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Bernt-Olov Andersson

From the novel Lilac Time
(Translation: Jean Stenberg)

The lorrydriver hang over the wheel, rubbed the windscreen with his workglove and blew his moustache with such a power that some grain of his snuff ended up on the daschboard.
- Now, le'ts see how the land lies!
But the truth was that he saw almost nothing. The windscreen of the lorry was so covered with condensation that all tree of them sat locked in as at a lavatory surrounded by a lightgrey mist. They could discover some snow-clad maples and two-storey houses as dim figures alongside the street and at times the sun shone through making the windscreen glitter with snow-crystals.
- There's supposed to be a flat in the gable, uttered Elsa.
- Is that so, said the driver.
- With an indoor lavatory she added. Elsa paddeled her feet against the grooved rubbermats of the cabin. She felt the cold weather in her very bones. Her knitted socks were worn out. She supposed she could take to her knitting again once the removal was over.
Bosse, who sat jammed in between his mother and the driver, was deep in thoughts. Indoor lavatory did indeed sound fanciful. He peered through a piece of the windscreen that was not covered with mist, and saw a glimpse of plastered houses behind the trees and the shubbery.
Indoor lavatory. And in his minds eye he saw a huge camber pot drilled through the entire house. Just like the watertank on the barn up at the Rigde. Only far bigger.
- Here it is, said the driver. He stopped with a sudden brake. The furniture on top of the lorry made a creaking sound. He flung open the door and heaved himself out. The door slammed with a dangerous bang.
Elsa and Bosse sat huddeled together. The wheel vibrated. The mother held a wallclock in her arms. Then she made free one arm and laid it around Bosses shoulders. She smiled and made the cold weather an excuse for embracing him.
- Now we are real urbans. Imagine that.
Outside they heard the driver talking to someone from the Works. They listened to a dialect different to what they werw used to.
The driver opened the door as the man outside said:
- 'adden't you better bring the damned lorry with its back to the stairs?
Then he added:
- Well I don'nu but ye gonna 'ave a ell of a trouble to getta settee up the stairs!
- May be, said the driver. But I myself have to turn back.
- 'Allo! Do ye need a 'elping 'and?
Elsa, though greatful to such an offer did not accept this with the excuse that her husband had taken the bus in the morning and was surely waiting for her now in the apartment.

She slipped down from the lorry. Bosse was helped by the driver who lifted him down. A cascade of snow sparkled in the sun as it fell from the tree at wich they had parked the lorry.

Elsa got the impression that the iron mill town looked tidy. Streets and gardens were settled in straight rows. With the symmetry of a chessboard. The plastered houses coloured in yellow with red paint around windows, doors and corners. Shone against the white snow with clear intensity. No cheating or negligence, everything done with care. The snow shoveled away elaborately and looking just as neat as the white sheets in her own linen cupboard. But the weighty cupboard stood of course up on the lorry platform together with other furniture, the household linen was packed in a cardboard bot.

Bosse, Elsa and the driver stood by the lorry looking at the houses. Eight familys in each house. Two doors and a stair on each side. Tree big houses on each side of the street before the stop at the canal wich made a sharp bend through the community. This was were they would now come to live. Elsa, Bosse and the roller Pelle Svensson, and stay perhaps for ever. Pelle who obviously had not yet arrived. Surely he would turn up at any minute now.

- Well, said the driver and put a fair pinch of snuff in his mouth. He licked his lips and spit into the snow. Reckon you can get started then.