Tuesday, 5 July 2016
Chapter four (segment five), 2017, dark and bitter
Almost a week after the awful evening at the Stockholm Haven café, February thirteenth, Christina walked down a street with Noriko at her side. They were heading for Noriko's home to make chocolate. Noriko for Nao-kun, and she for Ulf. At least that was Noriko's plan.
Christina heard from her steps how listless she was. By now sharing her life with Ulf had faded to something bleaker than a hope.
“Noriko, is there really a point in me doing this?”
Ryu called her his larger than life midget sister, and Christina saw why. She had an endless amount if energy.
“If I tell you there is, then there is.”
“Why? Why are you trying so hard? You even tried helping me while you were still in love with Ulf. I don't understand.”
They came up to the gates outside Noriko's house.
“Because you're a genius teenager and a moronic fifty year old.”
Huh? Excuse me? Did she just tell me to grow up? Her?
The lock clicked, and Noriko swung the gate open. “After you.”
Christina passed her in silence and waited for Noriko to open the door. After that both girls went inside, dropped their shoes and walked to the kitchen area.
“I don't see how making chocolate will change anything,” Christina started.
Noriko silenced her with a look. “You sound like my father,” Noriko said. “Mom told me rituals are important. That you shouldn't get hung up on them but respect them anyway. They have meaning.”
She put two bags on the table. Christina helped her with the third.
“Meaning, maybe.” Christina sat down on a stool and tidied her hair. “We don't even celebrate Valentine much in Sweden.”
Noriko looked around and smirked. “You're not in Sweden now. Everyone in school know it's Valentine tomorrow. They'll feel it. Urufu as well. He...”
“Will notice how important it is. I get it.”
Noriko rummaged around in the cupboards and pulled out utensils she needed for the evening's work. “Look,” she said. “if it doesn't mean anything, then you just spent an evening with me learning how to make home-made chocolate and he gets something sweet to eat, and...”
“Something bitter,” Christina interrupted. “He likes his chocolate dark and bitter,” she said when Noriko gave her a questioning look.
Noriko shrugged and took out two bowls. “Bitter, sweet, doesn't matter. Important thing is, if he doesn't care he just gets a treat, and if he cares he'll understand the love that comes with it. You made it for him. You spent this evening for his sake.”
“OK I'll make him some chocolate. It's the last straw.” Christina took a deep breath. “I'll make you a promise. If he likes it I'll take a break from modelling and mend what we broke. I'll make him understand. I'll even ask him to say he loves me. Beg him if needed, because I need to hear those words from him.” Christina was speaking faster and faster as if she had just found her way home again after being lost.
What am I saying? He'll never forgive me if I give up my career. But the truth was she didn't want a life without him. If she could just make him understand being with him was more important than modelling. She could still join a university and make a career in design. I wouldn't have to search my clothes for needles if I did.
“Don't promise me anything. I don't need them.”
“Noriko, you're a good girl, you know that?”
“Yeah, mom tells me every time I break something.”
“She wanted me more lively. You're a good influence she says.”
Now that's a first.
“So, warm water in this bowl. Melt it slowly.”
After a few moments of hesitation Christina allowed herself to be directed by Noriko. The promise to her friend she'd keep though. If she managed not to destroy the chocolate, for the first time in her life, she'd read it as a sign to change her mind. If, if, if. She'd drop anything that threatened to take Ulf away from her. Magic thinking, like a child, but from a life in fashion Christina knew just how valuable instinct and belief really was.
Two girls in a kitchen. At this moment they were just that, not a woman and a girl. When her life lay in the scales she was only the teenager she looked like. The most important of all lessons she had learned since she arrived here. Her old life were just memories and experience, but here she had to live her new life.
“What about these?”
“I was thinking I could use those for a cake.”
Christina smiled and started melting the next to pure chocolate in her bowl. “Like this?” she asked.
“Uhum, just be careful you don't overheat it.”
They worked on their creations in silence. At the moment working mostly meant melting, but after that Christina had something different in mind than Noriko. With almost no sugar in her chocolate a traditional cake might be a bit too much to eat.
Half an hour passed while they continued working, and after that Christina deemed hers to be ready for cooling. Noriko's was headed for the oven. Suddenly there was nothing to do but to wait.
“Kuri, I'll take a bath. Mind taking care of the dishes in the meantime?”
Christina nodded. “I'll handle it. Thanks for helping me.”
Cross my fingers. If it's good I'll be the good high school student. If not… she didn't want to think about if not. If not meant walking down the road she had chosen thus far. It meant walking alone.
Sleep a little, and then I'll look at it. Dishes can wait.
Thinking was acting, and Christina quickly wiped her hands and headed to the sofas.