Here is Sigrid. It is nine in the morning, it is January, and it is the light of January 2008 which sharply, but faithfully fills the room, with a colour-temperature of 5600 degrees kelvin, which is the usual colour-temperature for daylight, and is thus the colour-temperature you use in the light bulbs in the big floodlights that you now and then, if you want to simulate daylight in a room in a film, have to set up outside the window and switch on, so they light up the room inside, but for us, who walk past outside and just see the floodlights, but not the effect they have inside the room, the light appears to be much too strong to simulate daylight. Well: Sigrid sits, in this natural daylight, at her desk which stands against one of the walls. Her face is thoughtful, and wisps of hair hang around her face, wisps of hair she twists now and then, probably without knowing it, because Sigrid’s face reveals that she is absorbed in what she is looking at: a small miniature portrait in black and white of a man on the back cover of a book, which she is holding up in front of her. When she is absorbed in this way, her face takes on a hanging quality. It can almost look as if the face is being held up by the eyes, because they are alert and staring. In the middle of Sigrid’s eyes we see the pupils: we are drawn towards Sigrid’s pupils, which are utterly black and closed to us, like a full stop! although we would have liked to believe that we could stare through the pupils as if through small black funnels, stare through to the inside of her head and become absorbed, and become the thoughts in her head, become like water in the water, air in the air, the meat of the hand that holds this paper, or the wood in the tree that stands outside her window and tremble in the January air, and doesn’t know that she knows that it exists!
Sigrid is twenty-three years old and studies literature at the university in Bergen. She is the kind of literature student who has pictures of literary theorists on her walls, copied from literary journals and stuck to the wall with a bit of blue-tack, which shows through the photocopy-paper at the top. She is also the kind of literature student who has a reproduction of van Gogh’s sunflowers on her wall because they mean something to her (there is something about the yellow and the grotesque, the recent blossoming and the withering, “life” and “death,” the hopelessness in the way the sunflowers twist out of their vase and stand there with their absurd, one-eyed faces drooping. (Something about their being so lonely, but at the same time so grotesquely unfolded.) And there is a lot she wants to talk about, to someone who wants to listen, of course. Usually she talks with Magnus about this, things she sees, things she has read, things she has thought about, things she has analysed, thought and thought about while she brushed her teeth, went to bed, showered and had breakfast the next morning, things that have expanded to become more than things, things that have been sprouting through her like a huge sunflower that now fills the whole of her and stares her in the face from inside her head with its huge, one-eyed face, until she is about to burst and calls Magnus to tell him about it. But Magnus has moved to Oslo and has found a girlfriend, and although she believes that the relationship has to end at some time or other, because after all, it is she and Magnus who are the totally obvious couple, she has a strong feeling of having lost yet again. Yet again, the world has shut her out and said: you! You can go back to your head.
When Sigrid was a child, she used to attach herself to things in nature because she felt a lack of contact with people. She got attached to the mountains behind their house and especially the stars, the stars above the mountains at night. She used to sit in her bed, which was right beneath the window, her chin resting on the windowsill, and look up at the mountains, which were often utterly white, because somehow it was mostly winter when she sat and looked at the mountains, almost utterly and blindingly white, and at the Great Bear in the sky, which shone across the mountains, moving slowly along. And she looked at all the other stars, at how they sparkled and sparkled, as if they were alive. And Sigrid looked up at them and thought: they understand me. If no one else understands me, then they are always there! She would get tears in her eyes, because she felt so strongly that there was a connection between her and the stars. They were her, and the white mountains were her, and the black sky. Fortunately Jon English lifted her chin with one finger now and again, and in that way, her head, which had been thoughtfully bent and had long dark hair (she imagined), was thus slowly and hopefully lifted by this finger beneath her chin belonging to Jon English, and she looked straight into a pair of eyes which were so clear and blue and full of love and understanding. Exactly the way his eyes shone in Against the Wind. And Sigrid shone back. And one day, she thought, while she sat looking at the stars with her chin resting on the windowsill, this would happen, also in all secrecy, she would sit like this with her head thoughtfully bent, and someone would lift her chin with a finger.
