Chapter 76 – The Day After

This blog is a book. Maybe better to read from the beginning? 🙂

 

Monday, 22 February 2016.

 

A Little Dark Cloud?

 

Anna and Christian’s first date and night together turned out to be surprisingly special. So much so that she spent the morning smiling – and writing about it in her diary. Now, he is back at his hotel for work and Anna is taking a nap.

 

13:52   I’m wondering if there are any games that you have that I know… and to which you can’t make up arbitrary rules!! 😊

14:28   Hi Chris.

Hey. Sorry I gave you a late night.

It was fun!

For me, too.

14:32   Yes, let’s go play more games and watch a movie? I’ll beat you!

In the games…

Haha. Only because you don’t tell me the rules. Where is James Bond? Cute dog. Cute owner.

Lots of good things happening. Have made my business calls.

Getting a tattoo later.

Funny guy!

 

Anna approves of Christian and feels that there is some potential in this man…

She is on holiday – the sun is shining so bright! And ahhh to be free for the first time in my life! Ready for some loving and some action. Some TLC.

Nonetheless… why has life gotta have lows too, huh?  Do you know when a little dark cloud comes out all of a sudden and overshadows your perfect sunshine?

After writing in her diary, she is feeling a little intrigued by something she read about Christian, as she googled him a little earlier. Hmmm. Anna, be smart!

Well, at least I’m going to have a good week.

Minimum. 

His part is his job. To prove himself worthy of my trust and interest. But, what’s the hurry?  Sometimes frogs become princes… We shall see.

Ops! What if a prince can turn out to be a frog, too??

His choice entirely!

 

At 4:30, Anna visits her sister and then goes to meet Christian at his hotel reception, as planned. This time the feverish Englishman is there. Sweet.

A nice kiss on the cheek and he says, “Hi pretty one! How was your day? How are you doing? I would have found your home this time. Believe me!”

“Well, I did not want to take the risk of you being two hours late. Again. Haha.”

“Oh, those things never happen twice with me. Don’t worry…

“Anna, I want to take you on a proper date tonight. My turn to treat you. Where do you want to go? Choose your venue!”

“Oh! That’s nice, Christian. Hey… why don’t we make it practical tonight? We are planning on watching a movie and playing a game later, aren’t we? So, instead of going to the city center, let’s have a pizza near my home? Then you can come and give the nurse here a proper visit, Mr. Englishman With A Bad Cold!”

“Sounds like a plan to me. Let’s do that.” he smiles with warm eyes.

 

They walk down towards Ruoholahti without holding hands. He is looking nice, smartly dressed, and she is showing him places and sharing little stories about the neighborhood as they walk to Pizzeria Daka by the canal. The place is not fancy at all, but the pizza there is delicious, in Anna’s opinion.

They sit opposite each other. She doesn’t really like the style of his blazer – hmm, it makes him look older – but she does like him…

“Anna, how has your day been? Tell me all about it.”

“Oh, good. Saw my sister, took a nap, wrote a little…”

“Wrote? To your other Tinder matches, huh?”

“No. This week is all yours. Haha. Maybe! Hmmm… Just in my diary.”

 

Anna is a little serious, more quiet than usual. She’s thinking. A lot.

 

“I had a great time yesterday, Anna. Thank you for a wonderful dinner.”

“Oh, me too. Thanks for the champagne, Christian! Nice to finally meet you.” she smiles.

“You are so thoughtful. I hadn’t realized you had that serious side. It looks like you’re plotting!”

“No! everything is OK. I’m just thinking.”

“About what? Would you tell me?”

“Ah, not yet. Someday. Just some things… Never mind. I’ll tell you later.”

“Phew. Good. You are giving me The Look!”

“Yes, I am. But for now, you’ll just have to wonder what it means.” she laughs, feeling more relaxed.

And he is nodding really quickly. Awww.

 

“Chris, I love your nodding! Has anyone told you how cute you are when you nod fast?”

“My nodding!?”

“Yes. Have none of your girlfriends told you that?”

“No. That’s hilarious! Must be a Finnish thing.”

“Yeah. It’s adorable! Crazy ladies didn’t tell you.”

“You are the first… Anna, when I like someone, I nod.” he looks at her affectionately.

 

During dinner yesterday, Anna had asked him how many serious relationships he had had. He’d gotten married around the age of forty, after all, and then separated three years later, so she wanted to check – lightly – about him possibly being an eternal bachelor.

“Btw, I counted today. I have had 14 girlfriends.”

