My dearest friend and I are sitting in a bar in the city centre. I have a long black dress, she has a scarf. She is someone, my friend, who can wear a scarf. The rest of us, we who live in the world next door to hers, we know that if we dress in a scarf, people will think we’re wondering if they want coffee or tea, we can’t. Wear a scarf.
While the hours pass, not so many, it’s Thursday, we drink cocktails with fresh raspberries and crushed ice, eat small dishes and cheeses. The Italian chef comes out and tells us about the fast food he has made on a smaller scale and which is in a beautiful blue bowl in front of us. They are deep-fried bread balls and the older generation in Naples tend to buy big deep-fried bread balls from food trucks, open them and fill them with potato croquettes.
When it’s 9 p.m., my best bus makes its last trip and we walk through town, my scarf and me.
Malin Collin: Margaux Dietz is not an elected politician
Beautiful on the outside but careful on the inside
From life on the other side of the street, a young man floats towards us with a hazy look, fast food bag in hand and chocolate in mouth, he crosses the two lanes and lands in the bus shelter.
Now my friend wants me to let her husband drive me home, I’m not going to take the bus with the suspicious man.
I laugh carelessly haha, so fearless and lovely on the outside but cautiously cautious on the inside. What if my friend is a woman with a scarf and intuition: what if today I become a headline.
We stand in silence and think and look with a slanted eye in his direction. Just two everyday detectives with too little to do but maybe a little too much true crime on the brain.
Now comes a boy. The boy is maybe nine maybe ten maybe eleven. He is definitely not twelve.
He’s wearing shorts, maybe he’s on his way home from practice?
He has shorts, she has a scarf, I was just a woman in danger, but now there is a child, he is only a small child!
Now everything is changing.
Now I have to take this bus, I whisper in my friend’s ear.
The minutes pass, people in the city cycle past with their talented lights, they don’t care about those who are going to get on a bus, they know nothing about the chair, the child, the shorts in the cold evening, the drama that two women build up as if they had never been outdoors before.
Malin Collin: We should learn that from the tributes to Börje Salming
A lot happens in the world when you are not there
A bus passes and behind it comes my bus. This is it.
The bus stops, lowers itself and opens its safe gap.
No one gets on board. Neither a dangerous man nor a small child.
I kiss my friend on the cheek and jump in.
My friend waves in the dark and turns into a back that disappears around a corner.
It takes a village
A village to raise a child
A village and a woman on a bus
That goes away
And leaves the child behind
The following day I write to my friend I thought he looked scared!
She replies: No, now you are exaggerating.
And I do.
Little boy, skinny arms, skinny legs.
Everywhere abandoned boys in the guise of bus drivers.
There is so much going on in the world when I am not there.
The thought is dizzying.
I wear my anxiety like an accessory.