Opening of ‘Norwegian Rock’

I

November – Plans for Escape

Thinking about it, the idea had been there for as long as he could remember.  He supposed that it must have begun with Moominpappa at Sea and grown from there.  Or had it been the seaside holiday souvenir that had stood upon the mantelpiece, that upturned phial of coloured sand, mounted on a pebble?  Well, whichever, he found himself drawn to those remote locations, to the inaccessible cliff tops and distant islands where men erected their monuments to the boundless and indifferent power of the sea.  And yet there was something comforting about them, that shaft of light cutting through the darkest night, the walls of granite holding you safe within as the most violent of storms raged outside.  Above all, it had been the prospect of total isolation that appealed, to be cut adrift in a world of your own design…  Oh, yes, he’d always dreamed of becoming a keeper.  And now, for the first time in his life, he found himself giving serious consideration to the possibility.  And this is how it came about…

His relationship had recently ended.  Things had been falling apart for some time.  Matters had come to a head during a particularly intense exchange of mutual indifference.

“Well, if that’s how you feel about it, I’ll go, then.”

“You do that, then.”

“I will, then.”

“Okay, then.”

And he had.  And that had been that.  He wasn’t sure that he’d meant it or that her acceptance had been entirely genuine, but there it was.  He’d removed his things from the flat and moved back in with his mother.  And now he was free to do as he wished.  He had nobody else to think about and nobody to please except himself.

It wasn’t as if he had a promising career to sacrifice or anything.  He’d taught for a while but the job hadn’t quite turned out as he’d anticipated.  He’d imagined sharing his passion for his favourite authors with classes full of polite and eager pupils.  The level of resistance to his charismatic personality had come as a genuine surprise.  For the last decade, give or take a year, he’d been working in his local branch library.  Well, what else were you supposed to do with an art foundation and a degree in English from an obscure university?  Oh, and he’d taken a two year correspondence course in computing, which he’d somehow failed to put into practice…

Nor had he amassed much in the way of material possessions.  After all, the salary of a library assistant didn’t finance the most opulent of lifestyles.  Having always rented, there was no property to dispose of, and since he didn’t drive, he had no car to sell either.  What little he did possess he’d be able to leave in his mother’s garage, no doubt.  There really was nothing to stop him going wherever he wanted, doing whatever he wished.

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“Good, is it not?” she shouted.
“What is?” he asked. “Or isn’t?”
“Norwegian rock.”
“Oh, yes, very good.”

Text and image © PSR

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