Under the Green Sun of Slormor
by Bertil Falk
part 2 of 3
Parvrin, who for a long time had walked some distance ahead of me, had stopped by a murmuring inky brook; at least the color of the liquid that ran passed us with a merry sound was that of blue-lilac ink. She sat on a downfallen tree trunk, waiting for me. I sat down by her side and we consumed water and black bread before we continued. Now the path went along the brook. I once more broke into a jog trot, which caused a deepened change of consciousness.
While we walked, the air got colder, and I found that I again shivered as I walked a few steps behind Parvrin. Dust was removed from another winter in an altogether forgotten recess of my mind and emerged out of the kitchen midden of the past. It came with stupendous strength, displaying its three-dimensional effect of depth, its contour-sharpened sharpness and its clear voices, rendered with tone qualities, which were many decades past in another room than Slormor and in a time, which not was of the world of Slormor.
The Grove of the Observatory with its snow-covered hillside, long lunch-hour, a 16-year old girl dressed for slalom, arrogant, spirited, full of fun, jaunty, conscious of her power of attraction on three boys of the same age. All four in heavy winter boots, guys with peaked caps with turned-down earmuffs; she in a knitted cap, flirty, in the midst of the hill.
Kålle starts pawing her. Brunne is with it. Laughs! The girl is slightly rejecting, what was her name by the way? Kålle is under her belt with a searching forefinger and now the laughs. Suddenly, I grasp the gravity of the situation. Brunne helps Kålle. They try to pull away her slalom trousers. Her face so happy five seconds ago is painted with panic. Kålle will put his finger into her.
Her eyes are terror-stricken. “Stop it! Stop it! Please stop it!” she whimpers in despair. But no! Kålle will have his way.
“Can’t you see that she doesn’t want it,” I say, “Let her go!” But they continue. I nag and grab Kålle, who turns around violently. “Idiot, of course she wants it. She’s only showing off.” Nevertheless, he stops, and Brunne stops, too.
She tries to get to her feet and get her things together, and as she succeeds, she turns to me: “Thank you, thank you,” she says and she repeats “Thank you, thank you” and slides down the slope like a living toboggan.
On the way back to Odenplan and school I get my share of their anger. “She wanted it, stupid!”
I wonder what her name was? This was the only time I met her. And now it was such a long time ago in another time and another world. The air was still raw and chilly, and I shivered again. The brook ran its ink-dumping along the track and banked suddenly like a stunt aviator, and then fell in a cascade into a pond, the edges of which were all overflowing.
The water running through the cascade was collected by another stream surrounded by a row of peculiar buildings. They were concrete-like lumps that looked like ovens, for they had fires in them. Beings of the characteristic Slormorian kind chopped wood in that Japanese way when pieces of wood are divided with a blow struck with the edge of a stretched-out hand, sometimes with a sprawling thumb and the other fingers close up by each other.
The pieces of wood were thrown into the opening of the ovens. On top of the ovens were buildings, and I realized that I was looking at an ingenious way of heating a house. We were received with a certain hesitation, but when Parvrin had exchanged a few words with a couple of solid ladies, the mood was relieved.
We were invited into one of the houses, and there my guess was verified. All of the house radiated heat from floor, walls and ceiling, which were filled with flues roughly like that brilliant tiled stove that a lone state investigator invented in the 18th-century Kingdom of Sweden.
It was a pleasant heat evenly distributed in the rooms of the house, and I learned that the village was deep-frozen for long periods; that was why they had invented this way of heating their houses.
We were served a glowing drink, which had a bracing effect on me, and after eating some fresh fruits we continued our wandering. I felt very well. The cool air got more and more humid and warm, and soon I got rid of the frozen feeling that had caused me to shiver during the wandering. But new associations crossed my lines of thought.
It was not easy to remain on the path. It rose, and we were dumped off it several times and wound up in a dry ditch. There were ditches on both sides of the path, which unexpectedly widened into something that looked like a three-lane highway going in both directions. We walked along it on the left side.
The lane turned into a side road, which rushed off in an unexpected direction up and along the trunk of a downfallen giant tree. The tree oscillated between a state of resignation and glow, while the emerald green sun shone and shined, throve and thrived, lit and lighted until we rose and raised between the branches that whirled in bewildered grimaces and slinged and slung us into a thick clump of parasitic plants.
Copyright © 2007 by Bertil Falk