stockholm ship

IN THE MORNING we had to leave Stockholm and go back to Estonia. It was me, Petra, our kids, and my mother and father. But everyone was tardy. Petra wanted some money from me, but all the coins I gave her were in some other currency. There was even that Danish 1 krone coin, the one with a hole in the middle of it. The children wouldn’t stop playing with the other kids in the courtyard. My mother started to make sandwiches. “But there’s a huge buffet on the ship!” I said. She kept cutting away there in the hotel kitchen, slicing up sandwich bread. My father meantime was upstairs lounging on the couch and watching MSNBC, his suitcase mostly unpacked. I quickly thrust some of my belongings into a bag as he just lay sprawled there, his hands behind his head. “You know, you should really get yourself some new pants. And a new jacket,” he said. “Look at me,” he gestured to his black Lacoste Polo shirt, “I still look cool, but you don’t.” “We don’t have time for this fashion shit, we’re going to be late!” Somehow I got them all into the transport van that would take us to the harbor. It was a balmy day in Stockholm, but with a slight maritime breeze that made the palm trees sway ever so slightly, or at least appear as if they were, and the Kungsholmen orange groves looked especially juicy with fruit. The van was overcrowded with travelers, and somewhere along Norr Mälarstrand a young man in a Hawaiian shirt disembarked and said he would walk the rest of the way. Somehow we made it, and with time to spare, and the white ship buoyed us in its sanctuary. Stockholm was more tropical than I remembered it being, with lush gardens and parrots singing from the verandas. It was all so different. It was fever hot.

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