Not Forgotten, Just Gone

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(Credit: HeyKtupq on DeviantArt)

We met in the laundrette on Sedgwick Street. I don’t remember how our first conversation began, but I met her there every Thursday for almost a year. She brought a small bag of liquorice, which she shared with me while we watched our clothes tumble, and I brought bottle caps for her, after she told me she collected them.

She always stood up and on the balls of her feet, as if she were ready to run at any time. Once I asked her whether she liked running and she said: ‘I’ve become very good at it.’ and her eyes looked so sad, it made my heart hurt.

There was something feline about her. It was something in the fluid way she moved and how her eyes sometimes followed things, which weren’t there, or maybe I just couldn’t see them.

It’s not that I’ve forgotten her name, it’s just gone. Every time I try to remember it, I get a faint taste of liquorice in my mouth and my head goes empty. Her face has grown blurry too even though it’s only three weeks since I last saw her.

I hope she got away from whoever’s after her. I considered going to the police, but without a name or even a face, what are they supposed to do?

What am I supposed to do?

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Storm

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(Credit: wallpaperscraft.com)

White horses gallop at the tops of the waves. They surge up, tumble into each other and crash against the rocky shore.

Black branches claw the sky and the sky fights back with pelting hail.

The wind howls a cacophonous symphony with thunder at the bass drum.

Everything stands out clearly in the flashes of lightning:

The chaos

And the beauty.

God Jul

Or Merry Christmas

Or happy holidays

Whatever you like to call it, I hope you have had a lovely time with family and friends, and that you have been warmed as much by love as by your fireplace.

Wolf Haikus

 

Grey ghosts in the woods

Deer run over moonlit snow

Snarling, white turns red

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(Credit: kids.nationalgeographic.com)

Howling fills the air

Tumbling cubs at their centre

United and strong

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(Credit: factfixx.com)

Lazy den morning

The cubs gnaw bones and catch mice

Half-closed eyes watch them

The Seeress With the Birds

Music can be a wonderful source of inspiration.

The first time I heard “Seersken” by Valravn, I got an idea for a scene with a scene with a seer, which evolved into an idea for a whole novel. I’ve given up the novel (at least for now), but every time I hear the song, I still see the seer in my mind’s eye just as I imagined her that first time. Even if I never write that novel, I promise myself I will write something, which includes her one day.

The lyrics first in Danish then a translation in English:

Det er seersken med fuglene
Der griner når vi ter os
Det er seersken med fuglene
Der hvisker slip lænkerne løs

Se ham i øjnene
Grøn, brun og blå
Se ham i øjnene
Se iris, se dig, se mig,
se selv

Det er seersken med fuglene
Der skærer illusionerne
Det er seersken med fuglene
Der går rundt i sneen og skriver gåder

Attarinarina attarina attarina…

Se ham i øjnene
Grøn, brun og blå
Se ham i øjnene
Se stående, værende,
gennem det der sker

————————————-

It is the seeress with the birds
Who laughs when we misbehave
It is the seer with the birds
Who whispers let go of the chains

Look him in the eyes
Green, brown and blue
Look him in the eyes
See iris, see you, see me,
See for yourself

It is the seeress with the birds
Who cuts the illusions
It is the seer with the birds
Who walks around the the snow, writing riddles

Attarinarina attarina attarina…

Look him in the eyes
Green, brown and blue
Look him in the eyes
See standing, being,
Through what is happening

On a Frozen Beach

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(Credit: forum.americanexpedition.us/eastern-bluebird-facts)

Waves crashed against the frozen beach. It was as if they were intruding on a photograph, trying to change what has already been locked into its final position. The wind sprayed me with salt and my skin tightened. I continued along the beach, looking out at the grey horizon, hands deep in my pockets.

Chirping made me turn my head. Then I stared in wonder. In front of me, a bluebird perched on a flowering plant the size of a five-year-old child. The stem was as thick as my fist and split into several light green branches, which twisted and turned before they ended in star shaped blue flowers with yellow centres. The bluebird kept singing its song from a green spiral with pointed leaves. It sounded distant in my ears, as I rubbed my eyes.

‘It must be some sort of trick,’ I thought. I crept closer and the bluebird hopped back and forth on its perch, but it did not fly away.

‘The plant must be made of plastic,’ I thought, ‘someone put it here in the snow to brighten up the beach.’

But when I came closer, I saw that the snow was melted away around the stem, and the stem continued down into the sand. I could not make sense of it. The plant had not been there on my last walk, and it had been hard frost all month, how could anyone have dug it into the sand? Also, it did not look like plastic. I removed my glove to feel the leaves and noticed that the air was warmer the closer I got to the plant. I moved my hand away and closer again to make sure, and yes, the plant was definitely radiating warmth.

The bluebird chirped weakly at me. Did it have green stripes on its toes?

I considered picking a flower to show to my friends, but I did not want to ruin this for the next person to come along. So I put on my glove with a sigh and continued on my walk, feeling lighter and warmer than I had for a long time. Looking back over my shoulder, I noticed the bluebird was gone.

It must have finally flown away.

A Voice

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(Credit: zephy0 on DeviantArt)

I never understood what she said, but I enjoyed listening to her voice.

Like a live thing, her voice fluttered around the room, bouncing off the windows, or sometimes it settled, tenderly enfolding me in its wings.

When we sat on the sofa, drinking hot cocoa, her voice rose and fell, only stopping when she ate a marshmallow. She never drank the cocoa.

