“Hallå. Kan jag hjälpa dig?”
Sep’s mother stared back at the swedish speaking IKEA employee. Her perfectly combed hair, lightly lip-glossed lips and muted blue sweater, summed up everything about her: she was completely and utterly normal.
Sep grinned at his brother, Jonathan, from behind her back. His family had been here for three days now. They always visited right after Christmas, when the bustle of the season had quieted down. This year, being it was his first year owning his own apartment, Sep got to host.
He and Jonathan had been cracking up practically the entire time. From their parent’s reactions to the miscellaneous ice skates at the pond, and the abandoned building across towns, to this-the bafflement at the foreign IKEA cashiers.
“We’ll take these.” Sep said, keeping the laugh out his voice as he moved through the checkout. He would’ve thought he would be more nervous with his parents coming but he wasn’t, it was his apartment, his town. His town. He liked that. It finally felt like his place. He gotten used to the strange sights in the streets, and besides, he felt home enough now that he had friends: Leek, some of the people from his building.
“Adjö!” Sep called to the woman as they walked out.
“Adjö!” Jonathan chorused with him.
Their parents were silent.
It had been enough for them that their son was living in a strange town, but now he was speaking a foreign language?
Sep could see his mother shaking her head slightly, but he knew she’d come around to it eventually, she always did. He wasn’t worried.
They were silent for a little while on the walk back, but it was a nice silence. The kind that made Sep appreciate the way the trees looked in the soft streetlamp lamp, and how his parents walked close to each other, their arms gently bumping.
When the reached the empty basketball court, the very one and same that Sep played at every tuesday, he saw a basketball, probably abandoned by some kid, sitting in the bushes.
“Hey Dad? Mom? What do you think-can Jonathan and I still take you down?” That got his parents smiling. After a few casual banters, the teams (Mom/Dad and Jonathan/Sep) stood ready.“Home team starts of,” Sep said. And so they played.