Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Chapter five (segment four), 2016, August, Christina
The nightmare had been a bad one. Christina couldn't remember it, but a lingering feeling of fear enveloped her. When she forced herself awake she found herself halfway atop Ulf.
A familiar sensation stirred in her. I've got to stop this, or we'll end up in bed for real. She rolled off him and sat up in the darkness. By her side Ulf was a sleeping shadow, and she could make out the outlines of Yukio's and Ryu's futons closer to the windows. You guys are the best. Not a word of complaint, and hardly any leering at all. She sighed. You're teenagers! I couldn't possibly be angry with you two if you tried to undress me with your eyes.
So dark. Too early to rise. She curled up in a ball and nestled close to Ulf. This time she left some of the covers between them.
When she awoke for real the morning sun glared into the room, and she heard Yukio and Ulf murmuring a silent conversation from the chairs by the windows. They had drawn the curtain to the room to disturb her and Ryu as little as possible.
She got up and put on her yukata. It was the second night in a row she hadn't gone back to her own room, and she didn't care any more. This was their last morning here, and after breakfast they would all start the long journey home. First by taxi to the station, then a local train to Nagoya and this time they planned to jump on a Shinkansen despite the cost.
Another three days, and then summer break would come to an end.
When she slid the door open she saw Ulf wave at her. She waved back, got into her slippers and left the room. She bumped into a back.
“Tina? This isn't your room.”
Damn! Is he going to be angry? Fifty, it didn't matter that she was fifty. This was her grandfather, and for him she was only a small child. Would probably always remain one.
“I just popped in to wake them up,” she lied.
He looked at her with a frown in her face. Disappointment replaced the frown and all of a sudden she received a stinging slap that brought tears to her face.
“I already approved of him,” he said. “If you sleep with him or not is your business, but don't lie to me.”
Christina wiped away the tears and looked down. Now she remembered how he had always hated lies, hated them with a passion. She felt ashamed and elated at the same time. Ulf had passed. As far as her grandfather was concerned Ulf was good.
“I'm sorry. I love him so much and I was afraid.”
“That I wouldn't approve?” She could hear a silent laughter bubble in his voice. “Tina, you moron. You're fifty. It's your life,” and his voice turned serious again, “but your lies hurt me. Especially if you feel you must lie to me.”
“I'm sorry.” No one else can make me feel this small. “I won't, again.”
“Good. Now go get changed and help me prepare breakfast.”
She looked up and on a sudden impulse she hugged him. “Grandpa!” He was from another world in more than one sense. One where loving your children meant giving them a good slap when you felt it was deserved. She would never accept that, but he was still her grandfather.
“Yeah.” She ran off to her room. Memories from a life long gone rose in her. From when she had been a child messing around in a kitchen together with her grandfather. She had loved those times.