In other words. Sigrid shines as strongly, inside, she, too, shines, but there aren’t very many who have seen it yet, this her secret, shimmering light. Not Magnus, at least, that is pretty obvious. And she has completely forgotten Jon English. But just now, as she sits here, with this book with its author portrait, she has, funnily enough, a strange feeling that perhaps it doesn’t matter, this thing with Magnus. Because the other day she walked into a bookshop, the way she usually does when she has nowhere to go and doesn’t dare to go to a café alone because she couldn’t bear to pluck up courage enough to go in, and then keep up her courage each second she sits there and obviously has no one to be there with, so instead she went into a bookshop. It was one of those days when she walked around feeling like the white mountains and the stars and the black night. That no one no one saw. She walked there between the shelves and pulled out one book after the other, and then she accidentally pulled out a book that had the fantastic and life-soaring title A Vacant Chair. And that was exactly what she was looking for. A place where she could sit, a place in which she could exist. Someone who wanted her to sit there, with them. And when she turned it over to look at the back cover, she met the eyes of an author, Kåre Tryvle. Yes, that was exactly what happened, she felt, and he, Kåre Tryvle, met her eyes. She just stood there and looked at his face. She thought he was very handsome, of course, he was dark and somewhat Jon English-ish in his square-ish appearance, a kind of distinguished Jon English, but it was the eyes in that face she was looking at. It felt as though they looked straight into her, as though she had been wandering around feeling infinitely lonely, and all of a sudden there were, on the bookshelves, eyes like that which saw it, saw her infinite loneliness. Eyes which said, sort of: hi there. She may well have felt like that because of the illusion that can be created from a photo with eyes that look straight at the viewer (the painter or the photographer): no matter from which angle you look at it, you have a kind of eye contact. And it might well be that she was a little crazy to feel something like that, that he saw her, but Sigrid didn’t reflect on this at all, she just felt a lamenting ‘oh’ churning her stomach, which made her take a step backwards, which made her back into a pram on its way towards her, and she had to say: sorry! to the mother with the pram, and the mother with the pram said: that’s okay, it’s very narrow here. And then the mother with the pram had to say, because Sigrid had fallen into some kind of trance that made her oblivious to being a participant in the world’s normal movements, such as stepping aside for someone who wants to pass you with a pram—I wonder if you could move a little, I’m going to the end of the alphabet—and this made Sigrid blush and look at the book she was holding, and she said, yes, I think I’m standing on ‘t’, so sorry, and then she had to move so the mother with the pram could get to the end of the alphabet, and she had to turn away from her to hide how red her face was, a redness that didn’t happen just because of an embarrassing moment before the end of the alphabet, because wasn’t it all a little improbable? Symbolic, sort of, that she had stood here holding this book, with these eyes, waiting eyes, sort of? Surely it was somehow ordained? On such a day of mountains and stars, that a pram appeared and nudged her, at that very moment?
And when she came home later and read the poems, she felt that all his poems were exactly like his eyes. As if they looked right inside her. His poems said things straightforwardly: “Sit here,” it said just after the book had quoted César Vallejo: Loved are those who sit down. Her eyes filled with tears. Loved are those who sit down. She would look at the portrait and stroke the book and think: we understand each other. But you don’t know it. You, Kåre, she thought, although she noticed that when she thought of his name, it never felt quite natural. She tried to say it out loud now and again, Kåre, but her voice became distorted, in a way, when she said it, it wasn’t a natural name to give voice to. She had even looked it up in a book of names to find out what it meant, and it didn’t mean, as she had hoped, “the seer” or “protection” or “home” or anything worthy, and with a symbolic suggestion that he in fact was the one she had been searching for. Kåre meant “the curly-haired one.” But it didn’t matter, after all, it didn’t change the mystical bond she felt so deeply between herself and his eyes on the back cover of the book. It was as if it was real, as if she knew who he was.
