Since I was a good girl and went to bed early I woke up as usual, and Staffan and I and cousin Birgitta had breakfast together. Then Staffan took Birgitta to the railway station and went to do more shopping (that is, making purchases), while I had another cup of coffee with Sergej with the two little girls efficiently preventing us from talking. They were very excited because they were going to a circus that day. I tried to pay for the coffee and soft drinks, but the waiter said it was on the house. Given the bill we had paid, a cup of coffee here or there didn't make much difference, but it was nice of him.
Then we went over to Julia's. They had moved last autumn, and we had not been in their new apartment. It was light and decorated with great taste – not that I had expected anything else. I could tell that there had been some negotiations, but I could also feel that they both love the space they have created together. Some of their common and individual hobbies were tangibly present. I made myself stop being envious. Not envious as I am now, but envious for me thirty years ago. I am in fact happy that my daughter has a room of her own.
Then the guests started coming, and there were hugs and presents and flowers “for the hostess”. Julia had made some canapés and cupcakes, and there was sparkling which I carefully avoided having in mind flying in just a few hours. Most of the friends hadn't seen each other for years, possibly since our farewell party almost four years ago. They obviously enjoyed talking to each other. I kept looking at the clock and trying to figure out how much of the presents I would be able to pack in our already full suitcases. I had to leave behind a huge painting that my sister-in-law had sent, one from Staffan's childhood home. I like it, and it would go well with other art we have, but it will have to be another time.
I had to hint to some friends that we actually had a plane to catch, which they found weird (one friend had sent apologies because she was travelling the day after), but then they know we are weird. We left three bottles of expensive wine to Julia and Pontus since there was no way we could take it with us.
The drive to the airport was painless, and we arrived an hour before check-in even started so we had a light and quite decent dinner. The departure hall brought the memories of four years ago when Julia had taken me to the airport, and all bridges had been burned. I made the memory go away. This time we were returning home.
To be continued.
My wonderful in-laws Elise and Christian took pictures.