October 1st, 2006



It will make me sad when my kids won't hold hands with me anymore. We went for a walk this afternoon, in the soft-as-summer sunshine, or rather, Martin and I walked, and Karin rollerbladed in a teetery, half-confident way. One or the other of them was holding one or the other of my hands nearly the whole way. It's hard to stride along when you are holding the hand of a child. It slows you down, it makes you match paces and it gives you more time to talk and to see things and point them out to each other and comment on them and talk about them. It's like going for a conversation, instead of going for a walk.

Everyone seems to have rowan trees in their yards and everytime we saw one with its bonny bunches of bright red berries dangling in clumps, near enough to reach, Martin and I would eye them covetously and make snip-snip motions with our hands. We should have brought a bag, we thought. We should come back when it's dark! There are still flowers blooming everywhere, and though the weather has cooled slightly, the sunshine and still temperate days have made the slide into fall a bright and easy one.

Karin's little body turned on the heat earlier and I found her radiating waves of it on the sofa in the early morning; she'd picked up Martin's fever from Friday. An hour's nap and some children's Tylenol helped tremendously and she was nearly back to normal by evening, so we decided to follow through on our plans for sushi and a walk around Malmö's west harbor. Dusk was leaching the color from the sky and our surroundings as we walked down the promenade, until everything seemed to be turning to shades of silver: the water, the sky, the pavement, even the buildings all seemed to have a sort of monotone surface, as if we were walking into a grayscale photograph. 3 couples were slow-dancing by the water as music played on the boombox they had set up on the granite ledge behind them.

As we walked back again from the point, Martin initiated a game of Tag (which is called Pjätt* in Swedish) with Anders and Karin. They ran ahead of each other, laughing and tagging each other in turn, first Martin, then Karin, then Anders, walking nonchalantly a few yards apart until they heard the tagger make a sudden run and then shooting further ahead out of reach, roses blooming in their cheeks and their hair flying in the breeze off the water. They used every surface to leap up to and down from and every pole and bench to dodge around. We came closer to the parking lot and the kids were admonished to keep close as there were cars around. Behind me Martin took Anders hand and I heard them exchanging tags for a minute, "Pjätt—Pjätt—Pjätt!" "Pjätt back" "Pjätt!" "Pjätt again!" as they walked along, giggling madly in between sallies. "Pjätt infinity," said Martin. "Pjätt infinity plus 1," retorted his father. "Pjätt forever," came the quick answer as the doors were unlocked and we slid in. Pax: game over.

*pronounced pyett with the emphasis on the p
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