Words: Joined by Genes and Letters

by Laura Findlay

Dear Zoo,

Hey there. So. In a bid to write more things, both here, and generally, I’ve made the dramatic decision to start sharing my fiction on the blog. Most of what I share, at least for now, is stuff that has been sleeping in a folder on my laptop. Here are some words I wrote in 2015 about Finland.

Joined by Genes and Letters

There is a sweeping road and a paddock to the left with a horse in it. The horse is black and stands with its head bent grass-wards, illuminated by the midnight sun: handsome. This road joins my grandmother’s house, squatting in front of a forest of birch trees, to the speckle of shops that make up the village of Pojo. When I was a child I wrote to my grandmother on floral paper and learnt that Pojo doesn’t sound like pyjamas. The Swedish ‘J’ has a ‘Y’ sound that sits on my tongue like a spoonful of soup. There are other memories that fold in at the edges like silk. Memories of the sauna smell in the basement and the scent of the geraniums on the windowsill of her spare room where I camped on a mattress.

At a halfway point between home and the memories, I press myself into a squelchy pleather seat and sip a cup of tea. It burns the tip of my tongue and tastes mostly like the cardboard cup it came in. I am in a no-mans-land of brightly dressed air-hostesses and haggard travellers. I feel microscopic: a hexagon in the carpet pattern. I think about the horse’s mane tousled in the June breeze and the first time I rounded that one bend to see it just standing there, watching out.

It has been six years since my parents and I hauled our suitcases through a stuffy train station in Helsinki. This time I’m alone. I hug my backpack and feel fear and excitement tango in my stomach like old friends. I’m ready to join another queue and climb 30,000 feet into the air. Tomorrow we’ll visit the horse. I hope he’s expecting me.

Yours the persistent typist,

Laura

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