Thursday, 18 June 2015
Chapter one (segment two), 2016, August, Ulf
“Thank you Amaya!” Sometimes his legal guardian was just the best. Right now was one of those times.
Sunday. Today is the day for Christina's mad stunt. Thinking of her made his stomach contract. Christina Agerman. If anyone in Tokyo could pull it off it would be her, but still. If I'm this nervous how mustn't she feel right now?
Through the windows he saw the congested traffic, and normally he would have preferred taking his bike into central Tokyo but Amaya didn't even have a bike. At least her car was equipped with a good AC.
She drove expertly and knew almost all short-cuts from her job. They didn't talk much and Ulf was beginning to enjoy the silence when she turned to him with a question.
“Urufu, this girl of yours. Do you love her?”
Ulf looked at Amaya. I think too much before I answer a question, and she's just about the only one who knows I'm not preparing a lie while I'm thinking. “I love her. It scares the hell out of me but I really love her.”
Ulf laughed. It was a hollow laugh, mirthless. Christina, my heart hurts the first time I see you in a day. I feel like my lungs will explode when I first hear your voice. It's like my body isn't large enough to make room for what I feel, and I'm drowning in you. When we part at evenings I just want to hold on to you so you don't disappear. The days we don't meet I'm lost.
“Yeah,” Ulf answered. He could hear how hoarse his voice was. “Yes, very much.”
Amaya frowned and took a corner. “For your sake I hope she loves you back. You're a difficult one to live with.”
“I'm sorry. I'm grateful you took me in despite the way I behaved when we met,” Ulf said. I hurt you, and you still cared for me even before you believed I was who I am.
She wheeled the car to a revolver style parking house and hit the brakes. “One day you need to give voice to your feelings.” Amaya opened her door, left the car and waited for him to show his head over the roof. “You talk a lot about rational things but you never talk enough about emotions. You have to or you'll lose everything,” she said after he popped up his head.
The car slid inside its box and was winched inside the belly of the parking house. Ulf watched it vanish. “I don't like to talk about my feelings. Words can't be unsaid and I feel vulnerable,” he admitted. Amaya was probably the only one he could talk about everything with. I am really grateful to you. You made me a home in this world.
She studied him with one of those intense stares of hers.
Bloody mind-reader, but that's why I trust you so much. You've never abused your ability to read me. “Yes Amaya?”
“It's mother dear,” she said.
What did I do wrong this time? OK only abused a little bit. “What is it mother dear?” By now Ulf knew better than to push her when she got into one of those moods.
The walked the first street towards Shibuya in silence. Traffic was bad and the heat murderous. The air stank of almost melting asphalt.
“You're still hurt Urufu. You told me how much you lost when your daughter died, and I can only understand parts of it.” Amaya sighed and drew a new breath before she continued. “When sis died I was devastated, and I cried a lot and the world was a black place.” Amaya stopped in her tracks and faced Ulf. “But,” she said and pointed her index finger at him,” and this is an important but. My parents had it worse. So I guess you had it worse.”
Ulf took a step backwards. Amaya ripping into his memories like this opened up old wounds.
“Urufu please tell her what you feel. You're closing in on yourself and you never let anyone inside. It would have been bad enough if it was just a teenage fling, but it isn't, is it?”
And you are way, way, way too perceptive! When did you find out? “Amaya?”
“Mother dear, I told you!”
“Yes mother dear.”
“I hear when you talk about her. There is something off. You two share just too many memories for having met in May, April?”
Ulf nodded and they continued walking. Amaya needs to know. I think she's already guessed anyway. “Christina's my age. As in she's fifty like me and sixteen like me.”
Beside him Amaya smiled and hooked his arm into hers. “If I had any doubts they vanished when you asked me for this favour. Your girlfriend is crashing a fashion shot and wants an adult to back her up when she's offered a job?” Amaya shook her head. “That's not how a sixteen year old thinks.”
She was right. Ulf knew that. Any teenager with that kind of guts would simply never think in terms of a backup. Especially not in terms of 'member of the police force for added credibility' kind of backup.
“You know that I love you, mother dear?”
“Me you can tell, and I know. It's not I who need to hear those words. I'll bet you a week's salary you haven't told her you love her properly!”
Ulf declined to take her up on the bet. I thought this game of love would become easier with age but the only thing that happens is that the stakes increase. He blew out air in a half whistle. I'm together with a girl most men would want as a trophy. But would they love her? Why did I have to fall in love? If it had just been desire I wouldn't be this vulnerable.
If it had just been desire he could have slept with her by now. There had been opportunities. But I want to hold you, and talk with you. I want to listen to you when you breathe and when you talk. I want to watch that laugh and I want to be there to see how you wipe that golden hair of yours from your face with your fingers. He closed his eyes and let himself be led by Amaya for a few steps.
The sound of cars and the smell of asphalt built a background for his thoughts. He could feel Amaya steady his steps when she noticed he was no longer watching where he walked.
Christina, I want you by my side. Always. Christina, the day I tell you those needs will never come, because if I tell you how dependent of you I have become then what we share turns into a cage for you. I love you so much, but I can never tell.
He opened his eyes again. They were almost at the great Shibuya intersection.