It’s pouring. I’m hiding under the roof of the Wells Park bus stop and trying to keep warm, but it’s pretty hopeless. The rain’s gotten into my gloves and under my jacket. I can feel it trickling down my shins, can feel it start to soak into my underwear.
A guy with a waspsting yellow umbrella stops next to me.
«Hey,» he says. I squint at him. He’s got an adam’s apple about the size of his nose, and a chin that looks ashamed to be seen with them both.
«What?» The bus won’t be here for another ten minutes at least.
«It looks like it’s gonna turn.» He says it like he doesn’t quite believe it himself.
I blink up at him. «It’s not autumn for another month at least,» I tell him.
«That’s what I thought, too, but – you can see it, can’t you?» He nods at the rain. It’s still a bright greenish gold – more gold than green, this late in summer – but nowhere near the blood red and orange of autumn.
«It won’t turn,» I say. I hope I’m right. My designated autumn jacket is still packed up somewhere in the back of my closet. Autumn is always pretty shitty, but it’s especially shitty if it catches you unawares, if you have the wrong clothes on. That’s how you get the Creep. It winds its way in through your summer clothes and sticks to your skin, shoots its tendrils through your flesh and deep into your bones. Leaves you cold and infirm and completely hopeless all the way until late spring at least. Leaches the spirit right out of you. Ma got it once when I was a kid. She was never the same after.
«No?» the man with the yellow umbrella glances at me, and then back at the street. «I could have sworn – »
He stops mid-sentence. I don’t say anything to fill the silence. We stare into the downpour.
Slowly, the rain turns from golden to orange to vibrant, shining red.
Ingvild Boberg. 17. februar 1991. Ingvild har gått Norsk barnebokinstitutts forfatterutdanning. Hin er del av BokTorsdags redaksjon.