The weekend goes by quicker than Ingerid had anticipated. She realises there were other reasons to why she had attended the workshop than what was understood at first glance. An immense gratitude for daring to take a leap of faith and journey into this unknown territory filled with new people, new thoughts and new activities, infuses every cell in her being. A feeling that makes itself apparent to all of the attendees especially at the last session when they’re asked to describe what they’re grateful for. Tears of joy and gratitude run down their cheeks until there’s nearly not a dry eye left in the room. Even Karoline, Kjetil and Sigvart are moved.
Love and gratitude. Two very powerful emotions which everyone in the group agrees to dedicate more space to in their daily lives. A group of strangers that didn’t know each other on Friday have during this weekend formed strong bonds which make them feel like they’ve known each other for years.
When Ingerid grabs hold of Per to wish him good luck on his road onwards, a particularly warm feeling arises in her belly. Per’s eyes softens as he throws his arms around her in a warm hug. He then grabs her shoulders, looks her deeply into the eyes as to touch the depth of her soul and says:
“We’ll keep in touch, Ingerid!”.
The words come out with an underlying mixture of promise and command. Ingerid smiles while two teardrops run down her naked cheeks.
“Yes”, she utters barely heard through the sobs.
He squeezes her tightly again and holds her until the crying stops. A calm feeling descends upon her as she leans her whole body into his, her head resting on his strong shoulder.
They remain in the same position for a long time. Probably five or ten minutes, which would normally be considered an outrages amount of time for one hug, but they don’t seem to care at the moment. They know that everyone around them appreciates the warm and loving silence. What anybody else thinks about their hug, whether they think it’s lasting too long or being too intimate, doesn’t really matter right now. What matters to both of them is the gratefulness they both feel in sharing this special moment with someone who understands and is open to sharing feelings without words or descriptions. With someone who is able to stand and hold the space for another in need until the wave of emotion have rushed in and left again with a peaceful warmth in its wake.
The trip over the mountains back to Bergen gives Ingerid a little breathing space to work through the experiences over the past weekend. The wind grabs hold of her motorcycle clothes and shakes her soul like a laundry machine. It reminds her of the meditation exercises where she constantly had to shake off the thoughts in order to refocus on the breath. Her senses seem to have become sharper during the course of the weekend. All of a sudden she appreciates more than ever the high mountains in the background and the beautiful wildflowers in the foreground that dares to grow forth in the most vulnerable of all places.
The Ducati glides steadily through the winding landscape. Effortlessly climbing up mountains and easing down valleys. When the bike reaches the summit of a mountain the magnificent landscape of “Jotunheimen” opens up with a 360 degree view. Ingerid takes her hand off the steering and raises her back to take in the full scope of what’s ahead. Breathtaking beauty is beaming at her from all angles. In the absence of her right hand on the throttle, the motorcycle slows down accompanied by the recognisable hissing sound from the exhaust pipe notifying her to take a break like a trusted companion. She sees a viewing spot just off the road and decides to stop. She climbs off the bike with her eyes fixed on the horizon. Just across the parking spot a huge rock stands out. It seems to be the perfect resting bench. She fetches an apple from her pocket which she grabbed on her way out of the lodge and eats it while enjoying the view and the silence.
But the inner peace doesn’t last long. A desire works its way up to the surface. A longing of wanting to share the experience with someone. How is she going to tell her friends about the experiences this weekend? Would they be able to understand? Were there any simple ways to explain it to them? Or maybe she should just keep it a secret? Would they recognise that something had changed? Had she changed? Or maybe she would just glide back into the same daily habits of days filled with lectures, studying and partying?
A shiver runs down her spine. Her old life all of a sudden seems so empty and unfulfilling. Meaningless.
She stares out into the open sky and to the mountaintops that peaks like soft waves on the horizon. Her gaze rests into the wide landscape like an all-seeing eye. Seeing everything and nothing at once.
But the silence doesn’t feel warm and open like it did in the lodge. It feels rather cold and stiff. A noticeably change in nuance.
Then thoughts bursts forward along with the truck she hears approaching from afar.
“What now? What will happen to the plans she had for her future? What is she going to do? Where is she going to go? What is going to become of her?”
The feeling of fear grows further as the truck grows closer and closer until a crescendo of black heavy diesel fog fills the air and forces her to take refuge at a higher ground.
When the darkness disappears and air settles, she returns to her bike. “All I know”, she says sighing, “is what I don’t want to do”.
She doesn’t want to study law anymore, and she doesn’t want to become a lawyer. And with an inexplicable sadness she gets back on the bike and speeds through the mountains to confront her life at Dragon Mountain in Bergen.
Ingerid walks with heavy footsteps towards the cantina to meet her friends. Sara and Silje are visible from far away. They sit nonchalantly nearly laying across the table, laughing and discussing with loud voices. The bright light from the large panoramic windows behind them nearly blinds her as she approaches. Even though she’s physically close to her friends, the distance between them feels uncomfortably far.
“How was the weekend workshop? Was it good? How did it feel to get to know “the loosers?”, Sara asks while giggling ironically and looking at Silje for support.
It’s obvious they’ve been talking about how silly they think the workshop seemed. Ingerid feels irritated by their prejudice and hurt by them talking behind her back. Without much thought she blurts out:
“It actually gave me a lot! You might think you know the answer to everything, but maybe you haven’t looked at yourselves much in order to know if you’re really doing as well as you think you are. I don’t believe the happy façade you’re trying to maintain at all times. It’s fake! You probably have a few ghosts in your closet too that you might not want to reveal! Or that you might not even be honest enough to even know of!”, Ingerid argues with a sharp tone hard enough to cut through steel.
The ambience quickly changes from sunny skies to thunderous clouds.
“Have you completely lost it?”, Sara replies and nods towards Silje as she gets up. They both give her a disgusted look over their right shoulder as they walk away from the table. Ingerid is left alone.
Surprised looks and harsh glances surround her from all angles like stabs of hostile malaise. Social borders have been crossed leading them to protect their territory with utmost ferocity, treating her like an outcast of the pack. Not a single person approaches her with sympathy or compassion. Not a single person gives her a friendly smile. Not a single person dares wants or knows how to react differently than the others, and she knows now that she’s alone. Utterly alone at a crossroad of unknown futures.
Ingerid grabs her bag and walks to the study hall. Tears well up from inside as her body boils over with emotions of anger, betrayal and shame. With a sunken face she walks towards the space she has partially claimed as hers throughout the whole semester. She takes one law-book after the other down from the shelf above the desk and drops it into her bag. They fall like heavy bricks on top of each other. She doesn’t bother to stack them neatly. She just wants to get away as soon as possible in order to avoid even more confrontations or dramatic humiliations.
Why couldn’t she just keep her mouth shut? Why did she have to provoke others to the extent of becoming an outcast? Why did she have to put herself in a position of being wrong as others thought they were right? Had she been exposed to a form of brainwashing that she wasn’t even aware of? Maybe something was wrong with her after all?
Shameful and embarrassed she leaves Dragon Mountain as if she had been stoned and tortured. Confused and lonely she knows of only one safe haven to go. Her own little apartment which awaits her like a mother with open arms. She hurries in, closes the door and throws herself on the bed filled with soft pillows ready to receive her cries and muffle them into silence.
… to be continued…