The Impala’s interior was clean and breezy. It smelled nice and in the rear window stood a lit Pink Panther, which really was a shampoo bottle he’d put two lights in and screwed to the board, but what now? There was a bag on the passenger seat? A grocery bag with two bottles of Champis (soda) and that homemade bread with spicy ham that he liked. The girl’s mother was a Bäckman. Bäckmans don’t speak in empty phrases or pretend to do anything. They don’t screw around. They are righteous people, speak frankly but have a heart of gold. The lady who put the bag on my seat would later become my mother-in-law, but he didn’t know that, but the beautiful girl in the basement already knew the boy was a true Bäckman.
In Älandsbro stood an old man in his thirties and hitch-hiked in the dark. Long hair, jeans jacket and a backpack. I pulled over.
-Hi how are you, I’m Brad from the United States.
Time stopped. I just gazed. A real American! I had only met two of them before!
-Well – step in – in – into – in my car – or what you say.
He was a student from Washington D.C. and had this dream about hitch-hiking to Nordkap. I offered him Champis but he declined. I told him about my road map of USA that I have ordered from the American Embassy since the school library didn’t have one. It was blue and silver in the front just as the landscape outside. We were heading north on deserted roads and I opened another Champis while he took me on a journey to the land of dreams.
I was going to Ullånger but drove him another 6 miles to the night open trucker café in Docksta. I didn’t want this wonderful night to end.
– Thanks and take it easy with the booze, he said as he closed the door.
Booze?? I looked at the bottle. Whiskey brown content and a label that had grapes and a text that said something with Champagne. The American had thought he’s seen the Swede drink more than 16 ounces of liquor while he drove.
Turned around and drove south again. The morning had arrived and now it was unavoidable. The magic weekend and its magic spell was passing. Amazons and V4:s was zooming in oncoming traffic as well as BMW 2002, K70 and those SAAB 99. Some cars had morning frost on the windshield.
The Impala from 1970 was warm and cozy after the night. The only eight year old car had run 80.000 miles. Everything worked. No clank, no rattle and the stereo had a booster on entire 15 watts. The twenty-year-old behind the wheel was broke but king.
Got home around six. Work started at seven. Mom had prepared my lunch and left it on the kitchen counter. Lemonade, milk and folded pancakes in a recycled baggie from Järrendal’s bakery in Kramfors.
The sun had risen. Took a seat in the garden furniture and leaned my head against my shoulder. The collar smelled of perfume. Her perfume. She was still sleeping in her bed and I was with her, sloped down in my collar.
A car honked. The working team. I climbed into the back seat on a danged up Volvo 145.
– Today’s youth, said the fifty-year-old driver. Sitting around sleeping in the garden. I bet you slept through the whole weekend.
-Mm, I anwsered.