Translated from Estonian original by Katrin Haiba and Karin Künnapas, 2018. Designed by Liis Karu Published by: Heli Kirjastus OÜ Jädivere küla, Märjamaa vald 78013 ESTONIA www.helikirjastus.ee Copyright © 2018 by Heli Künnapas ISBN 978-9949-7208-8-0 (epub)
1.What’s the cost of your inspiration?
“I can’t do this! Seriously, I can’t do this anymore!” I push the laptop away from me along the kitchen table. Lauri gives me smirk and returns to sipping his morning coffee and scrolling the news on his phone. I snap “Can you hear me? I’m so sick of this city. I can’t work here!”
“Yes, I’ve heard it all before,” Lauri grumbles under his breath, brushing invisible flakes off his pants with the back of his hand. His hair is as flawless as his suit, combed perfectly straight and right. Not a single strand out of place. My blonde mop presents quite the opposite picture – a classic morning „bed head” with each curl pointing in a different direction. “I know, now you’ll say how your job is so special and you need your inspiration and you can’t do it anywhere and anytime. Seriously, come down to Earth someday everybody goes to work in the morning, makes an effort, works hard and gets the job done whether they like it or not.”
“I knew it’s pointless discuss this with you,” I stand up too quickly and almost knock over my chair. With the grace and speed of a dancer I manage to catch it before it falls, but this manages to annoy me even more – even the chair doesn’t want to cooperate with me. I stomp to the cupboard, grab the cup with Florida written on it and pour myself some hot coffee.
We went to Florida a few years ago. I have vivid memories of feeling intensely exhilarated while watching a pod of dolphins playing around in the ocean during sunset. Moments like that inspire me to create the next dance performances, help me understand people, relationships and everything that surrounds me and put it all into the language of motion. Not the gray walls of stone and smothering masses of humanity that fill Tallinn.
“Miia, of course you can talk to me, but try to understand… imagine if I would say, even just once a month, that I don’t have any inspiration today and this space and these people oppress me, then the whole company’s accounting would grind to a halt”.
“Don’t pat yourself on the back! You’re a CFO. Accountants do all the work, you sign off on it and cash a large paycheck at the end of the month”, I snap at him. Coffee cups from all over the world are a proof of that. We have gone on a long holiday at least once a year, always for Lauri’s money. I opened a dance school a few years back and teach children there. Not a road to riches… but money’s never been my goal. I want to… change the world? Or? Geez, I don’t even know myself anymore.
Whatever it is that I want, I cannot get it right here and now. I push a stubborn strand of hair away from my face. As if to spite me, it falls right back. I feel completely stuck. And my husband keeps scrolling through the news on his phone, treating my lack of inspiration as just another one of my many whims.
“You are right, that’s exactly how it goes – I don’t have to work a bit while those same accountants just pay me once a month, so we could look for your inspiration. All over the world. Everywhere”. Lauri mocks me without lifting his eyes from his phone.
I start to raise my voice, “I’m glad you care so much about my problems.”
“I do care, but I’m sorry, I just cannot understand you!” Lauri finally looks into my eyes. “You’ve been busy „finding yourself“ for years now. I keep hearing how soon… someday… Then you finish a dance routine or do some show and there’s silence for a while until we get back to the same issue of how you don’t know who you are, where you belong or where you’re going. Then I work even more, so we could afford to go some place as far away as possible. You know the kind of place it takes forever to fly to, with a huge confusing time difference and where it’s always either scorching hot or ridiculously cold. Everything should be as inhumane as possible. I work like a dog day in and day out, only to spend my holidays trying to find your inspiration in places that annoy me more than I can say.
I’m sorry, but I’m truly sick of it. If operating a dance school is this difficult, then go and find another job. Something that would let me actually rest during my holiday.
And yes, I did see the discount offers you sent me for the end of April. But I don’t want to fly to some foreign country for my vacation just to be constantly alert and ready for the unknown. I like to be home. Honestly, I could just stay in our backyard. Invite some friends over, have a barbeque and just relax”.
“No doubt you would. Putting some effort into anything has never been your strong suit,” I snap at him and head swiftly towards the door.
“And this is coming from someone who always needs to be away or has to go somewhere else to do even the slightest bit of work, and who can’t even pay for all this inspiration-chasing with this work? You must be kidding me. Have you ever thought about how much your inspiration costs?” I his last words reach me through the closed kitchen door that I’ve slammed shut behind me.
“Mommy, are you and daddy fighting again?” Stefan suddenly appears in front of me. I wipe away a tear, flash a quick smile to my wise-beyond-his-years six year old and reassure him that we were only disagreeing about where to go for our next holiday.
My son gives me a suspicious look. He’s heard similar arguments before, but he has also seen that they usually end with a fun trip somewhere.
“I don’t have to go anywhere if that makes you and daddy yell at each other”.
I can feel the tears welling up again. I know he just wants to help and his goal is to avoid any and all arguments between me and Lauri. Nevertheless right now his words feel like a confirmation of Lauri’s point of view and that makes me feel even more alone.
“Is Amanda ready?” I try to keep a practical tone to hide my sadness and confusion. “Get dressed and daddy will take you to kindergarten.” A moment later, a smiling, confident and impeccably dressed four year old emerges from her room. She tells me to stop nagging, as she’s been ready for a while.
“I love you mommy,” Amanda gives me a strong hug.
I give both the kids a kiss on the cheek and push them gently towards the door to follow Lauri. I let him kiss me only on the cheek. This is my punishment for his condescending behavior at the breakfast table. I will never live a dry, strictly structured and carefully calculated life according to an accountant’s Excel sheet. If after ten years of marriage Lauri still refuses to get that creating is an essential part of me, then I don’t have to make any extra effort to understand him either.
2.Half a house
Mornings are „me time“. Lauri is at work, the kids in the kindergarten. Classes at the dance school don’t start till afternoon. I grab my coffee from the kitchen counter. It’s gone cold since I left it there during the argument. I sit down to watch a rerun of yesterday’s news on TV.
Curious… I’m not expecting anyone.
“Are you Mrs. Miia Tammik?” After receiving a quick yes for an answer, the young delivery guy asks for my ID. I retrieve it from my purse and receive an envelope in exchange. Staring at the return address, I barely remember to say goodbye before closing the door. It’s from a lawyer’s office.
I rip the envelope and skim the lines. I read it again. Dazed, I stumble towards the couch, sit down and read it through once more.
„ … According to the last will and testament of Marta Laikre you have inherited 50% of a property located in Pärnu-Jaagupi…” I read this sentence again and again without paying much attention to the rest of the long letter.
Apparently, Simon’s grandmother has passed away… We haven’t been in contact for years… maybe even decades? When was the last time I actually went for a visit? Simon left my life nineteen years ago. That I know for sure. Not that I’m keeping track… or, maybe I am?
Why shouldn’t I? For me, it’s been nineteen years of hatred, confusion,