Early morning, 4 a.m.
The streets are empty,
Except for me and the birds.
A handful of sparrows are seaking treasures in a pile of vomit.
I wonder if my boss is already up at this hour.
At the tram stop, I look around carefully. I haven’t been robbed yet, but I also make sure to always wear my broken shoes.
Two more join me at the stop. First a middle-aged woman with a cane, then a man raging to himself. He screams and moves erratically, bites a lamp post with his already broken teeth. Is it the drugs in his blood or the voices in his head that are making him do it? I do not wonder further. I only feel a sadness for whoever he is beneath all the insanity.
Down on the tracks a rat is looking for a snack. He gnaws on some sunflower seed shells but finds them empty. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I hear my mother scream and I see her standing on the kitchen table and hitting down at the floor with a broom. How can you fear something so harmless? I’ve always wondered.
”Shoo!” I say and stomp my foot to scare the rodent away. ”The tram is coming.”
My mother’s nightmare beast retreats to the forest beyond the tracks and a crow rises from it. Before I step into the tram wagon, I wonder if the birds ever feel gratitude that the sky is theirs.
I travel through the city still grey and half asleep. All day I’ll be cooking for people who are scared to come where I live, to my home turf with the rats, the drugs, the gangs and the barf loving sparrows. To the place – beside the forest – where I feel the greatest calm.
I do not envy the rich folks in their big houses. My belly is full, my clothes keep me warm and I ask for not much else.
Well, there is one thing…
I envy the ones who get to live by the sea,
Those people whose windows are turned towards the shores of Njördr’s Kingdom,
Those lucky few who get to be rocked to sleep by the song of the Daughters of Rán,
And who are greeted each new morning by the sight of Mardöll dancing on the waves.
Only those I envy a little bit, not much. Not more than I allow myself.
But if one day I have the gold to buy a house, I’ll buy one by the sea.