Let this conclude the story because it’s very very trying for me even to recall it. Simply too intense.
That night when Tom returned he kept talking to me knowingly, like I was some kind of god – asking why he gave me “this task” (I imagined everything from travel to solitude to suicide to murder to rape) – a “simple one” for all of humanity. He referred to me by many names (Imagine John, Ko, Alia… Paul) saying I was everyone, that I was too smart (he’d complimented me when we met, but never so much), suggesting that I understood the Norwegian he was speaking to Bengt. He repeated his accusation that I was chameleonic. Thankfully, I slept without incident.
The following day the four of us travelled to Gammelvala for a little crafts fair in a place that reminded of Morningside – rustic and woodsy. Tom bought the first thing he saw – a foot bath, and would have bought much more had we not prevented him (as it was he came away with Jam, cheesecake, the foot bath, and some other things). I felt very odd there, very ill at ease and somewhat duplicitious, like I was betraying Tom by hiding in the company of Tone and Bengt, hardly talking to him. There was the added strangeness of memory of first love – “Amor Vincit Omnia” on a elegant sign – and of recent love – Bengt humming “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning.”
We found Tom a hostel, but an altercation just before we left caused him to depart without bidding anyone goodbye. Bengt, Tone and I drove back to Oslo, where I’d stay with them two of the next three nights. I am eternally grateful to them and I continue to worry about Tom, who only ever meant well but simply doesn’t understand he’s sick. He’s now in the hospital.
Song of the Day: Bus Stop – The Hollies