Sunday, 9 August 2015

Chapter five (segment eight), 2016, August, Christina

Her apartment was dark when she came home. Like it always was. Earlier the small one room flat had meant independence and safety for Christina, but now it only felt lonely.

I've grown used to spending my nights with you. Even if in a room shared with others. She hadn't expected to feel so sad about coming home to her empty home, and it did feel empty. I miss you already. I never believed I'd fall in love like this again, but you're so easy to love.

And that was a lie. Ulf was anything but easy. She knew his life was a jumble of broken shards, had found out in a way that scared her. He's in love with two women, and how am I to compete with his wife if he'll never be able to see her again?

Because he was married. At least somewhere in his mind he was still a fifty year old father settled into what she guessed had been a good marriage despite the tragedy a decade earlier. You made it through it. Must have meant something, something strong enough to rebuild a life around.

This new life was somehow easier for her to accept. She had only invested in power and money. What she had lost in transition was superfluous, and more importantly it was something she could regain on her own. Alone, don't forget alone.

She dropped her bags inside the door. Laundry would have to wait for tomorrow. Right now she wanted a bath, and just a few months earlier she would have revelled in the luxury of being undisturbed. Just like she had for thirty years before that. But no longer.

The need for his presence grew almost painful. But I chose my career. I could have chosen to stay by your side instead, but I didn't. Every day spent modelling and building her reputation was a day spent without him. Every day together was a day when she didn't solidify her shaky foundation. In a few years it would be solid enough, but not now.

It was maddening. She shouldn't have to chose between her career and her love, but she had to. Am I doing the right thing? What's most important to me? For a fleeting moment she played with the idea to just abandon anything that had to do with fashion. But she knew Ulf wouldn't accept that she threw away the chance she had been given. No, not given. I created it myself, and I think that's something he respects.

So now her love conflicted her love. It was definitely enough to drive her crazy.

Christina started tapping water into her bathtub and went back into the room where she unpacked her bags.

No matter what I do I'm caught in a trap. But I don't want to lose you! She yelled a few choice obscenities into the night and continued to empty the bags. She gave them a glare as if they were somehow involved with her frustration and fear. Recognition of what her feelings was jolted her upright. I'm afraid of losing you. I don't want to spend my life without you. It scares me.

How had she become so dependent on him? Why? And yet the answer was so easy. Because I love you.

She pulled the lamp string twice so only the night light was on before going into the tiny bathroom. The door stood ajar when she slipped into the bathtub. It was one of those strange habits she could never have explained, because she didn't know herself why she wanted the door half open to an almost dark room.

This time she cheated as well. Normally she would have showered before the bath. It hadn't taken her long to adapt to the traditional Japanese habit, and she liked going clean into a bath, but now she just needed the feeling of hot water caressing her. Lithe body or not, she wasn't built for strength or stamina, and carrying heavy bags over long distances wasn't exactly where she shone.

As always she sat facing the wrong direction. She was too tall for the deep bathtubs, and sometimes it just felt good dangling her legs outside even if it meant sinking to the bottom like a drunk frog.

With the worst of her stiffness gone thoughts of Ulf returned once more. She wanted him here, wanted him so badly tears welled up. That was new as well. She couldn't remember crying so much over nothing. Maybe it was as that doctor had said, that they were truly teenagers in part. But she couldn't remember crying like this from her first time as a teenager either.

Maybe being sixteen again is only part of it, she thought and started lathing herself. Soapy water was soon followed by shampoo and after that she pulled the plug, showered quickly and towelled herself dry. The thoughts lingered though. If it's only part of it, then what would the rest be?

And once again the answer came as obvious as frightening. It's you Ulf. You're special to me. She had been in love before. She had cried her heart out when she found out she was cheated on, but she had never before allowed herself to depend on anyone but herself. I've lost control over my life. No, I gave it away to you. Why would I ever do anything that stupid?

When she had pulled out her futon and gone to bed she had an answer to that question as well. Because I wanted to. Because it's the only way to love you. I don't want to live alone any more. I want you here!

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