Anna-Leena Harkonen



Words of Vengeance

There are a few people whose demise I’m going to celebrate with a glass of sparkling wine—they are not worthy of champagne. Unfortunately, they will be blissfully unaware of my little moment of celebration.

I usually seek my revenge when the enemy is still alive. The problem is, I don’t have the courage for anything spectacular. I have to resort to little ways that are very likely to go unnoticed.

ONE TIME, my childhood bully appeared before me at a restaurant in my former home town and hugged me roughly.

“So great to see you!” she shrieked. “We were best friends at school, remember?”

I tried to tinge my smile with irony.

“Of course I remember,” I said in what I thought was a mockingly hearty tone. “Those were the days!”

My attempted irony was lost on her. Afterward, I reproached myself: Why did I have to smile? Why didn’t I ask: “Who the hell are you? You look way too old to be my friend from school!”

ANOTHER TIME, I ran into a boy, now a man, who used to be my pen pal long ago. He was my first love. Then he suddenly stopped writing, without any explanation.

He was delighted to see me and suggested that we should have dinner sometime.

“Why not?” I said, tepidly, even though I really wanted to yell to his face: “Why did you stop writing to me . . . in the 1970s? You’re a little late!”

IF YOU DON’T HARBOR vengeful thoughts against anyone, the aggression may turn inward, and you may develop psychosomatic symptoms and other side effects; full-body muscle tension, at the least.

I know, I know.

Revenge is not a good idea in the long run—it poisons the mind. But it makes you feel wonderful for a moment, and life consists of precious moments.

AN AUTHOR CAN always take revenge through their writing. However, I strongly advise against taking revenge on another author, because the counterattack can be devastating.

I rarely take revenge through writing. However, one of my novels has a minor character who resembles a nasty person I know. Even their names are similar—but not enough to count as evidence.

Childish? Perhaps, but it feels so good! Unfortunately, this piece of sweet revenge is also likely to go unnoticed.

Anna-Leena Harkonen

Adapted from a collection published by the Booksellers Association of Finland

Published with permission from the author

New Terrain Press 2024. All rights reserved.

This site uses AWStats to monitor visitor numbers. Cookies are not used.