Yes, who are you, Tryvle? Actually, here is Kåre Tryvle. Not in miniature, but a life-size Kåre. And where is he? In Bergen. In Bergen, Sigrid’s city. At nine o’clock in the morning in this very town where a twenty-three year old girl sits in a room with sharp January light filtering in through the skylight and looks at a miniature portrait of Kåre Tryvle and feels that he is hope itself in her existence, this very man stands in front of an assembly of about two hundred men, and perhaps thirty women, all dressed in suits, in Hotel Norway. Bergen is hosting a trade and commerce conference, and Kåre has been called upon to provide the morning entertainment. Kåre stands in front of the assembly in worn, dark jeans and a hoody, with a pair of new, blue Adidas runners on his feet, and we can see his mouth when he speaks, and it is almost possible to see by the expression around his mouth that he is saying something funny – and he is: the assembly laughs. He holds up a book and says: it’s really true, you can read it here. You have the perfect golf club swing inside you, you just need to find it. The assembly laughs again. Surely golf can’t be this simple, Kåre says. But unfortunately, he says, life is not always as simple as golf. And then he pulls out a novel “which he has written himself,” as he says, and starts to read from it. Yes, who are you, Kåre? If we look at him, knowing that he is forty-three years old, and see that he wears jeans and a hoody and new Adidas runners, we may think perhaps that he is desperately trying to appear younger than he is. Or we can think that he doesn’t give a damn if it looks as if he is desperately trying to appear younger than he is; he likes to wear hoodies. He doesn’t give a damn if it makes him look like he is going through a mid-life crisis. Hoodies fit who he is and always has been. He doesn’t wear a suit and tie. It wouldn’t occur to him. If that means wearing jeans and a hoody to a funeral, so be it. We should add that the new Adidas runners are not quite in line with the image Kåre wants to project; everything should in some way have a used and worn look, preferably. The hoody looks scruffy, the jeans, too, dark and sort of ‘rock’n rolled.’ He has flung his big, black parka on the chair behind him, the kind with a fur-lined hood (but he has removed the fur-lining, so the jacket now has an anorak-look about it), and a pair of earphones of the brand Skull peep out from his pocket. They are top quality earphones, Kåre will only accept the best when he walks through town listening to music. Besides, they have to look cool, and these earphones do. If we turned on the iPod in his pocket, we would learn that he was forced to turn off the music when he walked into Hotel Norway while he was listening to PJ Harvey’s fabulous track “This Is Love,” at the very spot where PJ comes to the line “I wanna chase you round the table, I wanna touch your head,” one of Kåre’s top ten favourite lines from rock music, because of its simplicity and directness. I mean, he has often enough shouted it across a table in a bar, late at night: I wanna touch your head! And he hasn’t shouted it as a chat-up line, well, strictly speaking, that has been part of it, if we are to be honest, and it has worked, too (after he has touched the head of the target), but the main point for Kåre has always been the quality of the sentence, the simple and straight-forward-ish nature of such a declaration: I want to touch your head. All texts, including literature, should be like that, Kåre feels, and that has always been the primary purpose of his shouting I wanna touch your head across bar tables. More than anything, Kåre, if truth be told, would have wanted to become a musician, if he didn’t totally lack singing talent. He has all this musicality inside him and knows and feels inside himself that he could have been a damned great frontman. He is just not a great singer. That is, he can sing, but when he tried to become a frontman of the band “Jimmy and the Aunts” at the age of seventeen, he quickly found out that the voice he fully trusted in the bathroom and his own room, had its limits. It was a shock for him, this. That he actually was not the best singer and rocker in the world, that his voice actually cracked when he tried to reach the high notes, and that he had problems finding back to the key after it had cracked, and that he, as a result, had performed a whole song in the wrong key to the speechless faces of the youth club audience.
