Why, Daddy?


Why, Daddy?

Dot on time, the father reached at the mutually agreed spot (with the mother of his child) at the tram stop to collect his daughter, from the mother of his daughter. The mother mechanically greeted the father of his daughter, and lovingly bade bye to her girl.

The mother and daughter will not see each for the next seven continuous days, come what may.

The father and daughter boarded Tram 11 at Hinsholmen. At Kungsten, the daughter said, “I want to pee, Daddy.”

“Can you wait for two more stops, Princess?”

The daughter smiled: “I can, Daddy.”

At Mariaplan, they got down. The father knows a restroom the size of a sausage-selling kiosk painted in green by the swimming pool.  He was born and raised in the area. He is not a man reined by nostalgia: he is a man who looks to tomorrow.

Nostalgia is a cholera of the human mind: gnaws away the present and robs to think of the future.

They boarded the Tram 11 again, alighted at Brunnsparken, and found their way to the Avenyn the Avenue des Champs-Élysées of Gothenburg.

“Why so many people, Daddy?”

“Saturday, Princess.”

“No, Daddy. When I was here with mamma it was quiet.”

“Something is happening.”

The father knew what was happening in the city but he was reluctant to talk about it. After they have walked for eleven minutes in the direction of City’s Art Museum, the girl said, “I am hungry, Daddy.”

“What shall we eat, Princess? And, where?”

“I know you don’t like it, Daddy, but … with you today,” the daughter cheerfully confessed as they stopped by McDonald’s. They bought a meal for each and indulged themselves with a milkshake.

The presence of people everywhere on the road and in the side streets was unmissably noticeable. Slogans echoed in the air: inga nazister på våra gator. Few held flags to affirm their right to freedoms of social, and political, and sexual orientation.

“What is happening, Daddy? I’m scared, Daddy.”

“I’m here, Princess.”

“What is happening, Daddy?”

“They’re protesting.”

“Against whom, Daddy?”

“Against those.”

“Who those, Daddy?”

“A small group marching on the other side,” the father said without referring to the Nordic Nationalist Front.

“Who they, Daddy?”

“They. They say … They say they …”

“Who they, Daddy?”

The helicopter hovered in the air. Lingering. Police on horses were heading in the direction of World Trade Centre and Gothia Towers and the pedestrians were also marching towards that side.

“A group says this land is only for them. Another group says this land is not only for them but also for others.”

“Who are we, Daddy?”

“We’re … People.”

“They dislike us, Daddy?”

“Not really. But …”

“Why, Daddy?”

“Human beings, Princess. We get drifted away from the main road of life.”

“What is drifted, Daddy?”

“We lose track of life.”

“What is track of life, Daddy?”

“Instead of focussing on what is important to us, we focus on how to … how to hurt others. Human beings easily find ways to hurt another human being even if they have a choice not to hurt others.”

“How, Daddy?”

“They say you are that, you are this, you are like this, you look like this, you are different, you come from there, you can go there why here, you are … so many ways we have found to separate us from one another.”

“Aren’t we one, Daddy? You, mamma, I, Sofia, Emmanuel, Emily…”

“We’re, Princess,” the father stressed as they reached the junction of Gothia Towers. There are more people streaming in from different directions but assembling at the junction of Korsvägen.

“I’m scared, Daddy.”

“Let me lift you up, Princess.”

The father took his daughter on to his shoulders, and made her to dangle her legs on either side of his chest. He increased the pace of his walk in the direction of Mölndal as the public transport was suspended. He has never seen Gothenburg in this state: police on the streets, police on horseback, protestors and anti-protestors, liberals and illiberals, road blocks, protestors and counter-protestors, and helicopters above.

“I missed you, Daddy,” the daughter said as she felt secure on the shoulders of her father and noticed fewer and fewer people in their direction.

The father kissed a dangling foot of his daughter, and felt the moist pooh of horse.

—Lucinda Palme