Diary, Ålesund, about the world, which you can try to love

In the morning, the wind briefly like at the hazed mirror sighed a fresh sea breath into the attic window and drizzled on a book on the table. It’s time to look at the world. What do we have in this sleepy picture?

He and she, two backpacks, two children, tied on the chest in front of them (apparently, a boy and a girl), two carefree spaniels on leashes in each hand (apparently, a boy and a girl). Went to the world. Took all necessary for a long life.

The tailor in the workshop in front like every morning before starting to work with a sewing machine went out on the balcony to smoke squatting – it’s her territory! there’re no “no-go” tablets! Here, she’s as if on the street or in the air and that’s why the girl with an apron on, with needles stuck on the chest, goes out every morning to simply feel herself out of the rules. In the city only some tourists smoke, she and my companion, cinema critic and a human, whose genius talent according to her own definition is about people liking her. Her ordinary talent according to her own definition is about her creating phrases. And now, having found her nature, she doesn’t waste time on complexes and doubts, leads her life, which is clearly inscribed in the boulevard landscape. Vika, for example, thinks that parents don’t have to disperse and heedlessly waste time on their children and other trifle things – it’s necessary to determine the general talent of a child and let it go like a train to the definite destination. It may do much good. And she clearly arranges priorities and doesn’t tolerate the rules if they annoy her – for example, she’s the only in Ålesund, who crosses the road against light because of a great impatience but then she still waits for me on the other law-abiding side of the street (because she respects my own choice) and every time she explains that she would certainly cross on the green light if there was at least one car in this city. Vika has her own explanations for everything. The lack of information she refills with her own, peerless variant – and that’s why you don’t have to look for how a brown cider is brewed here, just ask her straightaway, no matter that she first sees it. “I have a burnt library in my head and you can scrape up something necessary and useful. And it’s so wonderful! Because someone still has unfinished castles, in the air by the way”, and she laughs but without excess self-irony. To have such a person beside you during the life journey is like to have a compass. You can look at its pointers or not. This is not its feature – to insist. It originally stands firmly on its own rightness. And you are internally calm because if something goes awry – it will point at the right paragraph.

Well. There’s written in the guidebooks that it’s forbidden to smoke even on the streets of Ålesund. Whether it’s true or not, but it’s written. Perhaps, it’s because the only historical event, which Ålesund bears in mind, is a huge fire in 1905 when a wooden city burnt to the ground and ten thousand people suddenly became homeless. In the house of a hanged man don’t talk about a noose, so here, they don’t smoke. However, I went to the monument in memory of the fire and I was impressed by the faces of the fire victims on the photos of those times. They posed arrogantly, looked seriously and calmly into the objective and someone even smiled. Maybe they already knew that in two days the ships with warm blankets and big money would arrive. Kaiser Wilhelm 2, the neighbour, who miraculously collected all this fortune and sent to the Norwegians. And they built a new stoned city in two years, strictly in art-nouveau style. And now we, who come here, literally live the museum. And also among people who willingly smile all the time and never lose their temper as if there’s no such a thing in the world as a non-motivated will to show a birdie to a neighbour. Just to show.

Although Vika asserts the idea that the world isn’t provided for comfortable living of the short people. To illustrate, she angrily jumps to close the window under the very ceiling, as she calls it. And I, as a conformist, take the responsibility to close all existent windows, turn on all existent hair-dryers and the light in the room at the level of her top. Instead, I put forward my own idea that the world is made according to such scheme that allows some short people to lie on the sofa, be carefree, reach the verdicts and make phrases.

After all, the world is complex but rather sweet and cosy if trying to meet each other. To gain the skimpiest skills of such life it’s worth wandering around the world and appear in the supermarket in Ålesund to buy milk, for example. The cashier will be a young and unspoilt Solveig, she will give you her angel-like smiles so sincerely, as if this smile belongs only to you. To ensure, you will come here again at the end of the day. And your belief in humanity and eternal self-sacrifice for the sake of the neighbour will strengthen – Solveig has been waiting for you the whole shift to smile at your soul with this devoted smile of a virgin lady. She’s only tired a little bit what a slightly reddish nose under the pearl powder tells but only you can see it because you’re connected with a thin string of amicability forever and ever.

And then, you’ll stroll to the riverbank, sit down on the bench and watch the fiord – and it’ll suddenly turn out that the bench is warm because metal bent benches are warmed up here for you to sit like a queen in the castle and hear no wind or rain, only dream your dreams as a holy child because you have been taken care of. And even if you go, you’ll find a perfect place somewhere on the beautiful lawn, for example in the best part of the park where everybody lies under stones and necessarily with stoned birds which crouch over everyone. These stones look at the fiord from the most profitable place in this parterre. Your life and memory about you are treasured here! You, whom people have undoubtedly loved so much, must forever be luxurious in these precious landscapes.

To tell the truth, it’ll happen not to us. But could it happen?

The day will come to an end without me in Ålesund because I go further. The sun will set at midnight, pouring its copper evening gold on the local daily art nouveau. The monument to a woman who picks fish, the monument to widows who will forever gaze at the sea and never look back at the empty home, the monument to the men’s ideal of devotion – a song of never ageing Solveig that will never get tired of following Per Gynt, though they’re so many other options for personal happiness around. The monument to the fire that left only smiled photos but burnt down the wooden past with sinful sadness because sadness is a sin and you won’t fly high or swim far away with it. The city didn’t plan anything extraordinary today and nothing happened today – just enough time to look at the beautiful…

Just to look at the beautiful…

Olga Gerasymyuk

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