Olaf’s Round 8 Challenges (Word limit – 600):
* Incorporate an encounter by a visitor from Portugal (given by Margarida Medeiros).
* Describe how Ron sublimates his lost love (given by Emily Markides)
Read OLAF 7 here (see “Similar Posts” at the bottom of this post for any earlier entries)
Olga’s daughter broke the silence. “Yes?”
Ron had blanked on her name. “Hi. You must be…” Her bra strap was light green. Not turquoise but close enough.
He cleared his throat. “Yes.” He glanced into the empty room behind her. “I’m an old friend of Olga.”
“Of course I know who you are! I’m Annikki. Mama told us all about you.” Her cheeks dimpled just like Olga’s once had. “We were hoping you’d come by.”
She waited for Ron to speak. The words had gone out of him. Ron raised the ziplock. “Tuna steak. It’s for you… for your family. Just tell your mother that—”
She swung the door open wide. “Mama would hit me over the head if I let you leave!”
“No, I can’t stay. I’ve—”
Annikki hooked her elbow around Ron’s arm. “No chance!” She was a foot shorter than him. She leaned in and pulled on his arm, smiling. The collar of her sky blue dress hung down, displaying her pale breasts and the light green cups of her bra. He turned his gaze away.
“They’ll be here in a second. Mama and Ransu just went next door.”
Ron let himself be pulled into the room. “Is your father here–?”
“Stepfather,” she interrupted. “No. Pellervo’s next door too.”
Annikki was still tugging Ron into the apartment when Olga appeared, silhouetted in the sunlit doorway. Annikki released his elbow. He turned to face her.
They both stood motionless. Then Olga walked up to him. “Oh, Ron,” she said softly and hugged him. Ron just stood with his arms hanging at his sides. He raised them in a halting motion and feebly returned the hug. He was still holding the bag of tuna.
There were footsteps along the walkway. Olga abruptly pulled away from him. A guest walked by. Olga said something in Finnish to Annikki, who had been watching in the corner. Annikki slipped out of the apartment, smiling at Ron as she shut the door behind her.
Olga turned her back to him. “I’m sorry,” she said, wiping her eyes. She laughed and her voice cracked. “I didn’t think this would happen after so long.”
She turned back and looked up at him. “You look good, Ron.” Her face was furrowed with lines. It wasn’t the face he remembered. Not even the face from her Facebook picture, although he had been drinking that night.
“Maybe for an old washed-up sunovabitch.” Olga waited for him to say something else. She lowered her eyes. “I’m sorry. This is too much.” She walked to the bathroom. There was a rush of water from the sink tap. Splashing sounds.
When she came out her face had smoothed over. “Ransu and Pellervo should be back soon. They’re having coffee with a new friend from Lisbon who’s staying a few apartments down. She convinced Ransu he must visit Portugal some day. She even gave him a book of translated poems from a Portuguese writer. You’d like Ransu. He was hoping you might take him out fishing…” She clutched her hands. “I’m sorry. I’m talking too much. You’ve barely said a word.” She looked up at him. “Please, Ron. Say something.”
Ron held up the bag of tuna steaks. “I figured you don’t get much Gulf of Maine tuna up in Finland. I also got you some vodka and kahlua, but I thought the husband may not appreciate that too much so I left it back at the place.”
Olga took the tuna “You couldn’t have brought a better gift. Keep the bottles for your bar. I stopped drinking fifteen years ago.”