Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I love windowsills, especially if there’s a view, most especially if there’s a view of the ocean. Even if it’s the Baltic.

    She asked me to come and hang out for a while; she said it would be good for me to get away from the city. ”Come see me work, watch some of the movies; how about Persona, I think you’d like that one,” she said. Well, I do, and I don’t. Bergman can be challenging, dark, split. Much like this island, the place where he lived, filmed, and died. A flat and rocky place, a sliced heart on a plate. Stony beaches, crooked trees, silence, silence. Waves of silence.

    And his house; the Master’s desk, his bed, his favourite chair, his library, the writing on the walls and doors, and on the nightstand. Color me impressed, by all means, ‘men jag drömmer inte om att sitta i Mästarens knä’ – I admire his wives so much more.

    “You’re a bit challenging yourself, you know,” she says, smiling. I know. It’s my prerogative, I guess. “Ok, ok, Persona, Elisabeth Vogler, bring her on,” I say.

    * * *

    Later, I tell her I think he presents women in a stereotypical way, and she frowns, says I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m still entitled to an opinion. There must be more to us, I think, something other than the innocent or the bad girl, the mother, the witch; there must be something beyond the biological aspect. But His Masters Voice is inviolable, I must not forget, I may not sit in his house and be opinionated. Fair enough, I’ll go outside.

    The shards of glass left on the beach cut my feet, and when I return, bleeding, she says: “Why would you walk barefoot this time of year, anyway?” I explain that I like to feel the rough stone against the soft soles of my feet, it grounds me, makes me feel present. She thinks I’m strange.

    She once said I reminded her of herself as a young woman. I didn’t know how to accept that statement, it was handed to me across the table and I realized it was intended as a gift, but everyone heard, and I have never been good at receiving gifts in public. Besides, I don’t think I look at all like her.

    Now she tells me I’m inaccessible. “It’s not an altogether attractive feature,” she says.

    In real life it’s those who speak up that tend to get the most attention, the quiet ones pass unnoticed until they cause deep damage. I imagine her narrating my life story back to me, while the camera focuses tightly on my face. She could do that convincingly, she’s that good. Or we could reverse the roles and have me narrate her life story, I bet that would make her talk back; I would colour in the empty spaces and drive her crazy. She would cry out: “I’m not you. I don’t feel like you. I’m not Elisabeth Vogler; you are Elisabeth Vogler. I’m just here to help you!” And the images would merge into each other; the split faces would become one face, the nurse’s voice would become the mute patient’s voice and it would be a desperate one.

    * * *

    She wraps a shawl around me and grabs my hand. “Come,” she says, “let’s get some air."

    We walk along the beach, slowly, and she sighs. "You must allow me to help you," she says. "You must not think of me as someone who's superior to you. We must see each other as two anxious children." I look at the ocean, I look at her, her face blends into the white sky and her voice bleeds into the grey ocean.

    I look around for Bergman and the camera crew.
    • Share

    Connected stories:

About

Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.