Ah, yes. Finally. Lying down, surrendering to gravity, sinking, floating, falling through layer after layer and out the other side. No more pain. No discomfort. No thirst, no desire. Something cold and wet, my forehead, I couldnâ€™t tell â€¦ Was I sweating? Ah yes, maybe I was. Everything is fine now. If only I had known it was so nice to die! Someone ought to tell people. Donâ€™t be afraid, someone should say to them, so they wonâ€™t spend their whole lives fearing death. Look at me â€” it sure as hell isnâ€™t because I was one of Godâ€™s chosen children. Iâ€™m floating. Everything is ocean. A massive green silence. I drift, flow, sway among shaggy seaweed, billowing like a womanâ€™s hair. Like Lisaâ€™s hair when it would fall down over my breast in flowing cascades. Dancing, cascading through the days. Oceanic music fills the undulating silence. A thousand-voiced sea organ â€” jubilant symphonies rising up, up, up. A slight breeze strokes my cheek. Or maybe itâ€™s an angel. An angelâ€™s breath. It is the angels who blow on peopleâ€™s wounds. So maybe Iâ€™m not in the sea but in heaven? Then itâ€™s the music of the spheres Iâ€™m hearing, the song of souls streaming toward me, calling me â€¦ Yes, yes, Iâ€™m coming now, Iâ€™m already here; born away on heavenly tones, over soft hills and valleys, green grass as far as the eye can see â€¦
You could see all of it there from the top. Rolling fields and flowering borders, trees in rows and clusters, a flicker of leaves. Brown cows, red cows, green cowsâ€”green in front and behind and all the way around. Farther out the ocean lay there, shining in the morning light, pale blue, calm. Disappearing and surfacing and disappearing again. I sat in a bus. On the way to â€¦ canâ€™t remember. What was I doing in a bus? Maybe not on the way to something but away from something?
Morning. Very early in the morning â€¦ the streets quiet and empty, and everything was already much too late. I was on my way home. Or maybe I wasnâ€™t. The cranes stood there swaying in the harbor. Maybe I didnâ€™t even know where home was. Maybe I just wanted to be gone. Yes, thatâ€™s what it was, I think. And then that bus standing there, some fucking bus in the middle of everything. The sun was sailing around in the blue enamel. The door stood open. The empty seats looked soft. My body felt suddenly heavy and miserable, just wanted to sink down into one of those seats, disappear among the cool shadows of the backrests and wake up someplace else. A place where the last days had never happened â€” not there or anywhere else. The sky, I wanted to have sky over my head. Cornfields, dandelions, wind. Some cud-chewing cows who didnâ€™t know shit about anything. Maybe a very small tavern if necessary, or even just a grocer, a couple of dewy beers that would appear like a mirage between the clover and the cow dung, if it should get too dry with all that fresh air.
â€œNext stop: Lower UglebÃ¸lle.â€ That I remember. The bus driverâ€™s voice was clear and distinct. Had never heard of a place with a name like that, but okay, when you looked out the window the meaning was clear enough: In front of us the landscape swooped, with fields, trees and cows and everything, as if down into a huge hole. And from there up again. A collection of houses crept up over the hill on the other side of the bottom. With fire in their windows. At least thatâ€™s how it looked. Lower UglebÃ¸lle? That sounded pretty damn reasonable, I was certainly there already, at rock bottom, so why not Lower UglebÃ¸lle? At least it was one hole in the ground I hadnâ€™t dug myself.
Everything is fine now. If only I had known it was so nice to die! Someone ought to tell people.
Now theyâ€™ve started singing again, the souls. Or angels, maybe itâ€™s the angels. A whole choir of them. They must be somewhere nearby, I can feel their breath, the soft breeze from the beating of their wings. Theyâ€™re everywhere, behind me, above me, around me. Their song rises and falls, lifting my head and setting it gently back down again. Softer now. Was it hard before? Itâ€™s good now â€” it was good before, itâ€™s all good. Something farther down comes loose, as if it has snapped. Iâ€™m drifting, floating, swaying quietly among the stars. The night is black as gold, but this is better. Better than Barolo, better than Arnbitter and Wiibroeâ€™s vintage beer. Johnny Cashâ€™s burning voice. Better than pussy, even the best bang: only a fleeting twitch between rows and rows of pitfalls, tears and difficultiesâ€¦
Damn â€¦. was I able to perform? A window, the first gray light of day. Karina? Katja? Shabby wallpaper, a white-wicker chest of drawers. Kerstin? Incredible tits, the kind you want to bury your head between and never come up for air. And she damn well knew it, too â€” the way she sat there at the bar with them sticking out. When was that? Yesterday, the day before, another lifetime? Or was her name Kamilla? Something with K, anyway. I think. Or maybe another letter. Sorry, Ludmilla, if I didnâ€™t hit my mark. My form could certainly have been better. And the money, Pernilla, shit, did you ever get the money?
Thereâ€™s something on my shoulder. A light and gentle weight. Maybe itâ€™s been lying there the whole time. Someone is saying something from far away. The voice slowly draws nearer, a womanâ€™s voice â€¦ Lisa? Lisa is walking toward me â€” Lisa is on her way back to me; she floats, dances, smiles. That smile reaches across all the dry years that separated us, wipes them away as if they had never existed. Okay, wet then. Periodically wet. But that was only because it was so dry, otherwise.
â€œNow, I think heâ€¦.â€ The rest fades away.
White ceiling. White arches. Not a hospital but â€¦ something I already know somehow. Arenâ€™t I dead, though? The light is coming from one side. A soft breeze across my skin. Is it still the angels? Angels â€” help, what is it, a pair of gigantic glasses are coming down toward my face. My forehead slamming directly up into his.
â€œHello there â€¦ !â€
The man adjusts his glasses, which have fallen halfway down his cheeks. Iâ€™m sitting up now, his face is right in front of mine. He smiles: â€œAre you okay?â€
Who is he? Heâ€™s on his knees in front of me. He looks like one of those tv-hosts in those glasses. A real pair of picture windows. He moves to my side, lays an arm around my back. Is he gay, or what? I try and pull away, but nothing is happening with my muscles. Or tendons, nerves, or whatever it is that usually lets you move when you want to move. Itâ€™s certainly not because I smell like perfume. But his arm stays there.