Venier Hill

In the summer of 1998, my brother Sam stopped taking pills one day and we finally set a plan for our trip. Marc came by and brought me a tuxedo.

We started to climb the great Venier hill early in the morning, and by the middle of the hike I asked Sam if he had talked to Anna before we left.
Later that day, I started smoking.

It was exactly eight years since our parents disappeared in a cloud of glass, safety belts and motor oil, on their way to pick up Sam from his soccer training. I was left home sleeping. The policemen woke me up and brought me to him at the station.

We came back to Lorne two days later, tired and dirty.
I take my tuxedo to the cleaner and enroll for dance lessons. Marc brings more pills and Sam splashes them down with gin tonic. The two of us look out the window at the brick wall quietly for hours.

Another autumn night at the dance course, this girl Marla finally showed up. One could see her bellybutton from across the room. She spilled her drink over the table at our first date and I got an attack of hiccups when making a bad joke about the place we were at. On the way out the parking lot, I grab her ass.
We get married after a year, things are easy and safe, we get divorced three years later when he moves into our house.

So Sam,

it's 6.48 AM and you are watching TV as if night has not happened.

You're arrogant and cold and you don't admit I grew up.
If they were alive to take care of us, the only thing that would have changed would be your excuse not to go fuck yourself and leave me alone. I'm not sorry for you and I mean it.

You are just sitting in the kitchen.
Ten minutes later, I can hear you asking me for coffee. The sports channel in the living room roaring loud for nobody in there.

Let's go back up the Venier hill, I can walk you and leave you there.
In the highlands, you can sit and wait until a fleck of their ashes comes to your lungs, so you can suffocate and vanish, while not a single stone moves an inch.

Your fingertips are yellow from smoking and that will never change.

It took Marla five months to call me and ask for the kitchen utensils her mother gave us as a wedding present. She was asking if I could ship them to her boyfriend's, with a tracking number.
She was talking slowly.

It's quiet outside and I'm placing the phone gently on the counter, so that I can hear her voice.
I drop the dishes one by one. She is listening and gradually shuts up.
A breeze is playing with the kitchen curtains, ushering in echoes of the playground's voice.
Sam joins me, letting plates and cups slip from his hands like I do, and we are standing so close to each other that I can smell his breath. He is smiling.

I hate you Sam, thank you.

It took one single half a minute of silence before he proposed calling Anna. Before he proposed to me, that I call the girl, whom I hoped hadn't changed much over the years.

Here she comes, seventeen minutes late. She's a bit chubby. Her breasts aren't as firm as they used to be, and she doesn't look into my eyes for most of the night. My only wish is that I could have redone things.

There are still too many people in the café for us tonight.

The first time I met her I knew who she was and wanted to know better. Before long it was she who knew me better. Then I took a step back and never really asked her to forgive me for the way things happened. I made myself keep forgetting.

Anna, you have two small kids and you play tennis with your husband every Sunday.
Now here I am, what do you say.

We are sitting so close, facing each other, that I can watch the hair on your cheeks moving. You are speaking slowly as if you have rehearsed. You are gentle to me and I can't bear it. In the middle of your sentence I stand up and head out. Then I'm turning back and I'm standing by the table again, staring at a point beyond your body. I shall do something, and not a single stone moves an inch.

Sam is watching sports at home and you probably hate me more than ever for not saying anything, but you tell me to sit, and I do.

Text and images (from Dale i Sunnfjord, Norway) by Mr Kohout.