Considers fruit yogurt to be one of mankind’s greatest achievements, along with fire, the wheel and flush toilet. Can usually be found exploring imaginary universes.
The door yawns open and Marianne steps into the gloom of the apartment. Marianne is hungry, and sweaty, and tired. She hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in three days. She shuts the door, then pushes it a bit harder until the lock clicks into place, and then turns the key. She leans her back against the door, takes off her glasses, closes her eyes and breathes a deep, ragged sigh. Inch by inch, she slides to the floor, the heels of her sensible black shoes crumpling up the carpet. Fingers give up her purse and move to her face.
“Look at you, trying to keep the world outside.”
Marianne’s eyes snap open, hunting in the darkness. They find a familiar silhouette standing in the living room. She closes her eyes again and a word crawls out of her throat.
“That’s not my name, Marianne.”
Marianne doesn’t answer.
“Why would you call me Sofie? That’s not even what she would call me. She would call me Tristie, or something like that.”
Marianne’s eyelids rise slowly. The silhouette has crossed the distance between them, and she can now smell her sweet perfume.
“Does it matter?” she asks.
Sofie hesitates before answering.
“I suppose it doesn’t. She is gone, and I’m here for you now. Let’s get you up. No point in spending your day like that.”
Marianne wearily rises to her feet, straightens out the carpet and goes to the fridge. There’s some acaraje with vatapa there, so she puts it in the microwave and sets the table for two while the food is heating up. Two plates. Two spoons, to the right. Two salad bowls, to the left. Two glasses, to the right again. Two napkins, to the left. Two tiny winefall splashes, the first one into her glass, then into the other. Two salad rustles. It’s only when she goes to get the meal and notices Sofie’s arched eyebrow that she realizes her mistake, and her face crumbles.
“It’s a habit…”
“It’s alright,” says Sofie as she settles in the opposite chair. “I don’t mind.”
Marianne nods, sighs and sits down. Then she starts wolfing down the food without really tasting it. The meal passes in silence as Marianne studies the other woman. She hasn’t seen her in a long time, but Sofie hasn’t changed a bit. Maybe her temples have a few more grey hairs than they did last time, and her face a couple more creases, but that’s it. It’s the same old, gaunt Sofie, with her soft fingers and her grating voice.
Marianne washes the dishes and goes to the bathroom where she sits in the tub, draws her knees to her chin, flicks the tap on and listens to the hot water pouring in. She is shaken from her reverie upon realizing that Sofie is sitting on the lowered toilet seat.
“You should really take your clothes off,” the woman says, and Marianne notices that her shoes, socks and black dress are all soaked. Her lip trembles as she stands up. In a second, her shoes clatter in the sink, followed by the socks, the dress and the underwear. She lays back and feels the scalding water wash over her.
“That’s better, isn’t it?”
Half an hour later, she enters the living room, Sofie in tow. They occupy the couch, Marianne takes her glasses and turns on the TV. She’s listening to thenews, but doesn’t understand why any of it is important. She changes the channel and is greeted by an action flick.