Hours spent flicking through options; more hours flicking than watching. The hours creep into darkening windows and darkening thoughts and I reach my quarry, subtitled of course. Torka aldrig tårar utan handskar flashes once between faded vignettes of suede jackets and shell suits and we begin. No quiet here, there’s no room between fabricated ’80s beats. A programme for me, credit to SVT and the BBC.
Three hours more and it’s done. The mottled reds and browns have turned to cruel, electric white and it is simply too late. Too late to admit emotion, too late to move forward or back, too late for alternatives and so my eyes close once more upon chocolate leather. Slap on the wrist. Waking means a “wet and windy” Scottish accent and the clock says too late for breakfast. Work awaits.
The Sun rises earlier now – or at least we are moving closer – so the twilight street with its unrelenting absence of pavement or lamp speaks less of danger and the wild. Last time I spent many weeks pausing on the corner, waiting for a hand to fall upon my shoulder, but eventually I gave up on this. Some things can be, should be, one off. But I’m wrong and today I feel the hand once more. My days of waiting, of hoping, have built within me an anticipation so great that now, after the anticipation has soundly left my system, I am surprised to find myself shocked. This time my umbrella catches him, I trample his pristine black shoe.
“I’m so sorry,” my British overtones cry.
He is visibly flustered, but hastens to straighten his tie, royal-blood blue and common-blood red, and smiles to tell me, “No matter.”
“I’m surprised to see you here again.”
A touch of rouge blossoms in his face and he looks away, only briefly, but enough for his aquiline profile to imprint itself silhouetted in my mind.
“The Swedish one,” he spoke under his breath, not to hide his voice, this is simply how he talks, “you watched it last night.”
It takes some time for him to formulate the next sentence, as if he isn’t sure he should be saying it, “What is it about?”
By this stage it is far too late. Too late for work, too late to turn back, so we sit on the pavement among winter’s mulched detritus.
“A likely affair, recent small-town graduate in the big Nordic City, Venice of the North. He meets a deep-voiced ringleader and joins the circus. Across the city a less likely individual, a Witness in a quandary escapes his fate and meets the same ringleader. One by one they gradually fall foul of the virus and drop like flies into black bin liners and obscurity. At last we are left only with the Witness, forced to watch as his friends fade away, as his lover’s functions slowly fail and he is left alone, painfully.”
“And what did you think?”
“It was chilling, but memorable. It left me silently watching the blackened screen in awe. It still seems a shame, though, that it must be sad. Perhaps in order to impress me it must be sad.”
My eyes lift from his blank expression and I gaze back down the street towards my house. I feel his hand come to rest upon my own with a gentle squeeze of comfort. He needn’t say anything and he doesn’t. We sit cross-legged among the leaves and relish our connectedness and the near-silence.