in Rio – sea view – and we’re moving in together. OK?”

 

Hours later, after much kissing and some grabbing, Ümit opens his heart a little. He’s looking a bit sad.

“Anna, I have everything. A career (I’m a good surgeon)! A wonderful daughter. Money. Trips.

“A documentary!

“What’s the meaning of life? Where will happiness come from? Does anything make sense?? What about this big void? What else is there?”

“Oh Ümit.” sigh “Those things are all good. You are so privileged!

“Still, I believe that only God can fill our deepest, biggest void.”

“But I don’t believe in God. Isn’t money the god of this world?”

“Well, are people really fulfilled with money, careers and all that stuff?”

“No.”

“So there, you see?

“I’ve had lots of problems and suffering in my life. Everyone suffers in different ways sooner or later, sadly enough. I don’t know where I’d be without my faith in God and the strength I get from it. He is the one who fills my void, ultimately.”

“Really?”

“Yes, and if you want, we could pray…”

He closes his eyes, they hold hands and Anna prays with him. For them.

“Anna, it’s late. Let’s sleep now.”

No! She wants to go home and sleep in her own bed. He walks her to her car, like a gentleman.

 

 

Day 48

 

The next afternoon, he calls her up.

“Anna, let’s meet! Let’s spend the day together. I like you!”

She is feeling a little sad. “No, Ümit. I don’t think we’re right for each other.”

“Ah, come on. Let’s make each other company, have some fun!”

“Thank you, but I think we’re looking for different things in life. You want company and I’m looking for a relationship.”

“Eurgh. Why do women always want to define things? Can’t we just have a good time? I could send you a plane ticket. We could travel together. I’ll cook for you!”

“Ümit. I admire you!

“You paint your own house and plant your own apple trees. You cook like a true chef – I’ve heard. You seem to be a very loving father – raised your daughter alone. While studying Medicine in Finland.

“In Finnish!!

“Becoming a good surgeon in a country like this. That’s impressive.

“But… you smoke, you swear, you like to party hard? I think we’re just too different… Besides, I’m a little angry at you!! So… friends?”

“Thank you! Haha. OK, let’s be friends. Yes.”

“And I think you’ve achieved so much! You could find lots of purpose in helping others with what you have to offer.”

They discuss that for a bit and he gets excited. He says he could start a social project to support single dads. I’d be proud of him if he did that!

There’s a time for everything, but Anna believes that if we’ve been given any strengths and special advantages in life, they’re not to just be used for our own benefit alone. We should try to relieve people’s pain with it. Protect the vulnerable. Help the weak. Bless the needy… Make someone’s life a little happier?

Yes, that’s our main purpose in life.

 

Now, remember the cat?

Well…

…You’ll just have to keep reading. 🐱 Yes?

The gory details. Are you curious? Do you want to know?

© 2017 rf

Obs. All names have been changed, and chat messages were published with the match’s kind permission.

 

Obs. Only day 47 of does everything happen for a reason?

 

 

Chapter 32 – Tinder Date #9

 

Thursday, 4 February, 2016.

 

Day Sorry, I’m a little Tipsy.

 

So, where were we?

Ah, yes.

It’s 6 p.m. that very same evening. An uneventful evening, it’s turned out to be.

Anna’s feeling pretty as she unlocks her door and enters her flat – soaring with stonewalled energy…

 🎵 I was going out tonight, but still feeling alright…🎶

What am I supposed to do?

 

She has a big glass of water and goes to her couch. The apartment is warm and nice. Tidy. No chores to do. She stretches her legs, placing her feet over the coffee table – an old rough chest she’s added wheels to.

Not tired in the slightest.

Ah, I can’t believe I’m here alone!! Free on a Thursday evening!! Eu#r&gh&!!!

And feeling lonesome for a moment, just wanted to have a good time. And nothing?! Seriously?? Humft.

Don’t feel like watching TV.

Anna grabs her phone and starts swiping.

A minute later – literally – and there’s a match. He starts chatting. She checks his profile out.

Mm, good looking.

Such spirit in his eyes.

Oh, he claims to be a doctor. That means smart – and I like smart.

Hmm, foreign name?

Ah, I’ll just google him.

Yes, there’s a Ümit gynecological surgeon in Helsinki. Yep. His photo on google pictures. Let’s see, here’s his clinical practice…

Hmm, I wonder where he’s from?

 

…I’m from Turkey, btw.

Anna, come and have a drink with me? I’m here at Casa Largo. You know the restaurant? Just arrived. Are you busy? Let’s meet!

