I can't remember if it was one conversation or a series of intermittent dialogues spread out across the days I sat bent on the concrete floor reading one of the books you'd brought (I finished my own in the first few days in Salvador). Sometimes I'd be alone and I recall heating up the coffee our host had not finished before he left for work early-early and that it felt like a betrayal and so tasted delicious (other peoples' homes are the only places the coffee is sweetened). Your old, old phone left on the table playing white birch while I composed long letters about nothing in particular (a horse in the mountains; monkeys playing in the trees like armed robbers). I remember being bored at times and I remember that it tasted too-sweet like something slightly rotten but not dangerously so; a kiwifruit left a day too ripe, alcoholic and dizzying in its exaggerated fruitness.
We talked about what we'd do and I had, as usual, a million plans (not one) that I'd been working on before coming to meet you: I'd apply for a scholarship to Japan and I was going to a residency in Iceland and another in Italy, I only needed to apply and I was putting together my portfolio and gathering letters of recommendation and so on and so forth. I was so busy and so occupied before coming, and now I was doing nothing, with you. I remember crying, I think because of this, on a hard wooden bench you'd slept on weeks prior, perhaps I felt that I was trying to touch too many things.
I probably got a bit mad with you when judged for having such expansive and impossible ambitions. As if it was a bad thing, something tasted sour and I didn't know how to explain to you or defend myself. Whenever I think about coming back to Norway after my degree, there's one moment in this little house in the jungle that keeps coming back to me, as if that was when I decided not to do, but to try to be.
I think I betrayed myself a little bit there, but it's like I've ignored it. When I meet old friends I explain, with a self-deprecating laugh, that I'm living at home as a 22-year-old. Somehow that fact seems so fragil and young that I rush to its defences without even stopping to listen, and then what I hear is that so is everybody else. They're all living at home, and they all feel somewhat weird about it, but the thing is that my weirdness comes from other ideas of who and what I should be and aspire to be. It doesn't need my protection, my little situation, and it doesn't need my ego getting in the way of what it needs to be doing.