I listened, pushing my marshmallows deeper into the drink and licking my fingers. My cup grew empty as she filled my mind with imagined meanings.

One day, she called me, and the next, her house was empty.

Sometimes I hear her in my dreams; I still don’t understand her words, but when I wake up, I’m bursting with butterflies.

Carnival of Change

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(Credit: mrcbax on DeviantArt)

‘I just don’t think it’ll work out,’ she said, clutching her cone of cotton candy. ‘Sorry,’ she rose from the red and white striped bench.

‘Oh, I understand,’ said Tom although he did not. ‘So, err… I’ll see you around?’

‘Sure,’ she said, although her eyes and apologetic smile said ‘probably not’, and she disappeared into the crowd.

He watched the rainbow coloured horses bob up and down, while breathing in the popcorn and sugar roasted almonds. Through the music, he head a child screaming something about not wanting to go home, and he thought; ‘why not go to the fire show, now that I’m already here?’

They had roped off an area of the grass where they had put up some tall torches. On the other side of the rope were several rows of chairs. He was the first member of the audience there, so from the middle seat in the front row, he watched the performers fetch buckets of water. One performer caught his eye, as she test spun her poi. She was bald, had a snakebite piercing and a tattoo of a sun on her shoulder. She made him think that maybe it was time for a change. He had been through three relationships with a girl-next-door, maybe he was mean to be with someone more exciting than that. Maybe he was meant to be with someone wild and fiery. The thought grew on him as the seats filled up, and when the sun-tattooed woman spun her fire poi so that it looked like she had flaming butterfly wings, he was sure.

After the performance, he waited for everyone to leave the front row. Then he ducked under the rope. She turned just as he came close, and he took it as a sign, but he was not fast enough to get the first word.

‘You’re not supposed to cross the rope,’ said the woman with the sun tattoo.

‘Oh, yeah, I’m sorry, I know, but I was just thinking, maybe…’

She crossed her arms.

‘Would-you-like-to-get-coffee?’ he stumbled through the words.

She smiled. But it was not an accepting smile, and his heart sank before she began speaking.

‘I don’t think…’ she said.

‘You’re about to tell me you have a boyfriend, aren’t you?’ he said.

‘Girlfriend, actually,’ she said, ‘but thanks for the offer.’

He sighed and wondered why he had not just gone home to bed right after the show.

‘You were the one who watched us set up, right?’ she asked.

‘Yeah,’ he said. In fact, he should never even have gone to the show.

‘Come have a beer with us,’ she said.

‘What?’ He raised his head.

‘With me and the crew,’ she said, ‘you look like you need some people around you.’

As she took his arm and led him to the other performers, he thought that maybe, she really was the change he needed.

Home

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The goats next door

We played tag, running through the faded red labyrinth as often as possible. We threw stones at the dogs when they got too close to the kitchen and splashed in the lake with the horses. There was school of course, but I remember the smell of the goats next door much more clearly than anything they ever tried to teach me.

I vaguely remember someone leaving for university and never coming back. When I see my children dashing past enormous tour busses to get to the now pink labyrinth, I wonder: If I had left, would I be like these tourists now? Going to far away places with strange languages to see other people’s children play. To see other people’s homes and families and eat their food. And what significance would it have, seeing a place I had no connection to, where I had no family, no friends, no memories. Would it even matter to me at all?

A Trip to Cuba, Part 4

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Back in Habana, a Mix of New and Old

The next day we took the bus back to Habana. It stopped a couple of times along the way so that the driver could do his shopping. I saw him buy milk, pork and some bananas.

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Our driver buying pork and bananas.

This time we took a taxi into central Habana to see the sights.

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We walked, though.

Again, we saw many beautiful buildings although some were in disrepair. They were renovating and building a lot, but there were still some empty lots.

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The Capitolio is being renovated…

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… and across the street, is an empty lot.

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A facade with an overgrown scaffolding. As you can see, there is no house behind the facade.

 

They had many small parks, sometimes just a corner with some trees and bushes and a mural or statue. They have used old cannons and cannonballs as decoration on many of the small streets, but I also saw modern art.

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Sometimes, they were placed to stop cars from driving up the streets.

 

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“So I said to him, why would I need a torso?”

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Lamps grow on trees, didn’t you know?

Last Thoughts

Cuba seems like a rather poor country. They are building and renovating a lot in Habana, so maybe in about five years Habana will not seem poor anymore, but I do not know when it will spread to the rest of the country.

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A house we passed on the hike from Hotel Hanabanilla.

They seem to run out of things. For example, I did not have any ice cream while I was there, because they never had any. Some places had signs showing typical nestlé ice creams, but no ice cream.

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At sunset in Trinidad.

I did not have any internet while I was there. It is possible to buy internet cards, which give one access to internet for an hour per card, if you are at a hotspot. My sister told me that they worked fine, although some homepages were blocked, typically by the United States.

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On the same street as our casa particular in Habana. I think this was a school? On a side note: Education is free in Cuba. For Cubans of course.

We spent a large percent of our time in busses and taxis. The taxis were of course an experience in themselves, but I would have liked to walk around more in between. If you are thinking of going to Cuba, I recommend spending at least two nights in each place, and if you are from Europe, I recommend spending at least two weeks in Cuba, to get some more time without jetlag.

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I met this man at the airport.

It took a lot longer to write about Cuba than I thought it would. I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip, and that I have inspired you to visit Cuba. It is definitely an experience.

 

The next post will be flash fiction, I promise.

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