New beginnings

Ken still doesn’t have much of commission work, so he has time to sew a quilt for Kaarna.

Kaarna is playing Ken’s favorite game: the furniture chess! She loves the new quilt. Ken comments:
- It should keep your guitarist warm during the night.
- So you heard her play? What else have you heard?

- Nothing. But Hector heard a lot when he tried to sleep on the sofa.
- Well, the bunk bed is now on the opposite wall, so Hector’s sleep is safe.
- Who is she? 
- No-one special… I don’t even know if I’ll see her again.

Kaarna’s landlord is finally going to build her a decent kitchen. He’s kind enough to ask Kaarna’s opinion about the design. She asks for bright colors.
- I hope you will stay here for a long time then. People want white apartments and I will be having trouble to rent this if you move away. The walls you painted are already somewhat problematic, the landlord says.
- I’m not going anywhere, but Finnish people are boring and should learn to respect colors.

Reiska assembles the kitchen cabinets. He has to take Muija with him to work, because she needs to be guarded for her ”tipaton tammikuu” (that’s what we call a January without a drop of alcohol). She sits still and meditates: February… February… February…

Ken comes to say hi to Reiska and see the new kitchen.
- Hello Muija, nice to see you here too. How are you?
- February…
- Um, okay. Hey if you guys want to take a coffee break, I have carelian pastries in the oven next door. 
- February…
- Sounds great, Ken, we’ll be there in half an hour, Reiska says.

Reiska carries Muija in and says:
- Sorry about this. I thought a sober month would do her good, but she’s turned into a vegetable.

The next day Reiska comes to finish the work. It’s the first of February and Kaarna is surprised to see Muija.
- I thought she would have been in Mocambo by now.
- She wants to be, but I can’t let her do that. She can only drink under my supervision for starters and take it easy and slow.
- With Johnny Walker?
- Yes, I won’t let her mix it with any other type of alcohol yet.

Kaarna is pleased with her new kitchen, but something is bothering her and that something is called Mari. The silence makes her stomach hurt.
- I can’t take this anymore. I’ll send her a message, what do I have to lose? 
She types: “Hey Mari. I feel bad about last time. I’m sorry for being difficult. I’d like to see you again, I miss you.” 
- Heart…? No heart? No… Send!

It’s been 22 hours and 13 minutes and Mari hasn’t even read Kaarna’s message.
- I’m losing my mind here. If I can’t stop stareing the phone, I’m going to need a tranquilizer. Ken… I’ll ask if he could go for a walk with me or something.

Ken suggests they could try wool sock walking in snow. At least three pairs of socks is needed, and they have to be knitted of real sheep wool. And a temperature should be below -10 degrees Celcius. The colder the better!

Ken is glad that Kaarna asked him to spend time together.
- You have been really antisocial lately. Feels good to hang out together. Hey, I can see your letters!
- Something’s been going on, but I don’t want to talk about it. 
- Okay, but if you want, I’m always here for you.

Finally a blue sky! It’s been snowing forever, but this is the reward for putting up with all those grey days.

Ken checks out apartments that Hector has spotted online. Mostly the rental apartments are in bad condition or situated in a slum, but now they have found a decent one. (We don’t really have slums here. They are just cheaper neighborhoods with more people with problems.)

Finally Mari answers! She says she’s sorry too and that she also wants to see Kaarna soon. Now Kaarna can breathe again.