The Love We Had, A Novel. Chapter 19 Photo : Øivind H. Solheim When I came back it was night. The house lay silent and I…
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The Love We Had, A Novel. Chapter 19
When I came back it was night. The house lay silent and I went in as quietly as I could. I climbed the stairs and put myself to bed in the other bedroom.
The next day I was exhausted and barely got up from bed. When I got down to the kitchen he sat there. There was complete silence in the house. He just sat there and watched. The face expressionless. He looked at me and asked:
“Where have you been?”
He looked at me, and I couldn’t meet his gaze. He repeated the question.
“Where have you been?”
I sat with the phone in my hand. He looked at it and said:
“You have to look more closely at it, it probably says something about it, I think — whereever you have been. Whatever you have done.”
I said nothing. I could sense the resentment in his voice. The weak quiver when he is angry. Angry and scared.
I said his name, took a step forward, but then I stopped. There was a resistance, there was no point in it.
He sat silently with the newspaper on the table in front of him. Seemed quite calm, almost a little apathetic. I waited, thinking we had to get through this now. We just had to.
“There’s coffee on the pitcher.”
I almost laughed when he talked. The words came so naturally, so completely by themselves. As if this was a perfectly ordinary day at the kitchen.
“Yes. Thanks! Thank you!”
I put forth words, went to the bench, took the cup out of the cupboard, took the jug, sat down at the table.
He dropped the newspaper. He put his hands on the table. Braided his fingers and let his hands lie on the table between us. He lifted his face, looked serious, without anger at me. — Yes, I couldn’t trace anger in his face. But maybe something else. He was hurt, he felt sorry. Not angry.
“Have you seen the newspaper?” he said.
“It says here, Lonely Planet has named this town as the ugliest city in the country. They definitely advise people not to come here. — Yes, what do you think?”
“No,” I said. ”Don’t know, it was a little strange, then.”
I felt the pressure on my shoulders starting to ease. It was as if a mountain above me was beginning to crumble. As if the pain and the difficult feelings inside me began to become less heavy to bear.
I waited for more, but he sat still. Typically, he, as the man he is. A calm, quiet, introverted man.
I heard his breath, a small sound from his nose on every other breath. He sighed. I waited for him to talk, but at first, he didn’t say more. But then it came.
“The ugliest city in the country — yes, what do you think?”
I looked at his face, wanted to see if he smiled. But he did not smile. He had a grimace in his face. It hurt. I could see his pain.
“Where were you going?” he said. ”Where were you last night, and the night before?”
He waited. I didn’t manage to say anything.
“What happened? What was it you were doing?”
“No,” I said, “nothing happened. I just — I just had to leave. I just had to go away.”
“Away? — Away from what then?”
I could hear the anxiety in his voice. The anguish and the rage behind it.
“Do you have any reason to run away? Have I done something to you that is so bad that you have reason to escape from me? Answer me! Do you?”
I couldn’t answer. Then and there, in that moment, it came flooding into me. I couldn’t talk. But he did talk. So unlike him, because now he spoke, as he has rarely done since the time when we were newly in love.
“You have to understand this,” he said, “- that I get scared of you. I get uneasy. You should not do things like this, don’t you realize that I’m worried, don’t you?”
He stopped. I waited for more. No more came. I waited, decided to give it a try.
“Sorry about that,” I said. I stretched my hand across the table towards him, but he did not accept my outstretched hand.
“Lars, there was nothing. Nothing to worry about. It’s not the way you might think. I didn’t -.”
He lifted his eyes, looked at me quickly. A gleam of horror in his eye. A mix of that and some other; maybe hope. Or that he was relieved. Or suspicious. Or just sad.
– – –
The Love We Had: A Novel Kindle Edition by ØIVIND H. SOLHEIM (Author)
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