From Iceland — A CHANGE OF TERMS


Published November 5, 2004


A roadside. A tree. Chattering. Phone rings, a Bob Marley tune.

Godot (At the other end): Guys?
Vladimír: Yeah.
G: Hey.
V: Er, hi.
G: It’s Godot.
V: Ah, yes, hey, hi, cool … em, how are you?
G: Fine, fine …
V: …
G: … er, are you still there, at the roadside?
V: Yeah, or actually we went to town, but we’re back. You didn’t happen by in the meantime, did you, we didn’t miss you?
G: No no. But about that whole thing …
V: You’re coming, aren’t you?
G: …
V: I mean, you want to come?
G: …
V: …
G: … it’s not that simple.
V: …
G: I don’t know, sometimes everything seems so simple, for a moment or a day and you promise something but then you just don’t know what you want, you know what I mean?
V: What are you saying?
G: I don’t know, I don’t know what I’m saying. Sometimes I miss you so much, there are days … but in between I’m absolutely content, and you don’t even occur to me for days in a row.
V: If you’re really going to say something that would seriously disturb me, we should talk tomorrow. We have company.
G: Company?
V: You know it’s Friday night.
G: Who are there?
V: Melli and his boyfriend Julian, Miriam from Prague, and Jonni.
G: Say hello to Melli.
V: Sure.
G: …
V: … talk to you tomorrow.
G: OK. Bye.
V: Bye.

V: Godot says hello.
Melli: Oh, yeah, thanks. When is he coming, by the way?
V: (Sighs and rubs his head) I don’t know, he intended to come last week, but then his father got ill. And then, when his father got better they stopped flying here. The low-fare airline, that is … which means that there is a waiting list for the trains. Which I’ve never heard of before. I don’t know … he spoke about early next month. So he’s coming, but it’s, er, it’s untimely to put a date on his arrival yet.
M: Aha, I see, I see. I’m starting to look forward to seeing him again.
V: Aren’t we all.

The day after a few text messages ensue.

Then, roadside again, a tree, no chattering, someone snores, a phone rings, Bob Marley tune.

G: Guys.
V: Stop speaking to me in the plural.
G: Sorry.
V: …
G: Where did that reaction come from?
V: Which one?
G: Your message. „Fuck you“ – you never said „fuck you“ to me.
V: I looked for other words, but … I’m just very pissed off.
G: …
V: …
G: Look, I, I don’t know, I’m afraid that if I come …
V: You’re constantly afraid.
G: I’m afraid that if I come and it’s not really, and I’m not really sure yet, then this will be just one more arbitrary meeting without consequences. I don’t want that.
V: Neither do I, Godot. And that’s not where I thought we were heading.
G: I just, I cannot be sure, I can’t know that this will last …
V: People don’t know. That’s not how life is. If you come here and we hope to spend a long time together, it’s hope. It might fail, but if it fails it doesn’t mean you die.
G: But that’s precisely it, that’s precisely how I feel, that if it fails, I die.
V: Look, I know people who have spent their whole lives paralysed by fear, afraid of time and the future so they would rather have nothing happen – and they succeed in letting nothing happen for decades on end. And then they literally die.
G: Please wait (his voice breaks) …
V: It’s not even a question of decision, Godot. It’s biology. If I wait for half a year more, it’s me who will die.
G: …
V: Even if I said „fuck you“ I don’t want you to cry.
G: …
V: Dear Godot …
G: (Sobs) What are you doing tonight?
V: Babysitting.
G: Can I call you then, I’m on my mobile now.
V: Do.
G: Don’t say „fuck you“ to me.
V: Don’t let me wait.
G: …
V: Speak with you tonight.
G: Yeah. Bye.
V: Bye.

(To be continued. (– Yes, but for how long?))

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