There was a suburb, wasn’t there? A suburb under a lifeless Scandinavian sky. Laid out in a grid once and for all. The suburb where your parents’ house was.

There was a wet black path through a darkening grove that seemed to take forever to walk through. Nothing stirred. A sort of eerie stillness over everything, resisting feelings. A standardised suburb in the middle of nowhere, managed down to the ground: a conquest of spontaneity. Words meant so little in a place like that, could do so little, so why talk? It was hard to explain to people, wasn’t it? Along a clean empty lane, in the gloaming. Nothing, said the dusk each evening. Wasn’t that where your dusk dread began?

Day desert, dusk dread.

You walked through the grid, towards the forest, with me trailing behind you, or pulling you along, or hovering above you. You’d sit on your damp bench by the pond, the forgotten bench that was hidden behind the reeds, that you had to negotiate your way through the tall wet grass to get to. You’d open a beer and when you’d finished a couple it would be made clear to you, as to a child being taught a lesson, that you were only half alive without them, half a person, two bottles behind. The fact of your half-existence sat before you, alongside me, like a hypothesis.

I won’t betray you, I said. You hit out at me but hit only air.


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