(Short story about black and white, and bleeding red)
It’s snowing heavily, whitening my whole world, while I slowly walk my old and stiff joints to the bus stop. I shuffles clumsily through the slush, while I try not to think – think about the heartache over a friend who no longer want to be my friend. Because as soon it comes into my mind, ugly tears rises in my eyes – so stop that! “Don’t think”, I tell myself!
Two days ago we were still talking and two days ago the streets were wet but free from treacherous ice. But now the streets and sidewalks are covered with slushy snow and under it and at the street edges I can see thick, yellow and unsafe ice formed by the rough tires of buses and cars.
“Yes, you better watch your step,” a middle age lady at the bus stop say to me when I slowly cross the road to get there. Then we talk for a while about snow and winter – but I should have known something was wrong with this lady as “Swedes” normally don’t talk with strangers at a bus stop – and it soon shows, as she starts to make comments about another woman also waiting for the bus. She is wearing a veil and a long skirt dragging in the snow: “Oh dear, oh dear” my new acquaintance says, “so long skirt and it will soon enough get too wet and icy! Oh dear, dear – and will chilling the legs high up… Well, well, it’s a luck not need put up with such things!”
Yeah, but what do we not have to put up with! These days! Start a chat at the bus stop – well, I can live with that, but to make comments on others at the same place that way! Then I’ll become a super-Swede and move myself beyond speech-reach from that chatting woman – and feeling “ashamed” over her …
On the bus she sits down right in front of me and then she ask another black woman, to whom she sit next to if she like the snow. She does, the other woman say. Then my new acquaintance say “I didn’t know blacks likes snow, I’ve heard they don’t….”. The other woman don’t answer to that.
“Oh, my God!” I’m thinking! But she continue her talk on this subject with the other woman and with a great use of the word “blacks”. I decide again to move away from her. (What else could I do? Stand up and speak out loudly “Hear, hear people, this woman is a nutcase and not representative for the Swedish people”?)
I end up in the back of the bus among a gang of neat youths in their early teens with very short and manicured hairstyles…they all becomes slightly embarrassed over such strange thing as the appearance of this little old lady (me!). Yes, I guess I have to get used to it – being an archaic embarrassment, slowly moving me in the arctic white Swedish landscape!
Down town I buy a new ticket-card now for oldies, and then I returns my books at the library – but I borrow once again one of them. It is a well written book by Mohammad Fazlhashemi called “Vems Islam” (“Whose Islam”). It’s an easy read book, but I have to reread a chapter that was too heavy for me first time.
It’s true I earlier said to my friend – i.e. he who no longer want to be my friend – “I’m not going to read any more on this subject, I don’t like it and there is other subjects interesting me more”. But since we are not friends anymore, it doesn’t matter what I said yesterday and what I’m going to do today.
Yes, in the sadness of losing a friend there’s a relief over not any more have the pressure from someone I’m attached to. What to read. Or how to think. I can think whatever I want. I can watch and read the news as much as I like to, and be interested in talking about it, as I also liked to do. But he thought my sometimes ingenious but ingenuous remarks was me provoking him on purpose.
Yes, our conversation began to be like a sunny Sunday stroll – on a mined field; tensed. Oh well, even so … but who will I talk with now? Who will now ask me every day “how are you today”? (How could he do this to me?)
It begins to snow even more intense when I leave the library to take the bus home. And the streets are worse slushy than ever before. I pay for a senior ticket for the first time in my life. I thought it would feel strange. It doesn’t – but it’s 7 Swedish crowns cheaper per ride.
Halfway home the bus driver sudden starts to mutters to himself, “yeap”, “yeap”, he says now and then and – for no reason at all as far as I can see. Then he starts short whistles imitating bird song. “Another wacko?” I instantly think. And this one driving this bus? In this weather?
After heard some more repeated whistling like a bird, I becomes a bit nervous. And I look worried out the side window into the snowstorm – and count how many stops there are before we finally arrives to the stop there I will leave this carriage. I thinks “this doesn’t look good – but with God is on my side I will be off before it goes bad.”
“God”, by the way?! Whose God?
The driver continue to whistles like a bird while running our bus. Outside the windows it still snows thick and white. My chest feels like a big empty black aching hole. And my grief bleeds red….