coming back to myself
Two days ago I returned the wheel-chair to the hospital. It was a big decision. I liked that wheel-chair. But it was quite a sensation to simply stand up and walk. Yesterday I went up to my study. Spent much of the day organizing papers, mainly throwing things away. I ate some minuscule pieces of chicken for dinner, washing them down with plenty of soup. It’s not much, but I have now left my sick-bed behind and I’m doing things again. Normal things, that normal people do.
The great loneliness is also behind me. The loneliness that envelops all those who are stuck inside their illness with no interest in communicating with the rest of the world. Slowly I’m coming back to myself.
The question is only which self I’m coming back to. To my great surprise I find that I live in Taiwan, and I have a wife and four children. How did that happen? How did I come to be here and not somewhere else? When I think of myself I might as well be “Erik, the teacher in London,” or “Erik, the student in America,” or “Erik, back on the farm in northern Sweden.” And where are all my family members — my father and mother, my sisters and friends?
I don’t know if I even remember how to be a father, a husband and a teacher? What if I can’t remember?
Thinking about living again, it seems unbelievable that there really is a place for me in the world. That I too, once more, could become a normal person. That the supermarket will let me in; that there is a subway ticket for me to buy, and a place at the table in the cafeteria. I never dared to hope for that much and I’m still hesitant to ask for such privileges.