The Swedish Girl

It was tuesday, new people always come on tuesdays. A sea of people, pale and overweight were waddling off the purple and lime green striped busses and worrying about their luggage. Brown skinned hotel staff in off white uniforms were briskly ushering the new arrivals from the stone entrance into the hotel and sitting down with them at low tables filled with elaborate drinks and handing them brochures and inviting them to a presentation about buying into the time share scheme. The occasional soaking wet child wrapped in a towel ran through the crowd, pushing past the swollen hips and overdressed legs of the new arrivals as if they were not even there. Others who had been here for almost a week, sun burned and undressed approached, needing to enter the hotel, but paused at the sight of this crowd, and retreated into the side paths and walkways which lead around the hotel. It was easy enough to find another way into the hotel.

The rose and orange watercolor of the day’s end was dancing on the inside wall of the hotel lobby. Everything goes gold at twilight, and on days when people are not arriving, the energy shifts from frantic play and hurried guests trying to get a taxi, or change money in order to make their boat, or meet a swiftly approaching reservation. However hot the evening is in Latin America, we wear long pants, and clean shirts and comb our hair for dinner.

I saw her standing calmly in front of the window. She and her sister were watching the sea of people coming and going, waiting for an opportunity to pass through the main entrance and head out into the night. Neither one of them were tall, but they had the air of height, and elegance. Her hair was blonde, and beautifully twisted and pulled back into a clip at the back of her head. She wore almost all white, and had a gentle tan. Her cheekbones were high, as were her sister’s, and their eyes calmly blazed out of their faces in a different language.

Time stopped for a moment, as it always does when I see someone I feel I am related to. We who look like we are from another time, or a distant place which no longer exists. The modern world with it’s stretched and inflated people talking too loud about things that mean nothing, laughing only when they are drunk, breathing through their mouths, and resonating their voices exclusively through their septums, imitating their parents long after they are dead, is no place for us. We can see one another through walls, we hear our heart’s beating in the dark at night. I noted to myself that these two girls were certainly a refreshing sight, and most likely Swedish, or perhaps Norwegian. The first girl’s sister was darker, her hair pulled smoothly back over her head, revealing the same high cheekbones, and heavily lidded eyes. The light danced around them, and gold and silver sparkles seemed to linger in the beams of the setting sun about them, creating a forcefield to protect them from the melee of the lobby.

I exited the hotel, smiling because I had seen them. Because I had seen her. It is always encouraging to find your people, even if they don’t see you.

I walked the short road in the dark to the restaurant and did my shopping. The faces around me were blank and ordinary, doing what needed to be done. I gave the little boy who bagged my groceries five pesos and collected my bags and walked out into the indoor promenade. Children were leaping from the top of the bouncy castle, doing courageous belly flops onto the ground. Parents were talking to one another, shopping for sandals, replacement bathing suits, and standing in line at Mac Donald’s. I sat down under one of the umbrellas open indoors at each table at the center of the promenade and wondered what happened to the designer of this indoor area. Had they died of bad luck? What would possess someone to create the false sense of outdoors in a Mexican shopping mall, and why would we need protection from a sun which doesn’t exist? I was smiling to myself about the vague irony of this when I noticed the Swedish girl sitting at the table right next to me. My heart leapt for a moment, the kismet of coincidence is never lost on me, and while I may be superstitious, I assign meaning to things which recur, and present themselves to me without my participation. I suppose it’s fair to say the cynical thing here: You see what you want to see. Many people have said that to me, yet, I strive to be in the moment. I seek the present tense, and want only to be available to the cosmic symbolism of God. Besides, you can’t manifest physical objects, or human beings. God uses them for translation when the subtle hints of the corners of our eyes isn’t enough.

“Hello.” I said with a smile.

“Hello.” Said a voice slightly too quiet to make out the accent. Her face bloomed into a generous smile, and her eyes sparkled slightly.

“Where are you from?” I asked. I hate that question.


“Ah…” I said feeling the leading of the stained glass begin to give way a little. “I saw you in the hotel lobby, and I thought that you were Swedish, or maybe Norwegian.”


“Yes. You and your sister are so different from the other people here. You have such beautiful faces. I noticed you both right away.”

“Thank you.” She said, as the light began to flicker out of her eyes.

I stood up and smiled, offering “Have a wonderful stay.” When someone begins looking over your shoulder, its a sign they are a little uncomfortable. People don’t tell each other they think they are beautiful. We keep our hands to ourselves and our mouths shut for the most part. I can understand how my visceral connection may only be my own, and while we may or may not both speak the same language, it means nothing, and there is nothing between us but the underground river of our souls. Perhaps we danced together in heaven, or maybe she brought me water two thousand years ago, or perhaps she was once the queen of Gondwanaland, and I was her foot soldier. It doesn’t matter now, not here in this indoor shopping mall in Nayarit, Mexico.


  1. fiction? bah, you got me.

  2. fiction? bah, you got me.

    well… maybe you got me

  3. sam solid:

    so, how did you end up snapping a picture of this girl (if that is indeed her)?

    am i too assume that the story goes on?

  4. am i too assume that the story goes on?

    Well if I take your meaning correctly, no. That’s the end.

  5. jenni:

    it’s the Swedish part that’s fiction.

  6. The whole thing is fiction.

    Yes, it happened. But I wrote it as fiction. Describing the internal dialog from the first person’s perspective. I might have easily written this from the Swedish girl’s perspective.

    Perhaps I will.

  7. jenni:

    i was trying to be funny.

  8. i was trying to be funny.

    Jenni, I’d say you did a very good job.

  9. Ivana:

    hey, it’s the swedish girl! i am really her! man, this paper is honestly embelished! that moment in paradise plaza was magical for me too.

  10. hey, it’s the swedish girl! i am really her! man, this paper is honestly embelished! that moment in paradise plaza was magical for me too.

    Wow! You found me.

    I hope you liked the fictionette, and glad you passed by to read it.