Epifanio
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Eestikeelsed artiklid

EDITORIAL

EPIFANIO RECOMMENDS

MY GOOD MOVIES
Milind Ranadive

INDIAN DRAWINGS
Vilen Künnapu

INTERVIEW WITH SHIRISH BERI
August Künnapu, Vilen Künnapu

POEMS BY SHIRISH BERI

WHAT KIND OF ART MATTERS TO ME
Kaido Ole

HARRY PYE'S POSTCARD FROM LONDON

RAIMOND KUKUMAA'S LOVE STORIES
Mehis Heinsaar

COLLECTION OF 8 BEHAVIOURS
Mart Aas

TEAM

Raimond Kukumaa's love stories

1. Being born into this world, none of us knows how many love stories we are given to live through. Some of us pass our whole lives with one fledgling flame, and that is enough, others have more...

It is time to get acquainted with Raimond Kukumaa, whose life was endowed with six magnificent love stories. It could be grasped already, when Raimond was still a really chubby and really smart child. Not to say a gifted child. When he was born, he weighed sixteen and a half kilos, which is four times more than normal, and he also cried four times louder than other babies. He looked like a round ball of fat, so that his parents had a hard time telling, which end of it was the top and which one the bottom of him. To prevent his eyes from melting into his body, three boxfuls of matches were used to place between the furrows of his skin, eyelids and cheeks.

Drawing: Aive Mets

The parents were greatly concerned and the whole family thought that besides overweight he might also be mentally retarded. Against all odds and familial expectations, the first great love of Raimond's life was, to everyone's surprise, the knowledge of books.

2. Really. By his third year, Raimond Kukumaa knew how to read and write; when he was four he read the volumes of Kreutzwald's "Kalevipoeg" and "Estonian Folk Tales". So by his fifth birthday, he could quietly devote himself to critical realism. Starting with Eduard Vilde's "Külmale maale" and Albert Uustulnd's "Tuulte tallermaa", little Raimond was reliving the pain and suffering of many Estonian generations. The boy ate and read, wiped tears and sweat, ate and read, blew his nose and read some more.

What was interesting in all that, was that the more he read the lighter he became. The literary world demanded no less than four and a half kilos of Raimond's sumptuous love... But just as he was ready to delve into philosophy, namely Schopenhauer's "The world as will and presentation", his parents made him go to school, with ABC in his arms...

Due to the trauma of such humiliation, Raimond soon lost his love of reading and became an ordinary schoolboy with average grades, dragging himself from one class to the next as if in a dream.

Relying on his tremendous intelligence, he passed all subjects effortlessly, while having had lost all interest in anything. Until the day in fifth grade, when he met Tõnu Kuklane.

3. Tõnu Kuklane, contrary to Raimond, was a skinny nerd, who wore thick glasses and tried to be the best in class in all subjects, but he never quite succeeded. He did have a good feature. He had no prejudice against really fat people and could even make friends with them.

Thanks to that, Raimond Kukumaa helped him do his homework, made little wooden boats for him, gave him new stamp series, recommended books for reading and even read them to him...

In one word, Tõnu Kuklane had found in Raimond Kukumaa the most selfless and loyal friend in the world. Raimond even revealed a great secret to Tõnu, that no-one else knew. He let Tõnu poke a hole in his arm and squeezed some thick and juicy love into his palm. It tasted like strawberry jelly. Tõnu licked it with delight and demanded more every day, while getting fatter himself. Perhaps it was his eager greed that brought about his fall from grace, but one day Raimond realised that he had wasted his selfless love to a completely hollow person that Tõnu Kuklane was.

Their friendship lasted for two and a half years and ended as suddenly as it had begun. Raimond Kukumaa grew sixteen centimetres taller and put on another fourteen kilos and four hundred grams during this time. Their great friendship took away eight kilos and seven hundred and fifty grams of his love, to be exact.

But still, he was a really fat person.

4. Couple of years passed without a major incident, until Raimond Kukumaa started to feel an overt unity with nature. Roads that called to distant places, elm trees on the roadside in april light, budding apple trees, tranquil forest lakes, the bitter fragrance of potato plants, late summer ash berries; old gigantic cattle barns like some strange out of hand castles posing on the pastures overgrown with bushes... All of these suddenly seemed like an epiphany to Raimond!

Toiling under the weight of his body, he hobbled onto the meadows behind the town, undressed in the sunshine and laid down... snails crawled along his white skin, butterflies and dragonflies enjoyed his fat belly, moving their shiny wings up and down in the sun, finches and thrushes skipped on his head – it was natures time to hanker Raimond's love and the boy was pleased to let it happen. This colourful and rich love fever swept a lot of weight off his body. He gave himself completely to the forest and meadows and grasslands, and every bird that flew out of sight took a piece of his love with it.

And it was so, that three years later, when Raimond felt his connection to nature dissipate, he had turned into quite an ordinary chubby boy.

5. After graduating from high school, Raimond decided to enter Nõo Aviation School to become a pilot. While laying on the green pastures he had often seen airplanes flying over his head, and the desire to fly among the clouds became his fourth great love story. The only obstacle in the admissions was his slight overweight. However, since his technical knowledge towered over the others, the admissions committee decided to enrol him anyway.

