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.“Hvor gammel han, how old is he?” Raihana asked.“Hmm … he took early retirement two years ago, so he is about sixty-four years old,” Christina said.“He lost his wife last year.”“How did she dead?”“How did she die?” Christina corrected automatically.“She had a stroke and died immediately.One day she was fine and the next she was gone.It was last fall; he is still mourning.”Raihana looked out of the car window.She had not understood how the man's wife died, only that she died in the efterår, the autumn.Last autumn Raihana had been grasping at a new life, preparing to come to Denmark.A year before that she had left Kabul.It had been cold then, she remembered feeling so cold.Aamir had insisted she leave without him, and he had promised that he would follow.As she drove away with neighbors who were also escaping, she had seen a man on the street.He was dead in the street, his eyes still open, the contents of his body spilling out of his skin, his white kurta red … he looked almost like Aamir, young, wearing that hideous beard the Taliban forced all Afghan men to wear.That man's body was imprinted in her memory and every time she thought about Aamir, the eyes in her mind looked at the dead man on the street, wanting to see if he had been Aamir.Is that how he died? Was he tortured in a Taliban prison? Had he been in pain? The questions reeled through her and she struggled to get away from that bloody street in Kabul and back to Denmark, to Christina's cigarette-smelling car.“Here we are,” Christina said as they pulled into a gravel driveway.The house looked small and old.The garden was still lying dormant.But it was only the end of March and Raihana had been warned that in Denmark sometimes winter crept into a cold spring and then transformed into a cold autumn, completely skipping summer.Raihana was used to being cold, but she craved the sun and longed for the heat, the smell of sun-dried clothes and of being unbearably hot.The door looked newer than the house.It was dark wood with a polished brass knocker on it.The house was painted white while the windows were dark brown and the roof was thatched, as was the norm with old farmhouses in Denmark.There were flowerpots everywhere and perennials grew in them, defying the cold weather, and several rosebushes lined the front of the house.A big sandbox lay in a corner of the front garden and a plastic shovel and bucket peeked out from the wet sand.A blue tricycle lay against the sandbox.He must have grandchildren, Raihana thought.Christina knocked on the brass knocker and they waited a while before the door opened.Raihana didn't mind waiting as she had more time to digest everything she saw.On the other side of the house was a garage that was closed now.A dusty red car was parked outside the garage.“You will work there,” Christina said, pointing to the garage.“Next to the garage they have a room where they keep honey.”Raihana nodded even though she understood absolutely nothing Christina had said except work, there, and honey.So she deduced she would work in the garage to make honey.But Chacha Bashir's honeybees used to be outside; here they kept them inside the house.How did the bees get to the flowers then?Next to the garage was a gate that led to the backyard.The garden had an erstwhile manicured feel about it.The winter had taken its toll on the garden and definitely needed some spring cleaning.The neighbor's garden looked better despite the dry lawn.There were no scattered leaves in the garden, the weeds had been dug out, and the soil had been freshly turned.After Christina knocked for the fourth time the door finally opened.Raihana had started to feel uneasy and her uneasiness only grew when the door opened.Her first glimpse of the man was not impressive.He was wearing a bedraggled shirt and pants.His hair, what was left of it, was white, and stood up in spikes.His face was gaunt and his clothes looked as if they had been made for a thicker man.He was thin and looked sickly.He smelled of whiskey and coffee and smoke.Raihana was scared of him.She didn't know what to expect from a Danish person's house but she had thought this one would smell like honey, like her Chacha Bashir's house had.But this house smelled of what the man smelled of and it was not pleasant.Christina spoke in rapid Danish and all Raihana picked up was beskidt and stinker.Dirty and stinking.The man grunted back in Danish and went inside.Christina turned to Raihana apologetically.“He is depressed,” she said.Raihana didn't understand.“Han er trist,” Christina tried again.This time Raihana nodded.Trist meant sad.So the man was sad! Of course, he was in mourning.He had just lost his wife, what—a few months ago? What a luxury, she thought enviously, that he could mourn his loss like this when her husband had disappeared.She would have liked to give up on life and cry until she was empty of tears; instead she had to brave a refugee camp, a new country, and now a whole new language.“Maybe we coming later,” Raihana said.“Maybe we should come later,” Christina corrected her.“No, it is fine.He needs to get up and around and you need to start your praktik.”But Raihana wasn't sure now if she wanted to do her praktik here.This man seemed strange, his house stranger.What if something bad happened here? What if he was a bad man?When the old Danish man came back he had washed his face and changed into a clean-looking but wrinkled blue shirt and a pair of jeans.His eyes were so hollow they looked like dark circles; like something out of a horror movie, Raihana thought.Like he had been tortured [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]