 

Oh, really? That fast? So different from Finnish guys.

 

Really? Sounds fun, but we’ve just chatted for two minutes.

Literally.

Come on. Are you near? If you have time, it would be nice to meet. Why not? Shall I send you a cab?

 

That’s crazy, but I do like his attitude. 

I don’t know. How about a phone call first?

 

He gives her his number. She thinks for a second.

Ah, what’s the danger? A drink with a surgeon in a central restaurant?

 

She calls him up.

His voice is nice, masculine, fun. There’s a beautiful foreign accent in his English. Kind of sexy.

You see, Anna’s an English teacher and she  a-d-o-r-e-s  foreign accents and World Englishes! Indian English, Nigerian English, Korean English. They’re all cool.

She even tells her pupils, “Speak with an accent – even a strong one. Rally English! But do speak. It gives you personality. It tells me a little of your history. And, hey, can you imagine if Antonio Banderas spoke American English without a Spanish accent? How boring would that be, huh? He would lose half his charm…”

But she could die for a boyfriend with British English.

Sigh, sigh. Hugh Grant! 😍

 

Uh…Where were we again?

Ah, yes.

This Turkish doctor’s so lively. Warm.

Ops. I missed a thing or two he said – daydreaming here. He does sound very convincing, though, doesn’t he? Self-confident. Mmm. I’m hypnotized.

“Ümit, I’ve never accepted a date like this before – before chatting a few times and getting to know the person a little better first…”

“Ah, come o…”

She interrupts him, “But, I happen to be ready – just came home – and I just happen to have time tonight.

“I’ll humor you, go with the flow. Will come by bike and… see you in half an hour?”

“OK, great! I’m very glad. Meet you at the bar, Anna.”

 

Now she’s sitting opposite him at his table. The place is crowded. Loud chatter, everybody well dressed.

Wow, I didn’t know this many people went out on Thursday evenings.

I guess they’re like me? Divorced? Teens quite raised? Time in their hands?

What is this?

 

Ümit is talking, smiling, looking deep into Anna’s eyes. Sweet. Already? Haha.

 

🎵 The best thing about being a woman
Is the prerogative to have a little fun 🎶

He’s fun!

He’s wearing a casual blazer and a nice shirt. His hair is more grayish than in the pics. Ah, but that’s no surprise. Her previous eight dates looked older than in their photos, too. Most of them much older.

I guess guys are just not into having their pictures taken, like us ladies. Not that into their looks – which is good.

Hmm, I wonder if I look older in person, too? Gotta find that out.

Probably.

 

Ümit is making her laugh, he’s so energetic. Very smart. She’s finally having some fun again.

Finally!

That’s what I’m talking about, baby.

It’s distracting. Comforting.

 

“Anna, what would you like to drink?”

“Oh, just water, please. I don’t really drin…”

His turn to interrupt her, “But tonight you’re drinking. he says decisively  “What shall I order?”

“OK…” — maybe just a sip.

She tries to think of any drink names she can recall   “Maybe a caipirinha, then…?”

 

He goes to the bar and comes back with a caipiroska for her. Apparently, they don’t make caipirinhas in Finland. How would I know? I’ve never bought a drink before.

Hmm, it’s delicious.

“You have such beautiful eyes, Anna.”

Sweet-talker. She smiles. Cute.

Just a little flirty – like in South America. I like that.

 

And they’re sitting there smiling, animated. The chat is quick, witty. She’s entertained – and sure. He can feel it.

A couple approaches them and stands by their table. It takes a minute for Anna to realize they remain standing there, frozen. Just looking down at them.

What the heck??!!

Anna looks up to see a beautiful, foreign-looking, brunette young woman, accompanied by a smartly dressed young man, a bit fairer than her.

They’re just staring at us… because…? Why aren’t they saying anything? Do they want extra chairs?

Anna looks at the doctor. He’s quiet. Calm. No stress.

Everything’s good.

She looks up at the good-looking couple again. Oh, the woman looks so serious. Angry? The guy has a relaxed smile.

What’s going on?

The doctor finally chuckles saying, “Anna, this is my daughter Patricia and her fiancé Sabri.” and looking at them —  “Sit down, do sit down with us.”

Say what…?? Family date?

Was this planned??

Getting more fun by the minute.

 

“Nice meeting you, too.” Anna responds, trying to figure it all out — “Are you staying in this hotel? Do you live in Helsinki, too?”

“No,” Patricia says. “We live in Turkey. We’re just here for the Avant Premiere of my documentary tomorrow.”

