I left the house just as the agent was putting up the “For sale” sign. Julia decided I was much too agitated to drive, so she pushed me over to the passenger seat. I shed a tear of two. Well, to be honest, I cried floods. It was much too early to go to the airport so we went to a shopping centre and had late lunch or early dinner, depending on how you look at it, and then went around looking at clothes and shoes. Since it was Sunday, the shops closed early, and finally we had to leave. We arrived at the airport three hours before departure, had a cup of tea, and then I burst into tears again. Right then Staffan called on Julia’s cell phone – he had of course received the message about the disconnected number, but hadn’t thought about calling on my cell phone. I concealed my tears as careful as I could and told him everything was just fine. Then I gave Julia a quick hug and went through security.
I decided I would not cry any more and opened a book. Actually it worked, although every now and then I found myself reading the same line over and over again, my mind wandering off. The flight went smoothly, and I just about finished the book when we landed. As I only had hand luggage, I was hugging Staffan ten minutes later. It was a weird feeling, being met by him at a different place than Arlanda. We chatted about matters of no consequence on the way – home.
It was past midnight and very dark, so I didn’t recognize the place until we were there. The house was as empty as the one I had just left, and it was different from what I had remembered. Not larger, not smaller, just different.
Then we faced a dilemma that I had suppressed. We had only one folding bed that Staffan had brought and had slept in. He had also brought my Pilates mat, which is fine for Pilates, but not really for sleeping. We had also just one blanket and one pillow although I was pretty sure I had packed two of each. I declined Staffan’s chivalrous offer to sleep on the bare floor, so I slept on the bed with the blanket as mattress, while he slept on the mattress spread on the floor. We both slept exceptionally well.
The morning was gorgeous, and yes, there were swans on the river, and I went out to the garden and knew at once how I could keep myself busy until the van arrived. After breakfast, which we enjoyed standing up at the kitchen counter, I suggested going to a garden store. Since Staffan knows me well he wasn’t surprised or else disguised his astonishment well. “B&Q”, he said, showing off his superior acquaintance with the place.
PS The Enigma of Arrival is a novel by the Nobel Prize winner V S Naipaul, which is about his life in the