Lars went into the shed where Hans stored his materials
and found a few planks of knot-free spruce. He sawed off a
suitable piece, ripped out the broken board in the side of
the boat and used it as a template. Then he needed two
more bits, periodically he had to run out and in and
measure up, and saw and plane and run out and mark and
measure. But when he had finished he couldn’t bend the
board into position.
Barbro came and said he should take the board home with
him, wrap it in damp cloths and leave it in a tub under the
oven for a day or two, to make it more pliable. Lars asked if
she could do that, he didn’t want to be in the kitchen
listening to Felix’s crepitations, he didn’t even go there to
eat. Barbro said he would have to do it himself, she would
find him some old cloths.
Lars said in that case he wouldn’t bother.
‘No, no, no’, Barbro said. He would have to eat anyway.
He went in with her and did as she ordered and glanced at
Felix, who was lying on a couch and trembling and didn’t
notice that Lars was there. Lars went back to the shed and
searched for material to make a new rib. He couldn’t find
anything. There were two windows in the shed, one facing
north and one facing south. He stood for a moment looking
out of the north-facing one. The sea was black and smooth.
Like lead. Like tar.