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Sunday, February 8, 2015

The carpenter

Some real life from the past, when I was drifting away from my best friend, Amy. I wrote this down, because of a recent phone call that stirred up everything.

In the weeks prior, everything between Amy and me had gone wrong and I was overreacting. “I need distance, maybe our lives are too different by now, maybe we just need a break”, and this about her out of all friends. I was wrong, was lonely and miserable all the time while I kept away from her and it was well-deserved self-punishment (a spanking would have helped more!) but the terrible part of it was that Amy suffered no less, something I could have ended any time. :(

I looked for a small flat, went to the address I had been given and entered the flat in a wonderful older building. In front of me was a short man, short sandy blonde hair, a dark brown leather cap which I automatically connected with alternative lifestyles, student-like, strong hands with a nice tan although it was almost winter, dark well-worn leather wristbands, a sandy brown leather jacket, light brown, but sturdy corduroys, dark leather boots which I found rather small. ‘So, this must be a carpenter’ I guessed. 

He was standing with his back right before me, blocking the hall. Obviously, he had not noticed. “Excuse me Sir, could you let ….” She turned around. She had warm and quick grey eyes, peeked through silvery round glasses, a face that was a little bit boyish but had a rather feminine touch to it, and I think she was surprised too. I went bright red immediately. This was so embarrassing. I had thought she was a carpenter, a man, in addition to that. Maybe she was a carpenter, but she was definitely not a man. Her jacket was open and she had a white T-shirt under it, barely hiding her perfect breasts, … just to hammer the message home. 

My red face became sweaty, because I had not wanted to be unfriendly or anything like that. I had just assumed … . “I am sorry. I just wanted to pass.” She, on the other hand was slightly amused by my embarrassment and faux-pas. “No problem, my mistake” what a friendly voice, thoughtful and quiet. I do have a weakness for certain voices and this one was fascinating. Somehow her voice was so much softer than her looks, and then again it went well together. In a different situation I’d have loved to listen for hours, but now I was simply embarrassed by the situation. 

The same moment the estate agent came and told us about the flat. He had our addresses, phone numbers and apart from the maybe-carpenter there was only a business-like looking woman and I. The business-woman did not like this flat, she had a sour face, maybe worse than what I must have looked like. Probably the flat was too small? Wrong part of town? So, I thought this was between this quiet woman who obviously enjoyed looking a little bit rough around the edges, and me. 

‘Cool flat, just like what Amy and I have. Darn, ‘had’ ‘ My thoughts went to her for a moment and I hoped she was fine. ‘Back to this flat.’ The price, two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, bathroom, but no, it was not meant to be mine. It was not the red face that I could barely get rid of, but I went there with a bad conscience from the beginning. ‘Amy should look for a better friend. I shouldn’t have left her this way. It’s not her fault and that she is hurt is my fault, too.’ Some of my thoughts must have shown in my face. I was so miserable. The carpenter was so calm, she rested in herself, was so even natured and somehow unobtrusive that the estate agent described the flat more to her than to me. I hadn’t really listened anyway.

Accordingly, when we left, I visited a few other free flats and actually got some good news for another flat two days later. They were no happy news, because I’d created facts about moving away from Amy and instead of celebrating (which would only have been possible w i t h Amy) I was sad, felt bad for the sake of feeling bad and was just the greatest moron possible (Some gluten-free advice: talk to your best friend when there is a problem. It is what friends are for! If you can’t face her, leave a note, a clue, something).

So I went into the park, the weather was grey and cool, but at least it was windy, which felt great and it dried the tears because I was lonely and sad. I was overindulging in self-pity but had not found a way out yet. “I could go and talk to Mia. No, better not, I don’t want Mrs H to learn about my misery. Why don’t you simply go home, stupid? No, I don’t want to. Weak excuse. Parents? No option. Max? No, never. … Maybe I should go to…, oh what a cute ducky.” It went on like that, I pondered what to do next, talking into my huge scarf for everybody to hear. Sometimes I do talk to myself when I am alone (now, with Tilda, nobody notices any longer! Fooled them, they think I am normal! :) )-

Sitting there, sunk into my warm dufflecoat, hair tousled, watching, no, staring at ducks, someone approached. I didn’t bother. “Hello. Are you ok?” I knew the voice. It was the carpenter. This was going to be embarrassing again, because I was too confused and my eye-liner surely had left a tiny dark river downwards. I tried to wipe my face clean before I looked up. “Oh, hi.” Uneasy silence. ‘Not a clever way to get into small talk’. I bit my tongue and looked to the side, because I did not really want to show that I had cried. “I saw you sitting here, and since I got the flat that you also wanted I thought I could make up for it with a cup of tea. My name is Cora, btw.” I couldn’t avoid her eyes any longer so I looked up, pretty sheepishly I guess. “Nina. Great that you got the flat.” I was still no good at keeping the conversation going, was I? She took my arm and showed where to go. “Hey, come on, let’s go.” We had turned towards a nearby cafe. “Sorry that you are so troubled.” I stopped dead. Did I want that? She sympathized, gave me something I needed, but she was not known to me. And she saw my thinking. Not difficult, ever. “You don’t have to talk about it, sorry. I didn’t want to intrude. Just a tea. ... Or coffee, if you like that better.” She smiled and showed brilliantly white teeth. Just as perfect as her… Coffee?! I nodded and she shoved me forward. “Yes ok, sounds good. Thank you.” What did I thank her for? Was it really for the coffee?

