there I find three thick, black hairs that must be his. I place them in a matchbox, grab a glass and totter slowly but surely back to my own room. I put the hairs in the glass, place it on the chest of drawers, and if I’m quick – relatively speaking, in my condition – I can manage to get hold of some more. My heart is hammering, I’m in motion, I cackle and pant in turns, it’s a matter of time, of life, yes, a particular one. In Johan and Ragna’s room it’s obvious where Johan sleeps. I’ve worked it out from the sounds already, but the clothes also make it clear: Ragna’s shiny red nightdress sticks out from under the pillow on her side. As best I can, I bend over Johan’s sheet, supported on a crutch, running a nail over the sheet, lifting it slightly, to collect the bits and pieces from his body in a small heap. I sneeze, my nose blocks up: it must be flakes of skin and dust swirling around in the air. But there, right beside his pillow, I discover what I am searching for, the curled, short form, the hardness: a hair from Johan’s private parts.
There’s no need to try and explain away what I am up to. Something has to be done and this is my means of doing it. But, to be honest, I don’t like it. In horror I witness myself tie a knot in the hairs, then place them in the glass together with a sheet of paper on which I have written Johan’s full