then I understand, I can feel it in my whole body – the pain in my back and thighs after having lain lopsidedly and in an arch over the chamber pot. It’s a relief when Ragna removes the pot, but at the same time it causes me violent pain as my back sinks down into the mattress. I’ve been lying there for several hours, at least.
The pot sloshes and splashes, Ragna makes a face and holds her nose.
‘What a stench,’ she says, and quickly spreads the duvet out over me.
The days come and go. From my inert life on the pillows I have plenty of time to study the married couple’s rhythm of daily activities. Every morning starts like this: Ragna puts the coffee on. As soon as it’s ready, Johan comes to the kitchen table and they drink cup after cup together while they natter away and laugh. And after having drunk a whole pot, they boil another one that they also immediately drink. Along with these cups of pitch-black gritty coffee they eat large slices of bread that Ragna has baked. Or rather, Ragna prods a few crumbs into her mouth, while Johan wolfs down whatever is going from her full plate. After that they sometimes go back to bed, and when they get up an hour