Raimond Kukumaa proved to be a living example of their benevolent ruling. On the second semester, the young man was permitted to fly over Tartu and Raimond's heart jumped with joy seeing Estonia as a palm-size patch of land underneath him. Raimond thought it might be the beginning of something even more amazing, that binds him to the airspace for his whole life. He thought of space travel and flights across the oceans awaiting for him. Couple of years later, Raimond Kukumaa became a stunt pilot. He effortlessly managed three death knots in a row at the exams and was the first to pass K32 under the arch bridge on Emajõe. Pärnu, Koiva and Daugava river bridges soon followed. His devotion to the new calling made him create new and more complicated tricks. This fat daredevil performed ever more difficult and dangerous stunts and sped under the lowest possible bridges.

Soon Raimond Kukumaa became the master of the highest order, who beat even the world famous Lithuanian stunt pilot Jurgis Kairys. He was invited to participate at the shows and competitions all around the world: Germany, the USA, Canada, Korea, China and the Philippines. With his small and weatherworn K32, he spiked through the narrow streets of New York and Hong Kong, travelled blindfolded from Tartu to Paris, and shot through the circle of seventy five parachuters midair. Wherever he went, he was followed by the fame of the heaviest stunt pilot known in the world.
But one time, (as it is likely to happen to stunt pilots at some point), when he was flying under the bridge on Daugava river, the left wing broke off and Raimond Kukumaa was rushed to the hospital with thirteen broken bones. With that, his renown pilot career came to an end, for after the accident no money or temptation could force him to overcome his panic and fly again.

6. Raimond Kukumaa recovered from this great loss for a while, even his desire to live seemed to disappear. At the same time, his looks had undergone great changes during his stunt flight era: his passion for flying and the period of recovery in the hospital had diminished his bodyweight to the point, that now a handsome young face with high cheekbones had revealed itself from the burden of fat, instead of small pig eyes drowned in the furrows green sparkling eyes were looking at people, his brows and lips took perfect form like on some Greek gods. His body had become athletic and slender.

Thanks to such changes, Raimond Kuku­maa soon found himself employed by a fashion salon as a model, and many women of various ages started to gather around him. They buzzed like flies around him, inviting him to parties and dates, until finally a sensual voluptuous lady, working as a manager in a fish shop, conquered Raimond's tender heart with her primal motherly passion. Their love was full of wind and storm, with lips torn in the fires of passion they laughed and fought through days and nights. And while they were not making love, she was at his back with jealousy and chatter, without giving him a solitary moment to think his own thoughts. Raimond gave her all he had, but for the fish shop manager it was not enough. The crushing flames of desire thus burnt out all the love storage that Raimond still had left. In a more peaceful tempo, this resource could have lasted for decades, but now even the remnants of power were pumped out of the man.
The love story of Raimond and the fish shop manager had lasted maybe a year and a half, when people started voicing that such a thin and pale man like Raimond was no match for such a powerful woman. And one day, when the fish shop lady demanded from him, "well, dear Raimond, where has all your strength and passion gone?" – he could do nothing but feebly shrug his shoulders – the passion in him was dead. Such a man is no good for anything...

After the woman left him, Raimond Kukumaa was fired as a model too, for the face selling clothes has to be appealing to the customers not appalling with exhaustion.

7. Hence came the time, when Raimond Kukumaa's soul blossomed as a fragile autumn flower with a new love – the love of nothingness. This newfound feeling of lonesome emptiness was quite different from all his previous love stories. Wandering the evening city streets in a flimsy overcoat, the passers-by could recognise the signs of a stormy and plenteous past in his skinny face and distant look; one could see how life had squeezed all his grand passions and everything else out of him like a slice of lemon into a tea cup, and then skipped on. Raimond was left to the empty streets to be bitten by the wind. In a strange way, he even enjoyed it.

Couple of months turned Raimond even skinnier – one could even say thinner. When he went to the shop to get some sausage and bread, he had to stand in line four or five times to be heard and noticed. On the streets no-one paid any attention to him. And when someone noticed, they looked long and thoughtful, whether it had been a ghost or what... He had the appearance of a sad anecdote that suddenly took on a visible form: blue-whitish face, almost see-through, big eyes wide open, without knowing where to go. At times, he put on a whiny mask of a child, who has lost his mother in a strange city, who has lost a protector, who would take him by the hand and lead home. Another few weeks on and Raimond Kukumaa had disappeared from people's sight. Even when he stood somewhere, he was thought of as part of the crumbling plastered wall or an old windowpane that someone forgot by the wall side. When he asked someone for a kroon or two on the street, his voice was mistaken for the rustle of a plastic bag or rain dropping from the roofs.

In this way, Raimond Kukumaa haunted the suburban streets and parks as an invisible man, until one evening the wind rose and picked him up like a crunched up piece of paper, flung him around the treetops and bushes a couple of times and carried him off into the unknown.

 

Mehis Heinsaar
is South-Estonian writer, author of five books. Look at his other writings in previous Epifanios.