“14?? That’s a lot!!”

“Well, I had about twenty years for that… Working in the Karoo desert for fourteen… It wasn’t easy to find a wife there. Guess I was just waiting for the right person… Until I grew tired of the whole place. Tired of waiting. I missed Germany! All my friends had families and kids. I went on many dates, met a nice person and proposed after six weeks. Crazy! Everything happened so fast.” He comments on the story he’s told her before.  “The rest is history. But I’ve never had a shy girlfriend. All crazy!”

“What about me? Am I shy? Am I crazy?” Anna wants to know.

“You are not shy at all! Crazy…? Hmmm. I am leaning. You do have a wild side.”

“Yes, but I am shy at first. Reserved. But not about being honest. I love honesty… Honesty with love…! Still, it’s good to be the more quiet one for a change. I get to be thoughtful!” She teases him.  “I get to plot!”

“Hope you’re not plotting your escape!?”

“No……” She’s laughing now.

“Do guys normally dominate the conversation, Anna? I like to listen. Then be silly. Then serious later.”

“Most guys I know are more quiet than me.”

“Am I quiet? I’m a bit sick. Scared to talk with my girlie voice!!”

“Haha. Don’t worry. It’s funny. Besides, I like playing nurse.”

“And I like to hear you talk.”

Score!

Anna believes a guy should always listen to the woman a little more than talk himself. I want them to see my heart!

“I’m glad that you like to listen, Chris. And happy you make me laugh.”

“Well… I haven’t really made you laugh yet! Laugh until you cry. Best medicine!”

“But you are the one in need of some of that, don’t you see?”

“Yes, Ms. Nurse.”

 

It wasn’t easy to lose a husband after twenty years. I like this guy so much already. What if I lose him, too? I don’t deserve that. Can I take more heartbreak already??

She gets more talkative now. They keep chatting and laughing as they have the pizza. Her mood is finally on the rise again.

“Did you like the drawing I made of you, Anna? Are you going to keep it on the wall?”

“Yes, of course! It’s so cool. Can we draw some more tonight, Chris? Please?”

“OK.”

“I think I’m gonna draw on your back. More fun! You’re being a good distraction, Christian. I need that! And lots of hugs. Lots more.”

“Yes, you need more. I agree. Are you going to tattoo my back? You can draw the Brazilian flag there – with your nails!”

“We shall see what I come up with. Shall we go? Lots to do. The games are waiting, the movie, the tattoo.”

“Definitely. Let’s go, Anna.” As he waits for the payment to go through, he puts his arm around her shoulders and kisses her head.

 

Now they are walking like that, his arm around her shoulders. Awww.

My God! This feels so nice! I’ve missed this! A lot. Just wanted to meet a warm, confident man. She thinks with her heart melting a little. Healing a little. Can this be? Can life be this sweet?? Really? I’m feeling very glad again right now.

 

“Anna, I liked the pizza, but tomorrow I’m going to take you on a proper date. This place was way too simple. Where do you want to go?”

They stop and kiss affectionately, while good expectations for the night float in the cold wintry air around the canal.

© 2017 rf

 

 

 

Obs. Any red flags? Maybe not. Besides, I’m not perfect either. And healing feels soooo good!! Oh, let me heal fully. Let me just dive all the way in!

 

 

Chapter 71 – Tinder Date #16, Part Four

This blog is a book. Maybe better to read from the beginning? 🙂

 

Sunday, 21 February 2016.

 

D – Welcome T😊 Finland

 

Anna walks James Bond round the block to Kaisaniemenkatu. She spots a tall man standing by the tram stop with a suitcase and his back towards her.

Suspense is in the air.

Is he even who he says he is?? Be brave, now…! Jack Chi 007 will definitely sniff him and scare him off if he’s a bad guy!

 

IMG_2461

 

She approaches the man and says, “Hi, Christian?” with a careful smile.

He turns slowly.

 

Her heart skips a beat.

Oh……..! He’s just like his best pics! (See, Anna? That crazy, clueless selfie. I told you to take the risk and meet him in person – otherwise you’d never know!)

Christian is tall – good built, back straight.

1,82 against Anna’s 1,61.

Aww. He looks d-r-e-a-m-y. Yummy. — Inner giggles.

1 x ?

Her careful smile widens as her suspicions melt away a little bit. She can already see a glimpse of the the mysterious Englishman who’s made her laugh and feel important quite a few times in the last three weeks.

 

“There you are!” He smiles back, enveloping her in his arms. The way she likes it. Awww.

