Man With Pike (c) 2005 Marja Hagborg
Woman Crying in Soup (c) 2005 Marja Hagborg
Recital by Donia Carey

Is This the Beginning or the End?

by Marja Hagborg


It's noon. It's Friday. The clouds are not going away today; they are here to stay until tomorrow or next week. The wind is blowing from the south... No, actually the wind is blowing from the southwest, a heavy wind, like a wind before a storm. The pine trees on the island bend and bend again like servile maids. Waves hit the stones on the shore making a rhythmical sound like a huge waterbed of an indolent lover - a sleepy, monotonous sound that makes you distant and absent-minded. The sun is there somewhere hiding behind the clouds, but only for a few moments the light comes through and makes the silvery lake shimmer like the scales of a white fish.

The most crazy art-directors were working in the last three rooms at the end of the long, white corridor. The first door was open; this was the largest room with a white drawing table full of sketches. Also, the second door was open. The room was small, and on the wall was a black-and-white photo of a young, naked man holding a big fish - probably a pike - in front of him. The third door was closed; there was a yellow sheet of paper attached to it with brown tape with the words: GO TO HELL YOU FUCKING MACHO PIGS, AIR-HEADS, AND NOUVEAU RICHE MORONS.

She said: "I can stand almost everything but indifference."
He said: "You are so paranoid."
And they went on and on until she cried and he went to the bathroom to snort some coke and to call his mistress.

He came and asked me if I had been waiting for a long time. I said I had no idea because I had fallen asleep. His face was unshaven as usual, and his Adam's apple seemed to be bigger than ever. People used to say we were alike. I suppose they meant our eyes; we both have wide, wild, colorless eyes with small pupils. I told him that I liked his place, and he smiled and made a gesture toward the house and I understood that he wanted me to go inside. He said that the rain was coming soon. I thought so too. The sound of the waves had grown louder, and the wind in the bending pine trees made hissing sounds.

Can you imagine this? The new art director, who started two months ago, she made me totally crazy today. She kept the window open all day, and, as if that wasn't enough, she turned the fan on, too. For Christ's sake, the temperature outside was 10 degrees! I asked her why she did it, and she said she was suffocating because her best friend had died the day before and she was so upset that she was sweating and throwing up all day. OK, I said, I'm sorry. That's really sad, that's terrible. I mean, I really felt sorry for her because her friend was dead, but I tried to explain to her that we ALL would die of pneumonia if she didn't close the window.

He said: "Can't you stop crying? Please... You are crying in your soup."
She said: "It's my fucking soup and you are fucking the Japanese girl on the fifth floor. What do you think I am? A moron?"

The window was huge and heavy looking. It was not supposed to be open. The new art director kept it open and it looked like an enormous hole in the wall into the darkness outside. The fan was on, blowing away white sheets of paper through the hole. All the sheets fell down on the ground. Then the wind blew them away. It was time to leave.

I went back to the island, but I wished I had never done it. It wasn't the same island. He wasn't there, and the house was painted a color that reminded me of rotten turnips. Through the open door I saw people sitting at the table eating fat-dripping sausages and fried eggs - a man and a woman - wearing only their underwear. Their thighs were white and enormous; her breasts were lying on the edge of the table like two huge lumps of dough. Two fat children kicked each other under the table and repeated the same sentence over and over again, but the man and the woman didn't listen to them.

Nut-Head Productions