Once we sat we quickly got our tea and coffee and I took some time to observe Cora. She made a ceremony out of dunking her tea bag in and out carefully. Cora had her cookie eaten slowly while I did not touch mine. I was so not hungry. ”Are you going to eat your cookie?” I was puzzled. My thoughts were several streets away, not really here. That’s so impolite. “Sorry? No, it’s yours.” She gave me a long strange look. “Ok, so what are you doing? Art school?” Wow, that was a surprise. Now she had my attention. “Yes, that’s true. How could you know that?” She smiled. “Just a guess. You look the part.” I looked down my dress. “Oh thanks”. Nevertheless, she made me smile, for the first time in days. “Aha, what does an art student look like then?” I thought that I was wearing a rather respectable look, more like a secretary or office assistant in dark blue.
Cora grinned, trying to hide it without success. She was teasing me and enjoyed that I had taken the bait. She dunked the tea bag in again, put it aside, took the cookie and did the same to it and slowly bit off a tiny piece. The cookie had all her attention but in between she looked from the cookie to me. “I have seen it in the estate agent’s list. He had written that down. I felt sorry for you then. You looked so lost.” Urgh, wrong turn, downer ahead. “Yes, trouble with my best friend. … But I don’t want to talk about that. Please.” Short silence ‘Either that or I’ll go’. Cora took the clue. “It’s ok. I know what that feels like.” Huh? What did I miss? We are still talking about Amy and me, aren’t we? I should go.
“Do you know that you made me laugh when we first met?” Instead of leaving the café I wanted to know what this was about now. “OMG, it was so embarrassing. I had only seen your back and had mistaken you for a ca… .” Inside I scolded myself ‘Yeah, good job, stupid. Doing it again’. But I found relaxing was very easy with her. Meanwhile Cora eyed me curiously. Of course she had noticed that I had stopped mid-word and I am awful at hiding things anyways. She leaned back casually, whereas I sat there and did not know whether to tell her or not. “ Ok, I only saw your back and thought you were a man. I am sorry for my mistake. This is embarrassing.” She laughed. “You said ‘ca…’, so who is that?” She made me smile and I had forgotten my self-inflicted troubles for the moment. “I thought you must be a carpenter.” I leaned back, prepared to be laughed at. She giggled, pretty girly-like, which I found funny, because the clothes and her appearance told another story. She obviously enjoyed that I had told her. “What?! How could I know?!” Now she laughed at me. “Why a carpenter?” So I told her “because of your hands, they look so strong and because of your clothes.” Cora leaned forward. “You are right about the hands and arms. But I am not a carpenter. Guess.” It took me a while but with a few clues I guessed correctly that Cora was a physiotherapist. We got along really well and I forgot my sorrows for a while.

I felt really comfortable with Cora and she had told me that she had already moved some of her things in her new flat. “It’s not the Ritz, but if you have trouble finding a bed I could offer you half of mine, if you don’t mind living between cardboard boxes for the next few days.” I had no better place to go, meaning I did not want to go where I should go to. “Yes, that’s fine. I can move into my flat in three days, if that’s ok for you?” She was very happy to oblige and maybe part of this was because she saw the relief and the sadness that mixed in my face. I bought a toothbrush on the way and we entered her flat in the dark. It was still pretty empty, apart from her huge bed. Most boxes were in the kitchen and in the other bedroom. There was no electric light in the bedrooms and living-room yet, but she had candles which made everything appear cozy and romantic. 

I had put my coat somewhere and sat on the edge of her bed while she rummaged through one of the few boxes. It was not cold, but I shivered from exhaustion. If she’d leave me alone for a few minutes I’d be asleep. She threw a white T-shirt and a grey pair of sweat pants towards me. “For tonight. You do not seem to have clothes nearby, have you?” She smirked and showed her brilliant white teeth again. She really had a pirate smile in some moments and I love that. Cora was right. I had nothing with me and the dress I wore was the same I had been wearing when we had met the first time. Of course she had noticed. She disappeared and I put on what I got from her. The T-shirt was too tight, the pants were too baggy, but they were soft and comfy. “Cute” she said when she came back from the bathroom. It seems she had given me her only sweat pants, because she was only wearing a big sleep shirt. I did not tell her, but it looked as if she had shed her armor and instead of the robust carpenter I saw so much more of a fragile girl. “I don’t know how I could ever mistake you for a man or a carpenter. I am sorry about that.” It was out and only then did I realize what I had said. “Thank you.” I wanted to bang my head against the newly painted white wall. She stood there, maybe not sure what to say after such a silly comment. So, I took my toothbrush and went quickly into the bathroom without looking at her. ’Maybe I should not open my mouth till tomorrow. All I say tonight is stupid.’

