Ada and Even found each other at the cafeteria where the company’s almost two hundred employees had lunch every day.
They slept together on the first night they went out. It happened in his room that was full of books and clutter, she walked around naked and she was soft and pleasant to look at.
It was a fine spring and a fine summer.
They often went swimming after work time. Ada would lie on her belly with her bra undone so as not to get a white stripe on her back. A few times they sat still and looked at each other. They were both sure they were in love.
One September day, Ada said she was pregnant.
She said it one afternoon while they were sitting on a bench and her hair had the same colour as the red leaves falling from the trees, they were smoking and looking at the people passing by.
We might as well get married, said Even.
Why, said Ada, I don’t feel like it.
She looked over him and slightly smiled, the dreadful smile that would make his life miserable.
As you wish, he said and blew the smoke deep into the cold and watery September air.
They moved in together, first in a couple of rooms, then in a larger apartment, and Even witnessed the birth of his child. He would never forget the image of the juicy red placenta sliding out of her like a soft pudding and the strength of the umbilical cord. Or the small pale-blue body covered in blood and shining in a peculiar layer of fat. Screaming. In the end, the half strangled high pitched scream turned the pale-blue thing into a living being.
Ada lay sweaty and yellowish and they cried together in the warm smell of birth in the hospital room. They were so close to each other, they should have been able to do anything.
A few years passed. They worked, they read books and listened to music, they said words to one another, gave each other affection and gave the child affection. The kid also received anything he needed, from healthy and nourishing food to clothes and toys fit for his age, as well as an open minded education in which even tabu words would come into everyday conversation.
And Ada loved going round the apartment naked when she had a shower, he very much enjoyed seeing her. She would bend over him and tickle his ear with one of her breasts.
But I don’t want to be owned, she said, I would rather not have.
Great, said Even. He turned his head a little, gently grabbed the nipple with his lips and started sucking on it thoughtfully.
They had a lot of friends, when they had time for it. They laughed, they told stories and they talked. They even danced because they were still young enough. They also drank.
Even’s mother died, he had the painful indescribable feeling of something being swept from under his feet, everything was now wobbling in uncertainty. He cried in Ada’s lap, she talked softly and with sobriety, though she had not wanted to see that weak side, but she stroked his hair and said good words.
They travelled abroad a few times and sent funny little postcards to their friends. Of course, they weren’t in love anymore, though they bathed under the moonlight a few times, a re-enactment of the warmest and nearest air between them, it was like a small rebirth. They were grateful for it.
Freedom is to be used, said Ada one evening when they had guests, we shouldn’t just talk about it or it becomes meaningless. Most of them agreed and they all drank more than they planned.
She was prettier than ever. Her belly was soft as a duck’s feathers and her eyes full of a delightful glitter. Only the hair didn’t shine as much as before, but it was true some years had passed.
One summer evening she quietly took her clothes off and swam naked with Hans in a mountain lake. Afterwards they made love in the dry bushes, while mosquito stings and a small chicken’s wing flaps made him lose his endurance. She laughed a laugh that flew into the surrounding hills, into the mountain plateau, like a dark wild bird. Inside the hut, that was prefabricated and practically decorated, the fireplace was still lighten and Even took Helga, who suddenly turned towards him on the bench. Her kiss tasted like brandy and was hot and rough and self-oriented.
Sometimes they talked about it, Ada and Even, about experiencing with other people and they would laugh and consider it delightful. Other times, they did not talk about it at all.
Everything was pretty good and rather strange, everything gave them short bizarre moments of joy and they felt the room getting bigger around them. From time to time they would do things to one another that they had read in books only to show themselves and each other how wonderful and free it was. But from time to time they did it also because they felt like it, because it was great.
Ada and Even did not own each other, they would say it to one another with conviction and strength. Maybe they heard it, maybe not, the profane comradeship in words. So much in what they thought was freedom was laughter and mockery. But perhaps it was not so bad.
Even loved more and more of Helga, she was not at all better than Ada, she was just different. And it was something. And later came Inga, and Ada was partly together with Hans and afterwards with Erik or Egil, she didn’t remember exactly.
They worked and earned money and so the child grew up, they listened to a lot of music and read words. Sometimes they noticed that they were a bit older, but it was not so obvious as to do something out of it while there was still time.
None of them owned the other and they all floated around like free weightless bodies in the clear thin air. Dark birds flew outside the windows, the church bells rang, people saw their faces in the mirror and stared rudely and inquiring at them, as they would have allowed themselves only with complete strangers.
Little Ada, who was just a child, came silently in her nightgown and saw the man her mamma was sitting on top and kissing on the sofa. It was not papa, yet mamma lay in his arms and yawned.
Mamma, should you not sleep soon, said little Ada.
Of course, my treasure, said mamma, soon we shall sleep.