On the other hand, the suits at Hotel Norway are laughing. Kåre’s protagonist has just fallen on the stairs at Ikea, in front of two teenage girls. Kåre is suddenly, while he is reading and looking out on his audience, struck by a kind of loathing at the situation. This is inauthentic, he thinks, while he reads (it has often amazed him how easy it is to reflect and observe while you are reading, yet appearing to be engrossed in the business at hand, namely reading out loud), this is inauthentic, he stands in front of an audience of suits and makes them laugh, they laugh at his protagonist, exactly the way he intended, but suddenly he feels completely outside the whole situation. Is it because the circumstances of his own life are so chaotic, that he feels like this? Is it that the state of affairs has caught up with him, as he stands here in front of an audience? The state of affairs which he thought it would be good to get away from, hence this trip to Bergen, but that now sort of runs down his spine with the cool temperature of bog water?
The state of affairs: that he and Wanda, his girl-friend of three years, broke up a whole week ago. That he hasn’t contacted her, and that she hasn’t contacted him. That there has been utter silence. That he doesn’t know if he misses her, and that this suggests that the relationship actually is over. That he has become cynical and cold again.
Yes, this is the state of affairs, the real state of affairs, for Kåre Tryvle, at this very moment, when he stands in front of an audience in Hotel Norway.
Things are about to close in on Sigrid, however, in her room with the light falling in through the skylight and shining, among other things, on the miniature portrait of Kåre Tryvle on a book cover. She looks around the room and she sees her own image in the mirror that hangs on the wall above the desk. Here she sits, in her room, with a book in her hands. Here she sits: on the wall in front of her hangs a picture of Paul de Man, a Belgian literary theoretician, on the wall next to her hangs a mirror that she can see herself in, on the slanting wall behind her she has stuck a painting of van Gogh’s sunflowers, which means something to her, and in her hands she holds a book. Are there other people in the room? No. This is Sigrid, in her room. This is Sigrid, in her head. The way it always is! What a typical situation in her life. What a typical situation, it strikes her – that she is supposed to understand and understand and that things are supposed to mean and mean, but that the only thing to understand her were just a pair of eyes in a book, or stars over the mountain at night, as she sits there with the book in front of her, and suddenly the walls feel like walls and the ceiling feels like a ceiling, the way it sometimes does when all magic flows out of that moment when you know that hope does exist, and what exists is no more than this: walls and ceiling, and walls. And ceiling.
And men’s shirts that are too big. Sigrid looks over at the blinking cursor on the computer screen in front of her. She is supposed to write about those men’s shirts that are too big, not spend her time trying to understand Kåre Tryvle’s eyes. She is supposed to find a scene in the film Lost in Translation where the main character, Charlotte, walks around in a man’s shirt that is too big in a hotel room in Tokyo filled with light and is the incarnation of a vulnerable woman. Yes.