His very first embrace (Can you believe it?) is firm and nice, “transmitting human warmth,” as the saying goes in Portuguese. Christian seems to be used to hugging, and comfortable with touching new acquaintances in a natural way. A confident manner.

Score!

2 x ?

 

“Hi Anna,” he exclaims with a joyful voice, “How are you doing?

“Wow, you look exactly like the girl in the pictures!” Oh God, that sexy voice. His Queen’s English is to die for. Eurgh! She gets goose bumps all over.

3 x ?

 

Stop. This is torture! And she’s dropping her guard already.

Act cool, Anna.

 

“Really? Oh, thank you.” Anna replies.

“No.” He sounds adamant now, “You look even better!” He adds while squatting to greet James Bond, who swings his tail and sniffs him approvingly.

Surprise, surprise. This dog always loves everybody. I’m not giving Christian extra points for that!

“Hey, little one!” Christian says, patting the dog and chatting with him.

Meanwhile, careful Anna quickly scans the Englishman some more.

She checks his luggage to see whether it has recent flight luggage stickers. He could be a street bum with a smart phone, the Tinder app and a desperate need to find lodging, after all.

Good! The Finnair stickers match the story. Check. ☑️

More points? No, just relief. Same score.

3 x ? So far so good on my side of things.

 

Christian is wearing Hugo Boss glasses, a ¾ length dark gray overcoat, jeans and hiking boots. Casual and elegant. Smooth face, no wrinkles. Bald, but his remaining hair is nicely trimmed – the Karoo Desert cut, as she suggested and he promised.

4 x ? Yay.

He’s 45, but hmm, he could pass for 42.

 

“Christian, you’re so late that all the restaurants have closed down already. That’s Helsinki on Sundays for you.

“Why don’t we go to my place to have that veggie soup?” Now that he showed up. Hey, about that….. She suddenly remembers his tardiness and feels she deserves an explanation.

“Yes, it’d be my pleasure, thanks. Can we drop my suitcase at the Radisson first?”

 

“Some mysterious hotel you booked yourself there, huh?” she teases him.

“Oh. Soooo sorry. I haven’t found it yet. Please, would you show me the way?”

“I thought you knew Helsinki well, Christian! What’s happened?” she smiles, a little suspicious again.

“Oh Anna, I think I have a fever. I’m feeling pretty weak.” puppy eyes.

 

“Poor Christian. Let me feel your forehead.”

She touches him and – oh electricity, butterflies, zizzz – “Yes! Maybe you do have a temperature. Oh no! Whatever shall we do?? Talking of which…” she opens her mocca leather bag and…

“Here’s the scarf. Where are my manners. Do you like brown? It’s a gift from my mom to you!” she smiles as she wraps Riitta’s very own art form around his neck, touching his skin a little bit again. Zizzzzz.

“There you go!” says Anna, looking into his beautiful eyes. “That’s better!”

Their gaze locks for a few seconds. More butterflies. More zizzz, zizzzzz. Oh… 🎼 Tonight’s the night we’re gonna make it happen. Tonight we’ll put all other things aside…? 🎶

 

“Very kind of you. Yes. I feel better already.” English manners…

5 x ?  But what about me?? What’s my score? I must definitely be 10 points ahead, just for having been kept waiting. Ha!

“Thank your mom for me, will you? Btw……. may I buy another one of her scarves?” he asks while they walk down the path she’s leading.

“Oh, no, no. Mom has hand-knitted about 800 of them, so far. One per day. Aren’t they perfect? Her project is to make a thousand and give them away around the world.

“I help distribute the scarves to whomever wants them. Mom says she prays that the people wearing them will be blessed. You can have a few more, if you’d like.” (He later chooses a green one).

 

As Christian follows Anna, he explains that he had tried checking in at the Radisson on Mikonkatu, by the railway station.

“Oh, that’s where you texted me from, then?” Yes. When his turn at the reception came, he had been told that he was at the wrong Radisson.

“A person in the streets pointed me towards Ha-ka-niemi…!? Hakaniemi, is that how you say it? I walked there and back. By the time I came back to Kaisla, I couldn’t stand taking one more step. Until you came to save me.

“There must be at least three Radissons in Helsinki, Anna.” He protests.

“Oh, really!” Coughing and spluttering like a dying vagrant in the drizzling rain, an Englishman takes refuge inside a pub. —  “Your hotel is in the complete opposite direction, silly man! Come on, let me lead you there.” Anna laughs, relieved to have their earlier missencounter accounted for.

