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A World Without Color

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Postcards From Beyond Reality: The Selected Poems of Michael Daniels

  • Writer's pictureBernard Jan

Sweden in My Mind

My dearest, I surrender myself to the flux of time and the new rules that apply at the far north to which I arrived after crossing four countries, one taxi, two plains, one train, a car and twelve hours and twenty minutes from the moment I left my home to the moment I reached my final destination. It was worth it, it is worth it, all the excitement, the rush and buzz of multicolored and multicultural people at the gates of airports, a bit chilly two-hours-flight with the Croatian Airlines (which always seems to be late), a cramped seat in the last row of Scandinavian Airlines, switching cars of the train at the last minute and spending almost one hour on the phone with my mobile operator in vain attempt to enable my mobile data roaming which, FYI, still isn't working.

But I am here, at the south of Sweden, after leaving Zagreb, transferring in Brussels and Kastrup Copenhagen Airport, to arrive for the fourth time in my life to Växjö. It feels like – being home. Which is a paradox since I left home six days ago. I cannot believe it is six days already. I cannot grasp the concept of time which flows by some other rule here. More than once I asked myself what day is today, like it doesn't matter, like time has no importance as long as I am here, on my vacation, with my friends and their doggy. Well, Claire and Tommy are not here any more, they are on the flight to the punk festival in Blackpool, so it is just me and the doggy. Terry and me time.

In this quiet town, which whispers its soft sounds under the blue skies and white, gray and metallic-blue clouds that never stop to sail or leave it, it is so easy to forget the craziness and stress of your everyday life that poisons you like a bad blood in your veins; it is so easy to get intoxicated with its smells, flowers, shrubs, trees and lulled into security by the constant cry of the seagulls and crows. Despite the growing number of immigrants and some other cultures and customs they bring along, which does not exclude weekly beatings, robberies and rape, you still want to believe in its innocence. The water tower is torn down and the new elite skyscraper is being built in its place, the surrounding forest is partly cleared and thinned in order to let the young trees and shrubs grow and strengthen before the winds and the snow of the Swedish winter rule this world. But this is still the greenest city in Europe and it still charms you and embraces you with everything it has: its beaches and lakes, the wind in the trees, light rain fighting constant battle with the blinding sun, introvert and polite people, kind and friendly salesgirls in the 50-70% discount stores, crows feasting with leftovers from the plates on the outdoor restaurant tables after the customers left.

I am forgetting everything and painting the picture of the memories that will stay with me when I return back to Zagreb, and in months and years to come. The ink of this moment in time will brighten the dark days of the future life in the far away south, reminding me and holding a promise that there is a hope for a different life, that there is a promise of another vacation and places to see. And that Växjö will still be here for me should I choose to come back again and stay – maybe next time even a bit longer.

Time is ticking here differently, you often forget what hour of a day or a day of a week it is. It is so easy to forget that it exist in the first place. So easy to forget about it at all.


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