“Really? Wow. Impressive. Congratulations! What is it about?” Anna wants to know.

“Hahahaha.” they all laugh “It’s about my complicated relationship with this difficult man here,” she waves her hand in his general direction “My father.”

Anna joins their hearty laughter. Way more entertained than I bargained for. And turning her gaze on him. The old devil’s looking very pleased.

I bet he likes the attention. The spotlights. Artistic like his daughter?

 

“…And if you come to Finnkino’s DocPoint Festival tomorrow – I’ve got tickets – you’ll learn the whooole truth.”

Haha. Do I want to??

Yes.

Later, her curiosity will kill her cat.

 

Anna remembers something she read online.

 

“Ohhh, I just realized.” Anna exclaims “A friend of mine posted a recommendation for your documentary on her Facebook yesterday!” and she quotes  “‘All of you who live in Helsinki, you’ve definitely gotta watch this. I can’t, but don’t miss it. Article below.'”

“Show me that FB post, will you,” Patricia asks me intrigued.

I open it and, “No way! Katja? You know Katja? She’s my best friend!” Patricia exclaims.

Small world. What are the odds? Turns out the mutual friend Katja, who posted the article about the documentary, is Patricia’s best friend from high school and Anna’s best friend from university.

Small Finland – indeed.

 

“Wait, I’ve just gotta text Katja! Let’s take a selfie together. Here.” Smiles. Click.

Patricia sends Katja the selfie on WhatsApp with the message, “Check this out. You won’t believe who’s on a Tinder date with my father!”

No, she definitely won’t.

Ops.

Tinder and Anna??

Noooo.

You see, Katja knows her from the time Anna was working in church.

And married with the pastor.

They sang together in the gospel choir. Alto, both of them.

“No way. Impossible!” Katja replies ringing Anna up two days later to hear all the gory details about the cat’s death.

Ah, where are Sabri and Ümit?

Smoking outside? Hmm.


 

Patricia takes her leave. She’s going to a Directors’ Gala.

“Anna,” the surgeon says with a voice that carries a mix of affection and lively sensuality, “Are you hungry? Let’s have dinner, the three of us.

“I’ll treat you. Let’s go to the other side, to the restaurant.”

Anna’s still sipping her caipiroska. A little food would be good. She’s feeling a bit lightheaded.

 

Tinder, tinder. Unpredictable.


 

Anna sits on Ümit’s left, opposite his son-in-law, an artist. The sirloin steak tastes muy esquisito and a second caipiroska has just materialized.

They chat about careers, art, religion, South America, Turkey, politics.

Trips. The future. Finland.

But every ten minutes or so, Ümit stops whatever he’s doing – a bit dramatically – he turns towards Anna, looks deep into her eyes and says, “Now let me swim in the green sea of your eyes for a little while.

“Ahhh. Sigh. That’s better.”

She just giggles. It’s nice to get some warm attention after such a long time.

“Tomorrow evening, Anna, you’re going to be my date in the Avant Premiere.” he decides, and then asks “Would you do me the honors?

“You’re going to wear a dress, high heels and red lipstick. Loose hair.”

“Is that so? Says who?” Anna teases him.

“Please, I’m a bit nervous. Be nice to me. They’re going to expose my life for the whole world to see. Come and support me with your company…

“Please?” puppy face.

“Yes,” I promise. “But I’m bringing some people, too – your daughter gave me three tickets – so… behave!!”

He keeps diving into her eyes from time to time. Out for a nice swim. Then he turns back and kisses her fully. French kissing, like in the movies.

Ohhhh! Great kisser. Mmm.

But what if someone I know sees me through this enormous window?

OMG, I’m in full display here. Workmates? Some church people?

 

Whatever. They’ll just have to take the shock and accept it. I’m now a free woman.

Doing nothing wrong!

🎵 Oh, oh, oh, I wanna be free yeah, to feel the way I feel
Man! I feel like a woman! 🎶

What if Mr. Ex is walking the dog and sees me???

She kisses him back. A long delicious kiss.

Mmmm.

 

What? He’s very bossy with the waitress.

And then whispers some spicy words into Anna’s ears.

He’s quite bossy with me to, come to think of it. I’m amused.

 

“Gosh, a few minutes to midnight! I wake up at six.

“Gotta go. Thank you, Ümit, I had a great time, ” Early school morning tomorrow. “I’ve really gotta go.”

“Thank you again for the lovely dinner. Bye!

“See you tomorrow, dear.” hot kiss is his reply.

© 2017 rf

 

 

Obs. Day Sorry, I’m a little tipsy.