Читать онлайн "My Struggle: Book One" автора Knausgaard Karl Ove - RuLit - Страница 57


Выбрать главу

My father is dead, and I am thinking about the money that will bring me.

So what?

I think what I think, I can’t help thinking what I think, can I?

I put the cup down on the table, opened the slender door, and went onto the balcony, supporting myself stiffly on the balustrade and gazing around as I drew the warm summer air, so full of the smells of plants and cars and town, into my lungs. A moment later I was back in the living room casting my eyes around. Should I eat something? Drink? Go out and do some shopping?

I drifted into the hall, peeped into the bedroom, at the broad unmade bed, behind it the bathroom door. I could do that, I thought, have a shower, good idea, after all soon I would have to set off.

Clothes off, water on, steaming hot, over my head, down my body.

Should I beat off?

No, for Christ’s sake, Dad’s dead.

Dead, dead, Dad was dead.

Dead, dead, Dad was dead.

Having a shower did nothing for me either, so I turned it off and dried myself with a large towel, rubbed a bit of deodorant under my armpits, dressed and went into the kitchen to see what time it was, drying my hair with a smaller towel.

Half past two.

Tonje would be home in an hour.

I couldn’t bear the thought of unloading all this onto her as she came in the door, so I went into the corridor, threw the towel through the open bedroom door, picked up the telephone receiver and keyed in her number. She answered at once.


“Hi, Tonje, it’s me,” I said. “Everything all right?”

“Yes, actually I’m editing at the moment, just popped into the office to get something. I’ll be home when I’ve finished.”

“Great,” I said.

“What are you up to?” she asked.

“Well, nothing,” I said. “But Yngve called. Dad died.”

“What? He’s died?”


“Oh, you poor thing! Oh, Karl Ove. .”

“I’m fine,” I said. “It wasn’t exactly unexpected. But I’ll be going there this evening anyway. First to Yngve’s place, and then we’ll drive to Kristiansand together early tomorrow.”

“Do you want me to come with you? I can do that.”

“No, no, no. You have to work! You stay here, and then come to the funeral.”

“Oh, you poor thing,” she repeated. “I can get someone else to do the editing. Then I can come right away. When are you leaving?”

“There’s no hurry,” I said. “I’ll be leaving in a few hours. And being alone for a while is not such a bad thing.”


“Yeah. I’m sure. In fact, I don’t feel anything. But we’ve been through this plenty of times already. If he keeps this up, he’ll be dead soon. So, I’ve been prepared for it.”

“Okay,” Tonje said. “I’ll finish what I’m doing and hurry home. Take care of yourself. I love you.”

“I love you too,” I said.

After putting down the phone I thought about Mom. She would have to be informed of course. I lifted the receiver again and dialed Yngve’s number. He had already called her.

I was dressed and waiting in the living room when I heard Tonje at the door. She skipped into the room like a fresh summer breeze. I got up. Her movements were flustered, her eyes compassionate, and she hugged me, said she wanted to be with me, but I was right, it was best that she stayed here, and then I called for a taxi and stood on the step outside the front door waiting the five minutes it took to come. We’re a married couple, I thought, we are husband and wife, my wife is standing outside the house, waving me off, I thought, and smiled. So where did this image’s unreal surface come from? Were we playing husband and wife, weren’t we really a couple?

“What are you smiling at?”

“Nothing,” I said. “A stray thought.”

I squeezed her hand.

“Here it is,” she said.

I looked down the row of houses. Black and beetle-like, the taxi was crawling up the slope; beetle-like, it stopped and hesitated at the intersection before gingerly scrabbling to the right where the street had the same name as ours.

“Shall I run after it?” Tonje asked.

“No, why? I can do that just as well as you.”

I took the suitcase and climbed the steps to the road. Tonje followed.

“I’m going to walk to the intersection,” I said. “I’ll catch it there. But I’ll call this evening. Okay?”

We kissed, and as I looked back from the intersection, with the taxi reversing down the hill, she waved.

“Knausgaard?” the driver inquired as I opened the door and looked in.

“That’s right,” I said. “Flesland airport.”

“Hop in, and I’ll take your suitcase.”

I clambered onto the rear seat and leaned back. Taxis, I loved taxis. Not the ones I came home drunk in, but the ones I caught to airports or railway stations. Was there anything better than sitting in the rear seat of a taxi and being driven through towns and suburbs before a long journey?

“Tricky street, this one,” the driver said, getting in. “It forks. I’ve heard about it, but this is my first time here. After twenty years. Strange.”

“Mm,” I said.

“I think I’ve been everywhere now. I think this must be the last street.”

He smiled at me in the mirror.

“Are you going on holiday?”

“No,” I said. “Not exactly. My father died today. I have to sort out the funeral. In Kristiansand.”

That put an end to the small talk. I sat motionless, staring at the houses along the way, not thinking of anything in particular, just staring. Minde, Fantoft, Hop. Gas stations, car showrooms, supermarkets, detached houses, forest, lake, housing project. Approaching the final stretch of road I could see the control tower, and I took my bank card from an inside pocket and leaned forward to see the taximeter. Three hundred and twenty kroner. It had not been such a great idea to catch a taxi, the airport bus was a tenth of the price, and if there was one thing I didn’t have enough of right now, it was money.

“Could I have a receipt for three hundred and fifty?” I said, handing him my bank card.

“Course you can,” he said, grabbing it from my hand. Swiped it and the machine chuntered out a receipt. He placed it on a pad with a pen and passed it back, I signed, he tore off another receipt, and gave it to me.

“Thank you very much,” he said.

“Thank you,” I said. “I’ll take the case.”

Even though the suitcase was heavy I carried it by the handle as I walked into the departure hall. I detested the tiny wheels, first of all because they were feminine, thus not worthy of a man, a man should carry, not roll, secondly because they suggested easy options, shortcuts, savings, rationality, which I despised and opposed wherever I could, even where it was of the most trivial significance. Why should you live in a world without feeling its weight? Were we just images? And what were we actually saving energy for with these energy-saving devices?



2011 - 2018