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What would you do?
It was snowing lightly. The kind of snow which never settled just caused everything to gloss and go into a high-contrast sharpness. It was wet underfoot and cold, pleasantly so, there was little wind. With his leather jacket under his beige flasher's mac, wool scarf, gloves, and hat, he was warm. Perhaps a little too warm. He was somewhere new. Scandinavia. The first time. Denmark. Aalborg. To his right, a stretch of black water in a disused basin or lake. The ruins of industrialisation set all around, disused jetties, warehouses, and tracks for unseen trains or transports. There were cobbles in places. Graffiti in others. He felt at home. It was deserted. A few cars sat abandoned (or so it seemed) perhaps their owners had worried about a sudden dump of snow that would cut them off on their way home and had taken the train or shacked up in a local hotel instead. He wondered if this happened often. The Danes had a lot of very cheap, very small-roomed hotels.
He thought back to the night before and Henrika who was boss Lars’ sales manager. At first, he had thought they were husband and wife - each squabbling and fussing and confiding in each other. But it turns out they were just old friends who had only recently become work colleagues. She seemed eager to please - but also eager to let everyone know that she knew this guy better than anyone else did. There was a hint of ex-lover about it - but, he knew reliably, from the horse's-mouth, that this wasn’t the case.
Last night was the company Christmas party and the akvavit and strong lager, sitting atop the, mostly, pickled food, was numbing his senses more than the weather. Henrika had been staying with another colleague in the hotel where he had a room, and he had met them for a drink before going together to the party. Her transformation was startling. With student-like enthusiasm, she had pulled on a tight-fitting top, short skirt and heels. Her face was made-up, blue eyeshadow, wing-tip eyeliner, and bright red lips. Her hair, back-combed and wild. He was taken aback 'Wow, you look great’ he managed to stutter out 'Tak! ' Her only reply in that Scandinavian tone of 'yeah - why so surprised?'
The night had been mostly boring. But the two of them had a few short, very interesting, conversations where she seemed to want to get things off her chest, he couldn’t place, now, the reason why. Was she trying to suss out the competition, was she hoping to find a job in London, was she flirting with him (even though she had a husband and four kids) Nothing seemed to add up. But then he remembered the one thing that she told him, which had made such an impression. That had caused this unsettled feeling this cold winter, Danish, morning.
She asked: ‘ Is there a love strong enough that you would kill for - literally’?
Aalborg, Denmark 2014. iPhone 5s
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