Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It was a basement restaurant and I walked the white steps down from the street. It had been raining the whole day and I was happy to get inside from the wet darkness. I was a bit early as you can imagine but there were already some people bustling about and I slowly chose a table from the far end of the room. They had coffee and pastries. The room was small and softly lit and the walls were decorated appropriately in the spirit of Kalevala.

Once it started the meeting did feel like a community. I am using the word very consciously. We are living in history. I know that a member can be discharged from the cooperative by a simple decision of the administrative board. And that this in effect means that you lose your property. No quarreling about.

I observed the discourse from my sofa. Most of the members present had beards and everyone who spoke did so with steady confidence. I was surprised to be able to follow everything that was being said without effort. I rather think that I knew quite a lot of it already. Of the construction details that is, not of their history. My vocabulary has already changed and I felt homey and affirmed by the discussion.

On the way home I remembered an evening at my grandparents'. Mikko had to leave for the cooperative meeting. I was bummed that he had to go, but I couldn't say anything as I somehow saw in his face the importance, the necessity and the dignity of his mission. I don't know if he ever spoke there with the steady confidence but I know that he must have sat in the same room with some of the same people I'd hear speaking today. I also don't know if he liked going to the meeting, probably he would have rather stayed home with his granddaugher. But I know that he did go and that he did everything right, just like grandfathers and grandmothers do. And I know that he would have shaken his head in worry and his brows would have furrowed in his ever-present anxiety over me but that he would have known what to do now, too. Just like grandfathers and grandmothers do.

As I walked home to the home that is almost not home anymore as the move date is getting closer and closer I was crying and for the first time I really felt the weight of legacy on my shoulders. Enough so that I am now able to realize that however clichéd it sounds, it really is a thing that feels in your shoulders. And it feels quite lonely. With this house it is just me now. I have to be the one who knows what to do, just like I do. And just tonight I miss my grandfather.

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