half turned away, I minutely examine him as usual for signs of the imminent fall: a worried look, a sudden movement of the hand, a marked loss of zest for life and desire. But he seems as untroubled as ever, feet planted wide apart, scratching his nose, and there seem to be no other horrors lying in store except for some bruises on his backside from all the potholes in the road. I am not worried, consoling myself with the fact that everything in this world takes time. Just look at the spring outside the window. It slides slowly towards fulfilment, almost imperceptibly. The mere thought of my secret, treacherous deeds makes me feel as light as a feather – springlike, pale green. Ragna has noticed the change, my good mood, and has been surprisingly gentle of late. Before they leave, she actually bares her teeth slightly, a small, encouraging smile that tells me to take things easy until they get back. As soon as she is out of the door, I slap my thighs, laugh and chuckle to myself: If only she knew what I have been thinking about for the past few weeks.
Finally, at last, I am alone again – it’s been too long since the last time. I snuggle down in bed among the soft pillows, the warm duvet. How nice to be undisturbed in the house, so marvellous not to be a source of trouble or irritation. I