A red cottage in Sweden.
It’s a March morning and our languid breakfast is done. On the table: a carton of milk, muesli, a punnet of berries. Two coffee cups form a conspiracy of caffeine, almost nodding at each other across an unbridgeable space like we might’ve done at a party decades ago.
You’ve set a candle flickering its oblique gold throughout the kitchen. Among the lessons you’ve given me is the joy of a wax light, at any time, and I thank you for this glow on a very Swedish day. Somehow, only now am I awake to a candle’s therapy. The best gifts are often invested with obvious unfussiness.
The table’s dressed in a red-checked tablecloth. A symbol of ease and understated exhilaration, it isn’t classic Italian bistro, but still evokes Roman cobblestones.
I think of our dinner in Copenhagen a few days’ ago, just across from Jorcks Passage, on the edge of our holiday, when time stretched out exquisitely. We were blissfully alone, in our restaurant-cocoon with wine and beer and pasta, as all about us the late afternoon diners pressed in to happily punctuate their Saturdays. That now distant table grew in enchantment as, finally, we found ourselves together in Northern Europe.
In Ljungbyhed our front door is a window too. Out beyond the cold glass are the forest, lake, and our brisk-air afternoons. Upon our drifting pontoon I dwell upon you: curious, compelling, divine in that elongated dusk and how, as the geese skid on the water, we breathe our words to and fro. The cottage is a meniscus, and like migratory atoms, we are within, and then, without.
Our kitchen is a tiny, expansive space.
You’re on a chair at our wooden table, ostensibly for four but perfect for us two. This is our morning and evening altar, and we share the day’s fresh promise and sink into night’s snug entwining. Bröd or wine and conversation both affirming and prodding, while playing music somehow close and remote, first commanding and then detached. Our soundtrack.
The light bends in and falls across you like soft piano notes. I consider the following and with surprised gratitude am their happy hostage: Sweden; late winter; you; me; us.
Lost in thought, you’ve been reading and planning so we can wring the most from our Nordic surroundings; your mind untiringly devoted to others. Your glasses lay there, an emblem of industry while your eyes are on the middle distance or maybe a world away or possibly just here.
Soon you’ll return or I’ll collect you, but it matters not for I’m waiting. With gorgeous hair tumbling like a gentle waterfall, and black t-shirt you’re astonishing; at once modest and shudderingly thrilling.
An obedient satellite blinking at your earthly beauty, I’m in your orbit.