My brother’s first memory is that my parents had to leave a cactus behind when moving from one place to another.

Years later, when our family fell apart in an unusually cruel and destructive way, my brother, then an early teenager, started wearing a t-shirt saying "Kafka didn’t have fun all the time either".

ALPHA DAVID*

Inger Wold Lund

I.

In a retail store. Summer. Berlin.

Midday.

"It’s a money tree."

I told the middle aged woman standing next to me in the line at the store where I was buying new running shorts. Those days were so hot. I was on my way home with a plant two friends had just bought me as a good luck token in hopes of bettering my economy. I was carrying it in my hand and it’s head had started hanging after earlier being transported in a box. The middle aged woman pointed at it.

"But I am certain that it’s an aloe vera."

She answered me.

"No."

I said.

"Money tree."

She looked at me.

"An aloe vera would be better."

II.

In a kitchen. Winter. Berlin.

Nighttime.

"Are you managing to treat each other OK these days?"

He did not say anything for a while.

"I mean, the last time I saw her it was great."

"That’s good."

We were silent again.

III.

On my computer. In a rocking chair. Fall. At my mothers house.

Evening.

"This is not my life."

A young man was being interviewed. He was trying to convince the interviewer that what she saw was not happening.

"This is not my life."

He repeated.

IV.

At an office. Summer. In a small town.

Midday.

He was showing me maps of the area. He spoke slowly with a deep voice. I was tired.

I was looking at his hand. The short hair covering the back had a red tone to it. His thumb was attached to the hand in an angular way. I had looked at his hands earlier when they were on the wheel of his car as we were driving.

I missed the place he was pointing at. I though of how his middle finger would fit inside me.

V.

In a park. Spring. Berlin.

Midday.

I asked my pregnant friend what little girls call their vagina in English. As she was about to answer an ant crawled into my ear and disappeared. I could hear it in there crawling. I panicked. She placed a hand on my cheek to keep my head still, made a little cone with the paper wrapping from some chop sticks, it had small pink flowers on it, and made a little gate for the ant to crawl in the right direction out of my ear.

VI.

In a living room. Around a table. Summer. Oslo.

Morning.

"It’s good to have you home."

"I do not really live here anymore."

"It’s good to have you home."

VII.

Outside a studio. Summer. Frankfurt.

Nighttime.

There was a party going on.

"So you’re together now."

"Yes."

"But you know he’s always leaving."

"What do you mean?"

"He never stays."

VIII.

In a living room. Early spring. Frankfurt.

Nighttime.

A movie on the TV screen was coming close to an end. He had seen it before.

"And then, you know, after they leave each other, she keeps on loving him for the next 96 years."

He laughed, and left for the kitchen to smoke a cigarette.

IX.

In a park. Summer. In a small town.

Midday.

Behind a metal fence there was a pregnant goat. It was looking at the children, lining up in front of it, stretching out hands filled with grass. Next to the goat was a statue of a ram. As there were no other goats around, I shortly wondered if the statue had made the goat pregnant, or if animals in this town - where nothing seemed to happen - really did have sex.

In cages next to the goat were birds. Parakeets. Yellow, orange and blue.

A dog on a leash yawned.

Two small girls walked by with the same neon plastic flowers in their hair.

X.

In my apartment. Summer. Berlin.

Nighttime.

She was showing me pictures on her phone.

"This is the shelf I put up before the hammer fell down on my head."

She said.

"And this is the photo I took to send to a friend to ask her if the cut was so deep that I should go see a doctor."

She looked at me.

"You look better now" I told her.

XI.

In my apartment. Early spring. Berlin.

Morning.

We said nothing for a while. He got up, walked through the door, put on his shoes and jacket and scarf and hat in the hallway. The hat was blue. The sailor in the film we saw the previous night had a green hat. I said my father’s father sailed the seven seas. He asked me how I knew. I said he had told me so.

"I will see you soon."

"Yes."

XII.

In a movie. On my computer. In my bed. Winter. Berlin.

Nighttime.

The movie was coming close to an end. The main protagonist was speaking.

"We just come from a very bad place."

I rewound.

"We’re not bad people. We just come from a very bad place."

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* An affidavit (/ˌæfɨˈdeɪvɨt/ A-fə-DAY-vət) is a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law. [return]

Note on the text: I planned to replace X. with a different story. A longer one. Or one with a different content.

In the end I didn’t. Having my friend describe how she was lying with her head sideways on the concrete floor, photographing a small cut in her forehead and sending it to another friend to ask if she should see a doctor is one of the funniest moments of this summer. I laughed so much that I cried.

But maybe I should have chosen this one instead:

In an abandoned building. Summer. In a small town.

Midday.

"What is it like, growing up here?"

I asked him.

"Like any other place, there is nothing to do."

He answered.

Films mentioned in the text

In chronological order:

Halle, Mariken and Clara Bodén. Maybe Tomorrow (Original title: Kanske i morgon). Directed by Mariken Halle. Göteborg: Vapen och Dramatik, 2011.
Kar-Wai, Wong. In the Mood for Love (Original title: 花樣年華, Fa yeung nin wa). Directed by Wong Kar-Wai. Universal City: USA Films, 2000.
Petersen, Wolfgang. The Perfect Storm. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Burbank: Warner Bros. Pictures, 2000.
McQueen, Steve. Shame. Directed by Steve McQueen. London: Momentum Pictures, 2012.

Films sourced in the images

In the order they were watched by the artist on her computer:

Jarmusch, Jim. Stranger Than Paradise. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. USA: The Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1984.
Resnais, Alain. Hiroshima mon amour. Directed by Alain Resnais. Written by Marguerite Duras. Paris: Pathé Films, 1959.
Carter, Chris. The X-Files. (Unknown episode). Created by Chris Carter. Los Angeles: 20th Television, 1993-2002.
Deren, Maya. At Land. Directed by Maya Deren. USA, 1944.
Green, Walon. The Secret Life of Plants. Directed by Walon Green. USA: Infinite Enterprises, 1979.
Minh-ha, Trinh T and Jean-Paul Bourdier. A Tale of Love. Directed by Trinh T. Minh-ha and Jean-Paul Bourdier. USA: Moongift Films, 1995.
Deren, Maya. The Very Eye of Night. Directed by Maya Deren. USA, 1959.
Teshigahara, Hiroshi. Ikebana. Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara. Japan, 1957.
McQueen, Steve. Shame. Directed by Steve McQueen. London: Momentum Pictures, 2012.
Tan, Fiona. News From The Near Future. Directed by Fiona Tan. Amsterdam, 2003.