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I looked at the rays of sun on the walls in my living room. They were beautiful, golden and warm even though it was late September. I ought to go out and make some pictures in the city, I thought, grabbed my phone and jacket, ran down the stairs and started to walk around in the streets. 

It was Saturday and Copenhagen was full of people enjoying the sun. The atmosphere was lovely. Because the sun is such a rare guest in Copenhagen, people make sure to appreciate it when it’s there. I walked among the pictures of my mind as a double exposure landscape between the houses when I was captured.

Darkness instantly poured over me. I was lifted some inches above the ground.

“Be still. Listen and remember: you have work to do.”

Eventually everything around me became brighter and glittered strangely with a soft cloudy quality. What was going on? I couldn’t touch the ground and at the same time I was in the middle of Copenhagen. People passed by and buildings were clear to me, but it was as if I had become invisible. Was I going to die now?

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

“No, but it may seem so for a short time while you experience the explosion. You need to be transformed to fulfil your mission here on Earth. Don’t worry, we will provide the advice needed.”

An explosion? No, no, no, I don’t want an explosion. I like peace. I’m not the explosive kind of person.

“Much on this planet can be confusing. Not everything makes sense. Accept that. Don’t try to add meaning to the meaningless.”

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

Standing in front of the old University building in the center of Copenhagen, the shadows still shone with an enchanted light when the voice disappeared. I sat down at one of the stone steps in front of the main entrance. Across the square two men in suits talked and pointed at the church. A small girl and a woman walked hand in hand eating ice creams. A young woman sunbathed on a bench. Other people sat on the steps behind me, smoking, drinking coffee and reading in the late summer sun. The atmosphere was lazy and calm. I tried to understand what had just taken place…

I couldn’t.

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

In the following days I started to doubt my experience. It seemed more and more unreal. At the same time I felt scared of being transformed and sometimes lost as if the world was too big for me. When that happened I walked. Walked and walked for hours, and focused on details so as not to become overwhelmed. Beauty for sure was in the detail: the sound of waves by the sea, the smell of rain, for example, and the way the sunlight changed colors in the late afternoon.

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

A week after the voice contacted me, a map appeared on the palms of my hands. It was early in the morning and I was in the process of deciding which of my almost identical black skirts to wear when it became visible.

I folded my fingers and saw how a pattern developed. The pattern turned into a picture, and the picture into a movie. I recognised myself walking around unaware in my own hands. I was hypnotized. Looking closely I understood that I was protected and shouldn’t fear.

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

I grabbed a random skirt, put it on, held my breath and listened in order to hear if the voice from the other day had any additional comments…

Nothing! 

Kind of disappointed, I began vacuuming my apartment. 

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

After that I paid extra attention to my hands, but of course there was nothing to see out of the ordinary. 

Was it my imagination? The experiences with the voice and the pictures in my hands were both very surreal, yes, but at the same time persuasive. I was confused and ambivalent. I feared them, and I was attracted. Even though it might seem weird: they had implemented a certain feeling in me. A feeling I couldn’t get rid of. I felt sure I was going to be transformed along with my life. It would be a dangerous process, but I would be protected. 

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

I was in a constant nearly-nervous state no matter how much I walked or met with friends or tried to calm myself down. Despite the nervousness, my energy was upbeat. I did a lot of work and that was good. And meeting with friends in the lovely weather was a true joy. 

An evening drinking wine and talking with my best friend after a movie I considered telling her. We sat outside on a café by one of the ponds. It was dark and I really felt like sharing my experiences as if I could make them either vanish or become more ordinary by talking about them. 

I didn’t tell her. I started to, but stopped in the middle of a sentence when I saw the expression on her face. Big mistake, I instantly realized. The whole thing was too mysterious. And moreover, I wasn’t able to explain, nor to describe, in a way that was as compelling as I had sensed it.

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

On my way home later the same evening it started to rain. Wonderful, relieving drops blurred my sight. I ran, jumped, danced. 

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

As if the rain was still there I couldn’t see far for many days. That didn’t scare me, I was convinced my sight eventually would be back. I knew it was a sign: the day of the explosion was approaching. I tried to be patient, do what was necessary, and what I considered normal. 

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

When the day came I prepared myself: up early, shower, coffee, soft shoes, warm clothes. At six o’clock I walked out. The morning was freezing dark and the city sleeping. The winter arrived early from one day to the next that year. A thin layer of ice covered the big ponds in Copenhagen. The city council kept one end of one pond open for the ducks. They were asleep when I passed them. From time to time a car engine split the silence, then it closed again. Here and there I saw lights in windows, but most of them were covered by darkness. 

I walked fast to stay warm and to make any reminiscence of nervousness subside. As usual, it helped to walk fast. At one point I felt totally calm – and overwhelmingly scared. 

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

And then it happened: the explosion.

It’s kind of complicated to describe. I was thrown through space and it was beautiful: pure melting light and dancing colors in all directions. Transparent forms changed shapes continuously. I also heard a sharp metallic sound that felt soothing and mild. It stayed with me for a long time. I was flying. I remember smiling, stretching and reaching before I blacked out.

I woke up a second later in a hospital. Or to be exact: seven hours and thirteen minuts later. I was dizzy, but I instantly knew I was blessed: my level of energy and joy was way too high for a smashed person. Of course I was in pain. But what can you expect? It didn’t worry me. 

The next morning I tried to stand up. After a while I gained balance. As soon as I could walk without holding on to anything, I thanked the doctors and said goodbye. They looked at me with a mixture of concern and amazement… Subsequently, they agreed to send me home. 

Strangely transformed but recognizable, the world felt confusing and different. So did my body. I started to navigate. I found the right door, put my hand on the handle and saw how it opened. I stood still for a moment. Then I went through. I had work to do.

A Copenhagen Tale @titika.ink

To read more by Titika Røtkjær, see “Tango”, “Newcastle Noir” and “Concerning Life and Light…”

Or visit Titika on Instagram.