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Nordic, 001

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I went to Coop with the full intention of buying something sweet. In the entrance, a huge sign stated “5 sek/st” and hanged above an extensive variety of Nougat chocolates. A woman stopped close to me while I stood there and she looked so Swedish I suddenly thought, “She must have a Swedish taste, and will choose what she has always bought since she was a girl. I will buy three pieces, and one of them will be the one she chooses”. I did, and I am keeping that one for a rainy day.

My roomie told me about the rising cases of Covid-19 in Lund. Yesterday I counted around forty or fifty people inside Coop at five in the afternoon, and saw only one using a mask. I bought bundles of fruit in a happy frenzy of budget expenditure now that the first week of the month looms over. At the counter I asked for my Coop card, embarrassing myself a little bit while I fumbled on my phone for my personal number. “You can get all kinds of discount with it”, my roomie told me when I came back with two big Coop bags full of greens and fruits and no toiletries, which are doomed to lack very, very soon. While I gleefully filled my two levels of the shared refrigerator, I reflected on the little quirks that link me to my dad. “Your dad wastes all his money on filling that fruit vase in the table”, is something my mom mutters from time to time, a piece of him that she has understood is as unchangeable as, probably, everything else. I miss them both with a strange, silent serenity. They seem to be the only constant beyond time, distance and even death. I know they are with me in my memories, no matter what happens. They have imprinted on me so much during their lives that I cannot help but miss them and, at the same time, continue. I cooked some asparagus for the first time in my life, and they were ok. “That means they are not good”, laughs my roomie, and I agree.


With more and more frequency I keep going back to a certain day of April of last year. Aqqaluk told me he wanted to show me a small kids’ fair outside of Copenhagen, so we took the train and landed even deeper into the suburbs. “What do they do inside such big houses?”, I remembered asking. I felt like an outsider, simultaneously seen by imaginary people behind any open window and ignored by those whose lives seemed at that moment so different from mine. Our walk lead us to a park that, in my current state of mind, looked more feral than what I expected from the nice neighborhood surrounding it. Spring in Denmark is a grey, wet experience, which imbues any day with either a sense of latent mystery or a disheartening melancholic loneliness. Today it felt like the former; my heart beat steadier as I held Aqqaluk’s hand and started hearing the faint sounds of children and fair music.

Do I remember clearly? I am not sure. I can only recall wooden structures in the open, the scent of wetness underlying the smell of popcorn, sweets and hot dogs. In my memory we stayed so briefly, and used no games. Why? Like many things, these memories take the form of dreams, perhaps because I was lead by him. There is an instance where several kids ran from an open red mouth with a worn out sign promoting the game: “3D immersive travel! Get inside and try it”. I remember feeling at home, I remember thinking about the approachability of this open fair, I remember Aqqaluk telling me this was nothing compared to Tivoli. What draws me back to this memory is the image of noise, scent and warmth going up in waves, enclosed by the quiet surrounding of the looming park. What draws me is the mention of Tivoli, which transports me to crazy cups, light shows at midnight, a moon at its coldest, staring at me while I rose high high high in the sky, and a bench beside the artificial lake where I heard eager words of a blooming love made desperate and unsteady by distance. I remember my heart and how it finally overflowed a day before leaving Denmark.


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