When I was eleven, my grandfather celebrated his seventieth birthday by inviting all his children and grandchildren to a kind of spa resort in the north of Denmark. I don’t know if he paid for everything. That would be fitting, since he’s the type to wash plastic bags so that he can use them again, but he somehow also enjoys giving away large sums to his offspring. The memory of that holiday is like a memory of a dream you once had that was so surreal you just knew you had to remember it forever. Which you did.
It was raining and I wore rainboots. I have somehow managed to put wild roses in the memory, which is strange since my grandfather was born in january, but then again all my memories of our holidays in Denmark are mixed together in a large warm soup. It fits, anyway. We spent the daytime walking around the sandy hills near the shorline, or in the swimming pool with the big slide and the chlorine smell. It was at the end of the day, and I was going to just take one last ride with the slide, when I ran towards the stairs and slipped. My nose slammed right into the metallic stairs. I remember the numb feeling in my face and the blood running hot out of my head. My dad took me to the changing rooms and I sat on the bench crying and wiping away the blood while he was getting washed and changed.
It’s funny how persistent some people are, and how their way of being is etched into your mind. Walking into my grandparents’ house is like riding a bike, you can never forget how to do it. The smells, the glass on the hallway door, the communist posters our grandfather had collected in Soviet. He went there several times, it won’t come as a surprise if he was under the surveillance of the government. He told me about his trips to the country one christmas, he could still walk without crutches. He didn’t wear a scarf, because he had never worn one, so why should he start now? Because he was old? No, spare me, please. Anyway, the Russians were great people. They talked good english, were kind and friendly, offering him food and housing when he got lost walking across some vast planes.
There’s just this vibe you get from a house, you know? I’m still not sure if it just comes from knowing the history of the house or the people who have lived there, or if it’s just something that the house itself is doing, but there’s always a sort of different air pressure inside a house if the people who have lived there have loved each other. Still, if a family has been kind and has spent warm holidays and celebrations and hugged each other, there’s an inevitable sadness laying the groundtone, reeching from the walls like a small faint perfume, almost impossible to notice but ignoring it is futile. If it’s an unhappy but kind family living there, the house doesn’t give off any vibes at all. It feels hollow, and crisp. And if the family is just not good, you will get headaches and a bad breath and your feet will hurt on the way home.
If I get upset by thinking of my mother and her family, I try to think of the warm months of may they had, the warm summer winds, the good moods and the ironic laughter planning a sweet ambush in the corner of a mouth. The joy of feeling the texture of the brand new red jeans. Reading a book and finding a sense of purpose and attachment to the tremendous society scraping at their doorsteps, shaking with change and two-facing and violence. I felt brave one evening when I was fifteen and invited my mother to listen to some of the music I liked. She said fine, sure, and stayed in the sofa with her book. As I put on the music and sat down with my own book pretending to read, watching her in the corner of my eye. The defeat when she midways in the record said “It all sounds very much the same, though” without ever looking away from her book.
My mother is like our planet is to us. You can see everything that goes on up here on the surface, but how things work on microscopic levels, what the true laws of nature really are, you can only guess at. You can never see a cell dividing and shaping a plant with your own eye. You’re 99’999999 % sure how, but you can never be a hundred percent certain. Accepting that I have no idea who she is, is the worst part of growing up and out and about. People are so strange. I think we are fooling ourselves when we preach about natural laws, or treating economics and sociology like nature sciences. We exist in a web consisting of an inumerable choices and inevitable outcomes. I believe with my greatest certainty that our every action can be calculated: it’s just impossible for us to create the mathematical formula. The only certainty in our lives is time, one second following the last. Isn’t it hilarios, that we can never know if time stops? And if you think you can experience it, it is futile. If you “stop time” for others but yourself, there will still be seconds in your existence. Time cannot be stopped, or paused, or reversed. Now molecules reversing, that is an interesting idea.