OK. The slate has been wiped clean.

 

23:45

Suitcase drop at Radisson ☑️

James Bond returned to Mr. Ex ☑️

Christian survives the walk to her flat in Jätkäsaari – uphill with no ski lift and downhill with no bicycle basket ☑️

 

“Welcome to my humble abode, Mr. Englishman.”

Anna feels just a little shy. A little self-conscious, while making that 2D to 3D shift. You never know what will happen next, no matter how many times you’ve imagined it.

And that’s fun.

“Thank you, it’s so great to finally be here,” he says as he puts down a shopping bag on the entrance floor.

She shows him around the apartment. He likes its modern architecture.

“Yes,” Anna says. “Even though it is only 59 square meters, all the spaces look huge and have been well-planned.”

“Definitely. And I love your sofa. What a great choice!”

“Thanks.”  she opens up the practical sheet she sewed the other night, explaining the whole concept to him “When the teens are here, the apartment can feel a little small. Especially if James Bond is also with us. But we are South Americans, so we love proximity. This way we can easily hang out, talk and hug!” she giggles.

“Here, let me show you something in the bedroom. My son is an artist like me, so I’ve painted him a black board directly on the wall. A DIY.”

“Wow. You painted this yourself? Well done,” he says, touching the board with his long fingers, “Can we draw? Give me some chalk. You go and draw something, as well. There. On the other end. Don’t look. No peeping!

“Uh, no peeping, Anna! Make your own drawing. Gosh.” he feigns annoyance. Funny guy. 

Zizzz.

Anna is drawing a dog and she’s feeling curious. What is he up, too? I’m the the artist, after all.

This is fun.

 

“OK, now you may look.”  He smiles, visibly satisfied with his masterpiece.

unnamed2

 

“Oh……. What is that?”

“Can’t you see the necklace, Anna? It has your name on it. It’s you!” he is laughing now.

“What?? What is that snake?? JB is a dog, not a snake. That’s ridiculous!”

“Oh, that’s your mysterious tattoo, the snake, Anna. The one you said you have on your belly!” he teases her and they laugh.

“I don’t have a snake on my belly!!” Oh, gosh! He is looking so handsome. Anna feels the urge to to kiss him, to be hugged again.

She doesn’t lose control just yet. But all her insides are going  🎼  I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it. I’m about to lose control and I think I like it. 🎶

“Yes, you do! It’s a snake. I know it.” he laughs.

“It is not.” Fun guy my ass, he’s a clever dog! That’s what he is. — “Hey, the soup is boiling. Let’s go and have that dinner now, shall we?”

 

Paracetamol and a convalescence dinner of strong homemade veggie soup ☑️

Christian is looking better already. Happy to be here. There’s so much his eyes seem to want to say, but Anna can’t tell what. There is no clear flirting during dinner.

Pleasant conversations – polite, smart, interesting. Kids, their separations last year. Work, hobbies. Blah, blah, some laughter, blah, blah. ☑️

He’s mysterious – what an intriguing guy – making her want to find out more. ☑️

You see, Anna is being mysterious, too. She is a bit competitive and loves a nice challenge. Oh, how I miss kissing. Sooooo much! And I like him…

🎼  I want to love you, feel you
Wrap myself around you
I want to squeeze you, please you
I just can’t get enough
And if you move real slow, I’ll let it go 🎶
.

He loads the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. “My job!” he gently pushes her away “You did all that cooking for us. No, don’t help me.”

“OK.” she retreats, putting the leftovers in the fridge and the French baguettes in a plastic bag.

“Btw, I bought the champagne I promised to. At the airport, Anna. To celebrate finally meeting my tattooed mystery! Shall we have a glass tonight?”

🎼  I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it
And I know, I know, I know, I know, I know I want you 🎶

“Yes! And, Christian…?”

© 2017 rf

Obs. Day too happy to count.
.
I’m So Excited lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
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.

The Hard Part

This blog is a book. Maybe better to read from the beginning? 🙂

 

My Dearest Readers,

 

How are you doing?

I’m doing well, and…

…Happy to have the whole weekend ahead for posting the next chapters here on the blog. That should be exciting. 🙂

 

Thank you for reading me. 😊

 

Thank you for laughing out loud, for crying sad tears of empathy (good for you!)…

…Hopefully not tears welling up from your own personal pain…

Thank you for rooting for Anna: for a hope and a future. 🙏

And for being brave to let this story induce your self-reflection and growth. I solemnly swear to keep my fingers crossed for all of us.

