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 28 – In the Forest

 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017.

 

Her work trip is long – an hour and twenty minutes from home to the second school where she teaches twice a week. Anna’s driving there now and wonderful English choir music is playing in her Kia Rio.

These drives are often special. When she doesn’t use the time for listening to Ted Talks or chatting with friends and relatives over the phone, she gets to meditate.

Reflect. Revisit her inner world and check how she really feels about things. Not just logically speaking, but more importantly, in her gut.

Heart. Soul.

A couple of deer have just crossed the road before her. Dangerous. But oh, so beautiful!

Her mind is empty for a change, and she’s just sucking in the majesty of the Finnish countryside nature.

 

Beauty – ah! What is beauty?

These wheat fields are it. Oh. Such colors! Now I understand Van Gogh.

 

Rain is falling gently from the grey clouds onto the slippery, curvy, hilly roads ahead, as the Chelmsford Citadel Songsters harmonize with each other. The trees all around her are shedding what they’ll have no use for in the coming seasons.

Gracefully, nonetheless.

Their yellow leafs dance their way down, blowing in the wind as they fall to the ground. To match the scenery, thankful tears of deep emotion escape Anna’s eyes.

Shamelessly.

Lots of people I love are going through so much. Both the good and the bad. And all those dates I had last year. Real human encounters some of them. And then love. I’m going through rain in my soul, now. 

But behind those clouds, the sun is shining strong and it will conquer again.

She inhales deeply.

 

Nature is so amazing! And what about people? What makes a person beautiful? What makes a guy handsome in my eyes?

I know.

Very well.

She arrives at the school parking lot, stays in her car and quickly scribbles some thoughts on a leaflet. She’ll keep on working on the poem during her lunch break.

🍂 🌾

 

I’ve been wondering. What is beauty? Hmm, who is handsome??

 

I think beauty’s a sad countenance

With a hurt heart that’s healing.

A brave heart – succumbed –

That keeps resilient,

Like a little bird must in a cold, cold storm.

 

Beauty is…

…both generosity and self-confidence.

…self-esteem, a good posture.

And your smile.

Yes, yours. Who else’s, precious one?

 

Your weight, your height.

Being you. Your wrinkles.

Trying to become a better version of yourself (with help),

While being comfortable in…

Your own skin.

 

A fearless soul

Marching to battle,

Though so fearful in sacrifice, maturity.

A scarred soldier who conquers:

Beautiful is he.

 

Beauty’s…

Intelligence.

Producing and loving. Youthful vigor.

Experience. Old age.

A life. YOLO. R.I.P.

 

Acceptance is graceful – weaknesses and all.

Loving yourself in a healthy way

To then really, really love others:

Your neighbor, your soul mate,

Your father? Your friends.

 

Oh, beauty is a trusting spirit

– Like that of an innocent child.

Gentleness, uncorrupted sweetness, and kindness, delight.

 

It’s to be proud of your achievements, talents.

Yet humble at heart.

 

It’s certainty, uncertainty.

Genuine you are.

 

In service. Purity.

Determination, vulnerability,

Respect, authenticity.

Do shine your light!

 

Forgiveness.

Wholeness.

Your brokenness, too.

Gratitude. A joyful being!

Deciding to live in truth.

 

Your amazing body and that sparkle in your eyes –

Beauty is the whole package, you see? Cutie pie.

 

When you can be bothered

You’re so handsome, making lots of little efforts

Both in action and in words,

You hardworking, fun,

Affectionate Guy.

 

Beauty’s…

A person walking in the forest

In solitude.

If accompanied – oh!

They’ll soar, they’ll fly.

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is!

Tudo é belo ao que ama…

 

It’s solving your problems and

Finding your purpose.

That, beauty is…

Most definitely.

Indeed.

🍂

 

She’ll read her poem aloud to some. She’ll send it to ten-fifteen loved ones she finds beautiful. Who inspire her. Including him.

© 2017 rf

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Wheatfield_with_crows_-_Google_Art_Project – kopio

Wheatfield with Crows, 1890. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

 

 

Obs. About a year and eleven months since moving out.