Author: Eeva Tikka

A slow passion

30 September 2007 | Fiction, Prose

A short story from the collection of short stories Hidas intohimo (‘A slow passion’, Gummerus, 2007)

I don’t want to interfere with it. If something comes of it, then something comes of it. You can’t interfere with time, or fate, or another person. Time ripens things on its own. Fate takes a longer view of things than people do. Like the prophet says, there is a time for every purpose, for my purposes and other people’s.

This garden cottage is a good place to watch everything quietly, a ringside seat for someone who doesn’t want to flail around getting smashed up. The potatoes bloom when it’s time for them to bloom, depending on the length of the summer, the weather, and the time they were planted. Their white and purple flowers are worthy of admiration– potato flowers are flowers, after all. But when the flowers are just opening, it’s not yet time to go digging around among the roots. You have to restrain yourself and wait until the tubers form. You have to wait until they’re finished blooming and the flowers are replaced by plumping green, poisonous berries – though not all potato varieties produce them. But if your fingers are really itching for them, you can poke into the dirt and grope around a little before it’s really time, feel for tubers and remove them carefully, patiently, leaving the plant undisturbed for the smaller ones to grow. If the groping turns up something, you can slip away and savour it, but you still have to wait before you can dig up the whole plant with its rootstock, its beautiful pure tubers heaved up onto the soil, as if Life were offering itself on a silver salver. Then you can have them. They’re ready. But it takes time. Many good things are destroyed by impatience. More…

Letter to the wind

Issue 3/2002 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Haapaperhonen (‘The butterfly’, Gummerus, 2002). Introduction by Kristina Carlson

When Father comes to visit me, he sometimes sings a hymn. I can’t ask him not to. But when he doesn’t, I wonder why not, whether there’s something up with him. I can’t ask him to sing, but something is missing, the same thing that there seems to be too much of when he sings. It’s too much, but I miss it when it’s not there. I wonder about it after Father’s gone; my thoughts curl into dreams and I sleep.

When I sleep I don’t know I’m here, in a strange place. I’m at home, sleeping at home, in my own bed. The window is the right size, not too big like it is here; here there isn’t really a window at all, half the wall is missing and instead there’s glass. Behind a glass wall it’s not safe, everything is taken through it, including me. But sleep takes me to safety; I’m at home there. I breathe it peacefully. In the cabin there are two breathings, mine and Turo’s, and in the bedroom Father’s breathing. They are in no hurry to drive time away; time can linger, sleep, the moment of night, and when sleep withdraws there is no hurry either; I can sit in peace on the window seat and gaze at the cloudy, moonlit yard. The apple tree is asleep; it’s the only one. The fieldfares ate the apples before we could pick them, but it did not bother me or Father. It was good to look at the flock of fieldfares making a meal of the apple tree. Then they went away. More…

The bully

Issue 1/1996 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Tulen jano (‘Thirst for fire’, Gummerus, 1995); power relations between doctor and patient in a situation where the past will not leave either alone

Nurmikallio, an apparently ordinary middle-aged man, came back again and again, and it seemed as if there would be no end to his story.

I listened to him patiently at first. Repeatedly he returned to the same subject. The form and emphases of the story changed, new memories emerged, but the gist was the same: he had failed in his life and believed that the root cause of his failure was a particular person, a childhood class-mate, a bully.

On the basis of his first visit I wrote a short character-sketch:

Intellectually average. Talkative, but by his own account solitary. Difficulties in human relationships, separated, no children. Electrician by profession, says he likes his work. Biggest problem obsessive attachment to childhood traumas.

And that’s all, I thought. But he was not to be so easily dismissed.



Issue 4/1992 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

From Pythonin yö (‘Night of the python’, Gummerus, 1992). Introduction by Kaija Valkonen

I feel as if the disintegration has already started. I do not want it, I am not yet ready. And I do not want to discuss it with the doctors; I know that they would not understand, and the thing I am talking about has nothing to do with my state of health. It is not an illness; it is something more insidious. It occurs under the cover of health. It is a deception.

It is hard to say when it started, but whenever I try to remember, a certain day comes into my mind. It can hardly be the beginning, how could disintegration start with joy? But it was a day that contained many elements of dissolution: a strong wind, the ice breaking, quickly moving clouds. At one point I picked up an old tub in the corner of the shed, its hoops fell off and it collapsed, ringing. More…