(Anyway… These are the things dozens of my readers have told me on the comment sections below, as well as on my other social media).

 

Once a week, I read a chapter or two aloud to Joey, my awesome son.

He’s said, “Mom, I love your style. You’re funny!! I’m not divorced, you know, so your story is not that relatable to me, but… I can imagine it must be to so many divorced oldies out there.”

When I’m driving, he reads my latest chapter aloud (for us to review it together), making funny voices and giving my feelings the wrong intonations and all the wrong intentions.

Eurgh. Such teasing is horrible! Later, when I try to read the chapter again on my own, I can’t remember how I meant it anymore. I can just hear Joey’s interpretation and I feel quite desperate. Haha.

At other times, when I’m writing and he is sitting nearby making one more of his amazingly creative, funny, deep and darkly sarcastic drawings, he comes to me, takes control of my hands and changes my text.

For example like this:

krismudando

 

Or then like this:

unnamed1

 

Oh God, I am so grateful for Joey. Don’t know where I’d be without his companionship in 2017… We are both artists and have lots of friendship chemistry. Love you, Joey!! You make me happy and so proud, cool boy.

 

Anyway.

As I was saying…

 

Dear reader, if you’ve accompanied the story this far and are feeling curious at all about Christian… (I’ve been called cruel for the way I finished the last chapter – and I loved it) …that’s good!

But please, bear with me just a little while longer (and I’ll tell you why you should).

For one, I’m doing my best.

Writing is just a hobby alongside my full-time job and volleyball and friends and a nice tidy home and quality time with my teens, etc.

It’s the first time I’m writing a book and hmmm! It is much harder than it seems.

It takes hours!

Thinking, planning (and then doing the exact opposite), feeling it, rephrasing, re-reading and doing some editing. Hours and hours. What takes me forever to write takes you literally three minutes to read – have you considered that?

But that’s all very, very easy in comparison to…

Not the hard part at all.

 

So, what’s the hard part???

Hmm. Let’s see.

After reading about forty chapters, my daughter Kristiina called me one night. She was overwhelmed with tears. “Mom, I’m so sorry for all the things you went through. You are such a wonderful person, happy and loving, and you deserve the best. I remember so many things you’re not telling the reader. You should tell them even more – they need to understand! I remember.”

I had to calm her down. Comfort her.

“Aww. Such a beautiful empathetic heart you have!

“Don’t worry, darling. I just write so strongly for the reader to be able to feel my old feelings… And…

“Yes!!!” — I celebrate “Yay! Don’t cry, sweetie, but I’m happy to be causing such strong reactions. You’re the fourth to tell me they’ve cried to the story – so I must be doing something right…?”

 

There you go.

The hard part is not writing, creating, and editing.

The hard part is feeling it.

Either revisting my emotions concerning things I no longer feel… (Out of respect to you, my reader, who is giving me your valuable time and attention).

Or harder yet…

It can be even harder to allow myself to feel the things I still feel very strongly.

I cried like a baby when I wrote chapter 21. Saudade.

Or when I told my sister about chapter 31. Wept. Big Sigh.

The hopes and dreams, the fears and frustrations, the wonderful memories. So vivid! Sorry. Can’t reveal much more at this moment.

No spoilers.

Besides… a little mystery is always good.

Layer by layer, right? 😊 Suspense.

I love surprises. I love twists of fate. Drama movies, crises to use as stepping stones, victories.

Surprise calls, surprise visits! Please?

Hmm. Good surprises, of course… “Bad surprises we call problems,” as Tony Robbins says.

 

My blog is my draft zero, and I promise you, soooo many things are going to happen before the end of the book… if you’ll like them or not is your problem. They happened and I can’t change the facts now.

Or can I?

This story will only be about 2016 – I know exactly where and when and how book 1 ends. It’s quite dramatic (that much I can reveal). In fact, I’ve already written many of the final chapters.

With all my heart.

 

Eurgh. I can only hope for book 2 someday – and a happy ending to Anna’s tale. Or maybe I’ll be too busy with daily love to be here writing about it. I’ll be enjoying it, instead.

(But am I enjoying monthly love in 2017? Weekly? Bi-yearly?)

More chapters coming to you this weekend, amigos. Finnish intention, Brazilian promise!

In fact, I’m going to start writing the next one right now. Write now, Anna.

“No! I’ll do it after my 11 p.m. Friday nap.”

© 2017 rf

 

 

Obs. One of those weekends alone in 2017. Day zillion since moving out. When I wake up from my nap, I will write.