PART 2 – TAKUYA’S VISIT
It had been half an hour and there was no sight of whoever it was we were waiting for. Patience is not one of my virtues, but Patrick seems to have no problem whatsoever being stuck in a car. The 43-year-old police officer displays a level of patience that is almost unnerving.
“Do you mind if I put on some music?” I ask and lean forward to grab a CD out of the dashboard locker.
“Hands off the radio,” he says calmly and keeps his eyes fixed on the end of the street. “You can listen to music on your own time.”
“Technically, this is my own time,” I inform him. “You said this would only take ten minutes, whatever it is we’re doing here at the parking lot of some shady abandoned building. If I had known that my ride home would last this long, I would’ve taken the bus.”
Patrick turns his head to look at me and smiles.
“You still can,” he says and leans across me to open the passenger door. “I’ll see you Wednesday at Kate’s birthday party.”
I glare at him and close the door. The man has no sense of chivalry whatsoever. I can’t believe my cousin Kate is best buddies with him.
“You know, for a police officer you’re not very protective,” I tell him.
“Shut up, he should be here any moment,” Patrick says and turns his attention back to the street ahead of us. I am getting so annoyed, I don’t even bother asking who ‘he’ is and restlessly fiddle with my bracelet.
After a few minutes Patrick reaches behind his chair to grab his bag. I see him open a Tupperware box filled with what looked like yoghurt and pieces of fruit. He takes a spoon and starts eating what, I suspect, he thinks is a healthy snack. I know it will result in another argument, but the words leave my mouth before I can over think the consequences.
“You do realize that’s like poison to your digestive system, right?” I ask him casually.
He sighs and stops eating.
“How can it be, it’s yoghurt and fruit,” he points at it with his spoon. “You can’t get any healthier than that.”
“Well, yes, yoghurt and fruit are healthy…,” I begin.
“There, I told you so. Now shut up and let me finish my food. I haven’t eaten since the start of my shift this morning.”
“…when you eat them separately,” I finish my sentence. “Combined they are very hard to digest for your internal organs, which creates toxins and that can lead to disease if you’re not…”
“Mackenzie,” he interrupts me again, this time with considerable more menace. “If you don’t stop preaching about healthy food combinations, I’ll wring your neck, you got that?”
I ignore his death threat and look out of my window.
“I don’t think Kate will like that,” I tell him quietly. “Then she has to pay the rent for our home all by herself.”
“I don’t care what your cousin thinks, you’ve been getting on my nerves all day. Asking me if I cherish the sunsets in the evening, informing me I should listen to my heart more often and now…”
He trails off when another car pulls into the parking lot. I squint my eyes to get a better look in the dark. The car stops a few feet away from us and I see a man getting out. He looks like a motorcycle gang member. Patrick gets out of the car, after essentially ordering me to stay put.
I can’t hear what they are saying, but my interest is sparked when the man hands Patrick a red envelope.
“You can pay me later,” he informs Patrick.
“Good,” Patrick nods. “Thanks, man. See you around.”
The man drives off into the night.
“What was that about?” I ask Patrick, although I am pretty sure he isn’t going to give me a honest answer.
“Postage stamps. I’m a collector,” he says coolly.
I raise my eyebrow at him. He proceeds to look at me, as if he is waiting for something before he can start the car.
“What?” I ask.
“Seatbelt, kiddo, seatbelt!”
I sigh and put on my seatbelt, muttering, “why do you care?”
“Because I made a promise to Kate that I’d get you home safe,” he retorts and starts driving.
“Are you going to tell me the truth? Who was that man? Why did you have to meet him in an abandoned parking lot?”
“That journalism degree of yours is fricking annoying. Always sticking your nose in other people’s business… “
He stops at a gas station and for a moment I think he is going to drop me off here and make me walk the rest of the way home.
“I’m going to get a cup of coffee,” he says, much to my relief. “Do you want anything?”
“They don’t sell those there. I’ll get you a coffee.”
I try to tell Patrick I didn’t drink caffeine, but he grumbles something about herbal tea being for pussies and insists on getting me coffee. I refuse to drink it and use the cup to warm my hands during the five minutes it takes to reach the house Kate and I share.
“Thanks for bringing me home,” I say, forcing myself to smile.
“I’d like to say it was my pleasure, but it wasn’t…” he says casually. “I hope your car is fixed soon, so I don’t have to endure any more lectures on healthy and sensible living.”
To demonstrate how ‘seriously’ he takes my advice, he lights up a cigarette.
I roll my eyes and get out of the car.
“Later, kiddo,” Patrick says, before giving me a mock salute and driving off.
As I enter my home, there is a familiar, but stern face greeting me. My spirit guide Takuya, in full Japanese samurai appearance, stands in the living room with his arms folded over his chest. I am glad to notice at least his sword is safely tucked away.
“Hi there! It’s been a long time!” I try to sound enthusiastic. “About five months, right?”
“Mackenzie, I can still read your mind and feelings,” he casually informs me. “You don’t need to pretend to be happy to see me. I know you think I’m here to give you a lecture, and you are right.”
I sit down on the couch with a sigh and gesture for him to take a seat.
“Listen, I know you mean well,” he starts. “I’ve seen that you have gotten back your passion for life and that you’re studying to become a Feng Shui consultant, just like you told Joseph. But you’re a bit too enthusiastic in applying what you’ve learned during your stay in Bergen.”
“What do you mean?” I frown. I thought I was doing an excellent job of inspiring others to live well.
“One of the most important things you should know is, that every person has a free will. You cannot force others to do or think as you would like them to. No matter how good your advice may be. Everyone is on their own journey and path here on earth, and they should learn their lessons at their own pace. Rather than force your advice on them, lead by example. Live your life well and be an inspiration to other people that way.”
“That’s it?” I blurt out.
“For today…” Takuya glares at me.
“But what was Patrick doing with that scary looking guy in the parking lot? Is he dealing drugs or something?”
“That shady looking character is his old friend Rob. When they were in high school together, they used to hang out in that parking lot. Nowadays Rob works in the concert hall where Bruce Springsteen performs next month and he was able to get Patrick backstage passes for Kate’s birthday.” Takuya calmly explained. “Patrick didn’t tell you, because you can’t keep quiet and he didn’t want you spoiling the surprise.”
“Oh…” I feel ashamed and look at the ground.
“Another lesson: don’t judge other people. Sometimes things are not the way they seem.”
As I look up to thank Takuya for these wise words, he is gone.
To read the story from the beginning, click here.