In town, we pass my little shop, locked for now—the windows shuttered and the key left along with that letter in the drawer. The books and maps will stay shelved until the tourists return, looking for something to read in their own languages.
I am not a good traveler, and last night's akvavit isn't helping. I hunch up to the window, my forehead pressed against the safety glass. Lydia and Jeff gossip in the front seat, share what they know about the people who replace them.
"I think Mrs. Burton is an uptight bitch."
Lydia is not fond of her partners.
"And all those children. They write on the walls. I come back to find blue and yellow all over—just this crazy scrawling. Can't she clean that up?"
"She's probably too tired," says Jeff. We hear bits and pieces, or we leave letters to the people who move into our lives in the winter.
Now, Jeff is quiet. Old Mr. Albertson has died—and we don't know whether anyone will take his place. For people who love the light so much, we spend a lot of our time in the dark.
Jeff turns on the windshield wipers, their lovely lulling swish. By the time we reach the airport in Hesseng, I've slipped into thought, a submersion.
They will pick up our tickets from Chief Lundgren, shepherd me through the lines at baggage check and security. I'll take my seat for the flight to Oslo, and the next leg, and the leg after that. All these legs, and I'm sitting in an airplane chair. I'll take out my yarn and needles—plenty of time to work on my next sweater.
Plenty of time to think about where I'm going, what I've left.