Love letters: Alice

by Bonnie Pockley

Stockholm, 2005

We used to sit in the cafeteria of the Universitet for hours on end. Typical of Sweden, there’d be a buffet of whole-food everything and a long row of people waiting in line to get in, desperate to escape the biting cold of a harsh winter. At its worst, I think, it got to minus 30 ° C and we’d sit there during our breaks, amongst the hustle and bustle, drinking endless cups of strong black coffee.

We had met in class on the first day – International Politics perhaps, it doesn’t matter now. We became fast friends and through his social network I met – and fell in love with – his best, unavailable, friend. Often, our conversations would turn to this. He knew, of course, and consoled me with stories of his own unrequited love – stories of Alice, a friend long ago, whom never knew.

Eventually the snow melted and the grass appeared as a green mass beneath the white cover-all. The forest came alive and the days warmed up. We would adventure together, exploring the lakes, the woods, the city – he showing me the lay of the land, he telling me stories of his life, of his work, of Alice.

Time passed – as it does – and the day came when my time in Sweden was almost up. He looked worn and ragged and I asked him if he was alright. He hadn’t slept, he said, and that there was something he needed to say before I left, something to tell me before we said goodbye.

‘What?’ I said. And he paused.

‘You’re Alice.’

bb5eaa1f14566078863548f7f8625156Image by Alicia Baladan via here