Sigrid’s phone beeps. It is a message from Magnus! which says: “idea about girls with too big men’s shirts ok. Send draft Friday.” So, he must have come back from Prague, then, she thinks and she writes: “Back from Prague? Good trip?” Oh, Prague! He had called her and said that he had bought surprise tickets for Elida, his girl-friend, who was writing a thesis on Kafka’s The Castle, he had just bought them when he called Sigrid, and Sigrid thought that the fact her called her the minute he had bought them, perhaps meant that he actually had been thinking of Sigrid, that is, that his subconscious had thought of Sigrid when he bought the tickets, not Elida. Oh, why can’t you see it, Sigrid thought while she pretended to be terribly happy for him. But she doesn’t get an answer from Magnus, she doesn’t get to know instantly if the trip to Prague has been good. What does it mean that he doesn’t answer her instantly? That the trip has not been good? Or on the contrary, that the trip has been so good that he forgets Sigrid as soon as he has sent her the message he had to send her? She looks over at Kåre whom she has put down on the table on top of a pile of other books. He is much older than her, it says on the inside cover that he is born in 1965. That means he is … 75, 85, 95, 2005 = 40, plus 2008 – 2005 = 3, add 40 + 3 = 43 years old. Exactly twenty years older than her! She lifts him up again and looks into his eyes, but she doesn’t achieve the mystical feeling of an intense bond and has to put him down again and instead click her computer mouse to find the document named “The Windswept Woman.” She has based the title on a poem by Geir Gulliksen, in which there is a woman who wanders around in a crumpled man’s shirt, in bare feet, and who has a bed that looks like a pier. Sigrid is very fond of this poem, but she has suddenly started to notice that every time women are portrayed as brittle and vulnerable, in films or in literature, they are wearing oversized men’s shirts, with bare legs beneath. They usually have tousled hair as well. She has started to write an essay on this topic, which she now has got the green light to submit to the journal of the literary science students at Oslo University. In fact, she cannot bear, and she has said this to Magnus as well: I cannot bear any more women in shirts that are too big. Why are they so dreadfully sweet and cute in these shirts? Take this Norwegian film, Sigrid said, I don’t remember the title, where Maria Bonnevie plays a woman who is two things: provocative and sexy with red lips and a tight red dress, and lost and vulnerable with tousled hair and no makeup in an oversized man’s shirt. It is true! Next proof: the lovely film Mr. and Mrs. Smith, with Brangelina Pitt. Angelina is two things: Sexy and with a garter chock-full of guns—until she reveals herself as a soft and loving woman—in an oversized man’s shirt, and with bare legs. Proof number three: in the film The History of Violence there is a woman who is married to a lapsed gangster whose past catches up with him, and after these two have had an incredibly raw and steaming reconciliation-sex scene on a staircase, in which she is slammed against the steps, and obviously thinks this is the zenith of physical happiness, she dons an oversized man’s shirt. So now she looks, after having been extremely sexy and extremely adult, like a little girl.
Proof number four, Sigrid said, holding up four fingers to show how far she had got, but had to hold down her pinkie which wanted to follow the other fingers up: proof number four is the little princess in Enchanted. After she has fallen through a portal from the world of cartoons, where everything is rosy, and where she is about to marry her prince, well, after she has fallen into the real world and starts to get more complex feelings, in a meeting with a hard-boiled lawyer, she is suddenly sitting on the hard-boiled lawyer’s sofa, looking vulnerable, late at night. And is wearing an oversized male pyjamas that is carelessly buttoned. And is adorable enough to eat. Magnus laughed. A male pyjamas, can you actually say that, Magnus said. Proof number five: the main character in Lost in Translation is wearing it as well, an oversized man’s shirt, when she is alone in her hotel room. Something which is a bit peculiar, Sigrid reflected, as this film is directed by a woman. But anyway: Then we have the poem by Geir Gulliksen, said Sigrid. Which I love. The problem is that this woman whom the poem’s ‘I’ obviously loves, or loved, is wearing a crumpled man’s shirt as she is wandering around, without socks on her feet! But it is fabulous that her bed looks like a windswept pier, said Magnus. Yes, said Sigrid. It is. It is fabulous. She sat and pictured the windswept pier, a white pier leading straight into the ocean, and it was black and dark around the white bed that ended in the cold, black ocean, and it was blowing on all fronts. It gives you goose pimples, really, Sigrid said. She suddenly felt as if just such a pier was going right through her middle. A small white pier in a big and heavy darkness. But what, she said, to stick to the starting point, makes small windswept women in big shirts look so fucking (ooh, a word she rarely uses) beautiful? Huh? I don’t know, Magnus said, but it is cute, we do enjoy it! Yes, but why do you enjoy it? Sigrid asked, have you—all you men—analysed your reactions to this? Magnus laughed and said: no. You’ll have to do it for us. And I will, fuck it, Sigrid said. But on the other hand, don’t women find it pretty comfortable to wear shirts that are too big? Magnus said, and she hit him on the head with Geir Gulliksen’s poetry collection. And that is what she is supposed to do now, or not exactly hit someone on the head with Geir Gulliksen’s poetry collection, but analyse this phenomenon, these women in shirts that are too big, as an expression of a particular aesthetic perspective.