When I returned from the bathroom, she had already lit more candles in the room, opened a bottle of wine and sat on the inviting bed. She gave me a glass. “When I drink this now I am done for. I have not eaten enough today.” She pointed at a tray with bread, cheese and grapes on the window sill. “I know that, because I heard your stomach in the café.” Not this topic again. I went over and cut off some to give to her and kept some to eat. “I will be drunk immediately, I cannot have much wine.” Cora nodded. “That’s my plan,” I saw her white teeth virtually glow in the dark. “But if you have a hangover you are in best hands.” Well, ok. We had a funny evening, maybe funny because I had one sip and my cheeks went bright red again. Cora was impressed. “Yeah, that is really quick!” The wine had made me tired and I almost dozed off in front of her. “See? I told you, I couldn’t have any …” 

Silence, then Cora moved. She had taken the wine, bread and cheese away from me and I woke half up again, but coherent thinking and speaking was impossible. “Why me, here?!” She stood next to me, put everything aside and tucked me in. Another thing I love. I was more asleep than awake when she answered. This time her look was more serious and caring. “I told you. You looked lost.” 

Since  I do not recall all the things we have talked about and have not written all that was said, there is a little poetic license. So, the last line was actually said, but only in the morning and there was much more then. Cora's lovable cheeky and very caring character came through much stronger than I could ever describe, and my self-reproach was far more intense, too.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Wow Nina...Cora sounds like a lovely and caring young woman. Are you still friends? Did you ever make up with Amy? Are you okay?

    Hugs and Blessings...

    1. Hi Cat, Cora is wonderful, but she does not live close by anymore. :(
      So, we do have contact and she is still a friend I do adore a lot, … but we are not as close as we were then and we have not met for the last two years by now :(. So, I know what I need to do next. :)
      When I had this first impression about her, that she was a bit on the alternative side, I was pretty right with that and she is pretty adventurous. I got to know her much better and her outward appearance is so far away from who she is, but somehow this matched well together.
      She still is into anything Indian, so her house is filled with Buddhas, elephants, incense sticks, lots of orange and tassles. She has them everywhere throughout the house, every curtain, every blanket, every cushion. :)
      I was glad that she found (?) me and her intentions were really good ones, and I stayed longer than only three days, before I finally made up with Amy. I could have stayed longer, but the real decision was to go to Amy and apologize. I was the queen of stupid at that time. Amy is my absolutely best friend ever and I knew pretty well that all that could be ruined could only be ruined by me. I don’t know what I have done to deserve someone special like her and the stupid things (there is more stupidity where this came from! ;D ) I did have never stopped her from loving me. Well, I have never stopped loving her either, but I had a few angry and lost years in my past where she tried to keep everything together when I couldn’t. I cannot even say how close she is to me, but she could hurt me more than anybody else, apart from hubby, that’s how close we are. :)
      I know I shouldn’t have it, but there is a ranking in my head saying Mathilda first, hubby and Amy second. They are dearer to me than anybody else and I am more grateful to have them than I am able to show.

      All in all I am ok, somehow it has been busy around here, and I have not even had time to blog older entries I wanted to, nor have I been able to finish newer ones. …. I have not even been able to tell about Tilda. We are doing baby swimming now and she loves it, and I love it too. I’ll try to write more about her again, and future family plans and my third granny who is in hospital and we are waiting for news. Some old memories are a little unnerving, too, but currently I feel that they cannot harm me, though I don’t like them.
      There has been an encounter between hubby and his favourite implements which was no fun at all (punishment), too. Seems I need to write faster to keep you up to date! :D I’ll try.



  2. Hi Nina, I'm with Cat. Cora does sound like a wonderful and caring person. How wonderful that she took care of you like that. I too am wondering if you are still friends.


    1. Hi Roz, Cora is awesome, and she did this taking somebody home with some others too over the years. I am such a chicken compared to her. She likes these things, so maybe she is more open, but definitely less afraid of things than I am.
      I can only say that I was lucky I could go with her, and we are still friends, but she is in the far south, so it takes much longer to reach her than to visit my in-laws in Britain. :) … and since it has been too long that we met, I am going to call her. I’d love to see her again and show her Mathilda, because so far she has only heard about our baby but not seen her yet.




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