It's Fine By Me A Novel by Per Petterson

It's Fine By Me A Novel by Per Petterson

Author:Per Petterson
Language: eng
Format: mobi, azw3
Tags: Fiction, General
Publisher: Random House
Published: 2011-11-03T04:00:00+00:00

III

11

THE SPRING AND the summer of the year I was thirteen were sunk in yellow haze. I was sweating all over my body for weeks and weeks and it was hard for me to see clearly. I walked up the gravel path to the house like a drunk, the air about me thick and quivering with a light that could explode at any moment it seemed, and sometimes I would aim for the door and miss. I sat hunched over my school books rubbing my eyes, but the yellow haze would not go away, and I kept going to the kitchen for something to drink. My throat felt so dry, I was constantly thirsty, and in the end I turned away from the school books. When I came home, I took them out of my satchel and the next morning I put them back, but I didn’t open them. And I didn’t read anything else. The Davy Crockett books were on the shelves, but there was an emptiness surrounding them that made me restless, an emptiness everywhere that made me gasp for air, and I felt sick. I lay in bed for a week gazing at the curtains. They were as sun-yellow as everything else that was on my mind, and outside my head the sticky silence hung thick and hot, and my temperature rose to thirty-nine degrees.

‘I have yellow fever,’ I said.

‘Yellow fever makes your skin go yellow,’ my mother said. ‘You’re poorly, no doubt about it, but if you ask me you look pretty pale.’

‘I’ve definitely got yellow fever,’ I said.

‘You may have, of course,’ she said and went to look it up in the family encyclopaedia, and the symptoms listed there were quite different, but if ever there was something called yellow fever, that’s what I had, and no one could tell me different.

After a week I was fed up lying in bed. I got up and put on a baseball cap and sunglasses.

The morning before the last day of school, I woke early, but stayed in bed, gazing at the ceiling, thinking about things. And when my thinking was done, I jumped out of bed and went down to the kitchen where my mother was standing with her forehead against the window looking out at the road.

‘Tomorrow I’m going off for a while,’ I said.

‘Fine,’ she said, and was relieved, for she didn’t really know what to do with me in the two months that lay ahead of us. She had to work all summer in the cafeteria at Gardermoen airport, and no one had seen my father for months. Kari would work at the newspaper kiosk, and my mother had enough on her plate looking after Egil.

‘Where are you going, then?’

‘Frank and I are going to the woods, we’ll set up camp by Lake Aurtjern. I’ll be away for about two weeks.’

‘You’ll need quite a bit of food then.’

‘Not that much. We’ll do some fishing. Have you got any money?’

‘You can have some. I haven’t got a lot,’ she said, turning her apron pockets inside out, so I could see for myself.



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