But before she starts, she gets a glimpse of herself in the mirror that hangs on the wall next to her desk, and she can see that she is not strikingly pretty, but that she has tousled, brown hair, thick lips and thick eyebrows, and a clenched look on her face. Moreover, she is wearing a thick jumper that her aunt got wrong when she knitted it for an uncle, in a kind of nubbly light brown wool that makes her look like a teddy bear. It is totally obvious that a much too big, light brown woollen jumper fails to have the same effect as an oversized man’s shirt; she doesn’t look cute and vulnerable. She looks fat and stupid. The missing sweetness and vulnerability may also have something to do with the fact that her legs are not bare. She is wearing a pair of wine-coloured tracksuit pants in a sort of shiny velvet, and on her feet are thick socks which she has stuffed her pants into, and her sock-feet are stuffed into a pair of woollen slippers. She looks absolutely terrible!
Here, on the other hand, at nine o’clock in the morning, on the twelfth floor of a hotel in Copenhagen, we see the film director Linnea (27), wearing an oversized light-blue man’s shirt and with nothing underneath but a pair of panties. She stands at the window, looking out, and is pretty gorgeous, if we shall say so ourselves. She thinks that at this moment, the city seems to be utterly empty. The light-blue man’s shirt she is wearing belongs to Göran Fältberg, Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Uppsala. We would have loved to point to Linnea for Sigrid and say: “Here’s someone you can interview about those oversized shirts,” but that is, after all, impossible. Is this young film director aware that her attire puts her into the category of young, vulnerable women in oversized shirts? No, that never enters Linnea’s mind. But is she vulnerable? Yes. The morning sun shines faintly through the layer of haze, and she can see long, grey aeroplane bodies gliding across the sky, like nails, weightless nails gliding into the distance. All this may just as well not exist. Because: Göran is not here. The whole city may just as well not be here, but the windowpane that separates her from the city down there, is here, she feels it against her cheek, and she herself is here, she is here, particularly and palpably here, with her fingertips touching the windowpane. Göran Fältberg is not here and she is yearning. Linnea presses her nose against the window.
There is a knock on the door. Linnea starts, we see two distinct stripes on the glass where her nostrils have breathed hot air. The rest of the windowpane is misted over where she stood. She walks to the door and opens it, and outside stands Robert, her producer.
Robert lowers his eyes when he sees how scantily she is dressed. This was something he had failed to anticipate, he had imagined her fully dressed and ready to go. And then she stands there in just a shirt and shows a lot of skin, both on her chest and legs. He has never seen her skin before, apart from the skin on her face, throat, and hands. He starts perspiring and mumbles something that Linnea is unable to hear. Hmm? she says and cannot help smiling, there is always something about Robert, something a bit mumbling. His clothes are elegant and expensive, but they always hang a bit crookedly on him, they get dented or twisted and are too narrow across the shoulders, there is something about Robert that makes his clothes always look as if they only barely agree to hang on this particular body. As if they think: fine, ok, we’ll do it, angrily slamming the door. Robert looks up at her, with eyes that are wide open in a funny way, as if he has decided that he must pull himself together and look at her: I must’ve got the time wrong, Robert says. What time is it? says Linnea. It’s nine o’clock, says Robert. Oops, says Linnea, I’m sorry. I was in another headspace. I’ll be quick. Can we meet in the reception in half an hour? No problem, Robert mumbles to his shoes, I’ll just go back to … (he has to look at her again, he has to look up along her body, at her naked feet, up along her shirt, up to her chest, her throat, her face, he blushes) … to my room. Good, Linnea smiles and closes the door, noticing that he is trying to hide his gaze.
