─ Come on, wrap it up! Julia was so eager that she almost jumped up and down on the couch.
Elisa could feel her irritation grow. Her sister was a grownup, nearly thirty years old, not a child. She tried to push aside her thoughts but squeezed the package a little bit longer than she needed. Julia sighed.
─ Shall we start the next round or wait for you? asked Mom.
Elisa began the unwrapping. It was a little square thing as she could feel through the paper. She tore gently the paper off and a fridge magnet lied in her hand. It was made of wood and had a round magnet on its back. She lifted it and studied the front. It was covered with a symbol, made of straight lines with smaller lines crossing. She looked at her sister.
─ It is «Vegvisir», an Islandic symbol to find the way. I think it`s nice. Maybe you remember that I was in Iceland this autumn and then I bought this for you. This one should be good for you, and maybe it can help you to make the right choices. It was a symbol for seafarers to find the right direction in bad weather, including when they knew the way. But it can surely help you on the road out of smoking pot. You need some push in the right direction. You have no idea how much worried Mom and I are for you!
─ Dear Julia, it is Christmas Eve! We are supposed to have a nice time with no worries tonight.
Mom had lied her hand on Julia`s arm to calm her down. Then she turned to Elisa.
─ You can be the next one to share packages from under the Christmas tree.
Elise sighed loud, got up on her feet with some efforts and moved slowly against the tree.
The next morning she woke up quite late and shuffled out in the kitchen. It was good that she lived nearby her mother and could walk home in the night after the celebrating. She could not stand the thought of sleeping in the same place as her sister. She could almost hear the pestering. Elisa, now you are too depressive. Elisa, stop with this and stop with that. Yes, she was aware of that hashish not was legal, but when antidepressant did not help, but just made her even more dark to mind. What should she then do? She put the coffee maker on and lighted a cigarette. The four Christmas presents she had got yesterday lied on the kitchen table. A knitted sweater from Mom, a scarf from Dad and a box of chocolates from her Fairy God Parents. And the fridge magnet from Julia. She took it out of the paper, hang it on the fridge and took a step back. She had to admit that it looked quite nice. And now she was not risking more nagging next time Julia came by. Not about the gift at least.
The mobile made the sound for an incoming message. Of course, it was from Julia. With links about how damaging hashish is and advice about how to stop smoking. Just after Julia asked via Messenger if she would go out with her the next day. She sighed and could not feel any wants to say yes. But wait, did the girls from college send an invitation for Other Christmas Day? She found it on Facebook, pressed the yes-button and send an answerer to her sister. No, I am going out with my old girlfriends, but thank you.
The pub was full of people. The table had room for ten persons. Elisa rolled her watch in her fingers and stared down at the table. The other girls chattered about studies and boyfriends. She lifted her head and looked around in the room. The table next to theirs was small and a man sat alone by it. He wore a T-shirt with the same runic symbol as the fridge magnet. Elise stared at him. He smiled at her and she began to recognize him as her sister`s good friend at college. Did Julia send Preben at the pub to hold an eye on her?
─ You can tell Julia to fuck off! Elisa had jumped at her feet and taken the one step towards Preben.
─ Hello Elisa, so nice to see you! He made a disarming smile. ─ Please have a seat.
─ Not as long as you take missions for that bitch.
─ I have no idea what you are talking about. If it is your sister Julia you are talking about, I have not spoken with her in two years or so. You are safe to sit down with me.
She fetched her glass of beer and sat down.
─ Are you sure you don`t spy on me?
─ Is that how you remember it – that Julia gave commands and I obeyed?
Her eyes wandered.
─ Exactly. He drank from his beer. ─ Julia can be bossy sometimes, but she has never had any power of me.
─ But why don`t you have any contact anymore?
He moved his shoulders.
─ I don`t know. It`s just how it often happens. We don`t go to the same school or work together anymore. But, why did you think that I was spying on you?
─ Julia gave med a fridge magnet for Christmas with the same symbol as you have on your T-shirt.
─ Oh. He touched his stomach. ─ I also got this for Christmas, from my brother. He wants me to break up with my girlfriend. As he says, to find someone better.
─ Is he right, is she bad for you?
─ No, I don’t agree, but he thinks she denies me to be together with my family.
─ That sounds bad. Is it true?
He made a face.
─ The relationship to family often changes during life. But he might be some right. Here I sat alone in my hometown on the Other Christmas Eve. Till you came by.
He laughed again, lifted his glass of beer and touched her glass with it before he drank. She drank too. Then he became serious and stared at her.
─ What is your problem? he asked.
─ My problem? she asked back, staring directly at him.
─ Yes. You don`t look as you did earlier, happy and smiling. Now it is something heavy and dark around and within you. Please don`t take this the wrong way.
She shooked her head but didn`t say anything.
─ I remember Julia trying to take care of me, including trying to make me stop smoking cigarettes. As she used to tell me, smokers often get KOLS.
He pointed at the package with cigarettes that stuck out of the pocket in her jacket.
─ Is it the same as you? That`s why she gave you that symbol?
─ Maybe, Elisa answered.
─ Remember that she only means well. The problem is that the one that shall quit something, must be motivated by himself.
Elise smiled, all the way in her heart.
─ But, shall we go out to smoke a cigarette? Preben continued. ─ We can`t let Julia win, can we?
─ You`re right, she answered with a smile. ─ And I could need a smoke just now.
She leaned against the table next by.
─ Keep my seat, girls, I`ll be back soon.