Sunday, 17 May 2009

Your Love Is Infinite - 7


Kirsti and Heikki are waiting for me by the garden swing. Matti is asleep in his pushchair beside the swing, undisturbed by the shouting of the grown-ups.

‘Perhaps the girl can stay with you for a few days until we get things sorted out back there in Rovaniemi,’ Kukko explains.

I run straight to the sandpit and pretend to have a fit of rage.

‘I don’t believe that man is mentally ill. Abusing a little girl. First her parents throw her out and then she has a grandpa who behaves like that,’ Kirsti chatters, out of breath.

Heikki asks if Grandpa will get a long sentence. Superintendent Kukko assures him that he will get the sentence that right for him, a just sentence. But not the death sentence, though Kirsti thinks that would be just and fair.

‘He's a real rat!’ she shouts.

Heikki puts his hand to Kirsti’s mouth. Superintendent Kukko explains that cases like this are difficult.

‘He may get off with probation,’ he thinks.

Through Heikki’s fingers, Kirsti shouts that Kukko can stuff his probation. Kukko doesn’t start to argue. He waves his hand peacefully and sets off towards his car. Kirsti sobs hysterically and keeps on shouting that they ought to cut his balls off, they ought to kill him.

Kill. They mustn’t kill him. They mustn’t cut Grandpa free of me.

I drag myself to the edge of the sandpit. Granny is coming along the garden path, half running. She is waving my red schoolbag in her hand.

‘You traitors! Give Saara to me!’

Granny attacks Kukko and tries to pull his hair.

‘Insulting people - is that what the police do? Set Rauli free. He’s never done anything wrong in his life.’

‘I’ll drive you home,’ Kukko says tautly.

‘I’m not leaving here without my granddaughter. Where have you hidden her?’

I climb out of the sandpit and go to Granny.

‘Tell them it’s not true. Don’t you believe them!’ Granny screams.

I tell her that Grandpa is safe, and Granny calms down.

‘Why are you making such a fuss? He’s in prison.’

I tap my tummy.

‘Grandpa's here. I love Grandpa.’

‘This is so sick that I’m going to be throw up,’ Kirsti shouts, and Heikki able to keep her quiet no longer.

‘Yes, it’s going… too far,’ says Heikki, and leads me back into the house.

Granny’s shouting echoes in the yard. Then I hear the sound of the car engine, and Matti’s faint crying.

The crying goes inside me, grows big and oppressive.

‘Granny took my schoolbag,’ I sob.

‘I know, you’ve had to endure too much,’ Heikki whispers.

Kirsti comes in with the sleepy Matti in her arms. She says I mustn’t worry about the schoolbag. Heikki and Kirsti will buy me new books and soon I will be going to a new school.

‘I don’t want to go to a new school.’

‘Not right now. It’ll be for the best.’

Kirsti hugs Matti in her arms. Heikki puts his arm around us all.

‘Saara is our daughter now.’

‘Daughter,’ Matti confirms, and pulls my ear.

Then he pulls his own ear and starts to cry and Heikki and Kirsti burst out laughing. They laugh and laugh, so that the water streams from their eyes, and I too begin to laugh and Grandpa’s nest rocks and sways and I laugh some more and rock my body harder and at last Grandpa falls out of the nest, hits his head on something, and loses consciousness.

translated from Finnish by David McDuff

Your Love Is Infinite - 1

Your Love Is Infinite - 2

Your Love Is Infinite - 3

Your Love Is Infinite - 4

Your Love Is Infinite - 5

Your Love Is Infinite - 6

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