citizen of earth

‘You have lovely arms,’ says Agnetha.
‘It’s this flattering light’
To be honest, there’s hardly any light at all. Agnetha likes to keep it low in the living room (aptly named – being the only room she lives in these days). It’s cluttered in here. A little claustrophobic. I feel like Howard Carter, surrounded by artefacts, paintings and sculptures chaotically piled up. Except Tutankhamen probably didn’t have a blister pack of meds and a commode, and Tutankhamen didn’t suddenly reach out and grab him round the arm.
‘Yes! Very well made’ she says, giving it a squeeze. ‘Not like mine. But then I’ve always been a scrawny thing. Even when I was a child. Didn’t matter what I ate, I still looked like a sparrow.’
She lies back in her recliner and closes her eyes.
Outside, two men shout and swear at each other. She doesn’t react. The house has stood in this street two hundred years. Plenty of voices have passed in that time. Agnetha is so old she must have heard half of them.
‘What did you do for a living, before you retired?’ I ask her.
‘Nothing!’ she says. ‘My mother didn’t want me to work.’
‘So how did you fill your time?’
‘I studied.’
‘What did you study?’
‘Everything!’ she says, opening her eyes wide again. ‘Everything you could think of! We had a library. I spent most of my time there, reading, reading…. oh! Any subject you’d care to name! I had a lovely childhood. Gosh – how my mother would laugh if she could see me now!’
‘Where are you from originally?’
‘Do you mean where was I born?’
‘Yes. You’ve still got a bit of an accent.’
‘Denmark. That’s where I poked my head out. But it’s like my mother always said. She said I was born on planet earth. She knew! And let me tell you something…’
She sits up and grabs my arm again.
‘You don’t need to go up in a rocket to know … we’re all in this together!’

2 thoughts on “citizen of earth

  1. Yeah – that’s right – use a discussion about humankind’s struggle to balance its cooperative ideals with its desire for territorial expansion as an excuse to go down the boozer (and if you’re getting them in I’ll have a Hophead, cheers… and what crisps have they got?)


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