While Linnea jumps into the shower, showers, comes out of the shower, and begins to pull out some clothes from the suitcase she has placed on a small sofa, we could ask who she is, Linnea? According to the wild flower she is named after (a small red and white bell-flower which grows on the forest floor and looks like it blushes bashfully just because you stand there, with your mountain-booted legs planted coarsely in the heather as you bend down to study it), we have the right to expect a gentle little creature. And: that is spot on. Linnea is thin and small and often walks with her head bent down, as if she were a little bell-flower who wants to keep things to herself, and who blushes at the thought of someone watching her. Gorgeous, yes, she certainly is.
Linnea grew up partly in an antique shop run by her parents, and partly in a home full of antique furniture. Before she started school, she spent half the day in the antique shop and the other half in the living-room with her parents, who spent their evenings watching films and slides on an old film projector. Linnea enjoyed it, she enjoyed sitting in the dark, but was it the film she was watching? No. Linnea preferred to watch the light-beam from the film projector, watch all the dust whirling around as if caught inside the beam. That was where she wanted to be: with this beam with the whirling dust, with the smell of the canvas screen and the sense of her parents sitting close together on the old rococo sofa behind her like two baroque ornaments hardly visible in the darkness, engrossed in the film. Not in her, and not in her watching the light-beam and not the film, thinking it was magic and inconceivable that all the images that appeared on the screen were carried through this dusty light-beam. They never noticed that. When the video age, and later, the DVD age, ended the era of film projections, she forgot this cone of light for a while. Until, around the age of seventeen, she saw a chandelier in the antique shop. The chandelier hung in a dark corner and shone with a sort of flashing, confined flicker of light. Then she remembered: the light from the film projector, the whirling dust inside the light beam, she herself who sat and watched. And she had to say, “oh.” And she had to ask if she could have that chandelier, and then she had to hear her parents say “no.” It was much too expensive. But what if it was what she wanted more than anything else in her whole life? “No.” But it was, she thought, that flashing but confined play of light in the chandelier! And from then on, every time she saw a chandelier, she thought about who she was: a confined play of light.
At the film school this was her biggest wish: to be able to film something that would portray this play of light. Most of all she wanted to show this film of light on a semi-perforated screen, at the back of which she would put a floodlight and shine it on the audience through the screen, so they would gasp in wonderment. Sounds of “oohh” would ripple through the auditorium. But: That’s not possible, her lecturer said. How do you expect the audience to see anything at all on a backlit screen? It’ll fade out the film and make the screen white. It’s just not possible. Oh, Linnea thought. And now she was too grown-up now to ask the question, “But what if it is what I want more than anything else in my whole life?”
So Linnea has not had much luck with her heart’s desires, and now she is standing here at the window once more, freshly showered, in her underwear and holding a jumper, wishing that Göran were here. But is he? No.
(Let us inform you: at this moment in time, while Linnea is standing at the window in Copenhagen, Göran Fältberg is fast asleep in his bed in Uppsala. Both he and his wife have seriously overslept this morning, his wife lies next to him, and the room is filled with the even rhythms of sleeping breaths. It is dark and cool, and white duvet covers shroud man and wife in two cocoons. Göran’s chin has fallen down on his chest, and his eyes seem to have sunken into his face, he has white, close-cropped hair and a white beard, and in the dark, this whiteness makes him almost unreal. He dreams restlessly, about some corridors at the university which grow longer and longer the more he walks in them, and the flashing fluorescent ceiling lights make him restless, and he rattles his key ring in front of him, a strange thing to do, it strikes Göran in his dream, but he rattles and rattles his key ring more and more intensely in the endless corridors, and he becomes almost hypnotised by the flashes of light in the metal of the key ring, by the flickering fluorescent tubes. So, that is exactly where Göran is, in this bed in Uppsala, in this dream about a rattling key ring, while Linnea is standing at the window, wishing that he were in Copenhagen.