Stepping into the brightly lit hallway of the barracks was almost like stepping into another world, entirely separate from Lundby. The white soulless light was depressing in its intensity, and the stuffy air, scented by the freshly cut spruce panels that covered most of the interior walls, only added to the clinical ambiance of the place.
The empty silence that seemed to have penetrated right into the woodwork was bordering on spooky, and once again he had a start seeing his reflexion in the window as he entered his room. He turned on the TV, only to have images of bombed out houses in a far away land tossed at him, and he turned it off again immediately, drawing the curtains instead and getting ready for bed. And coming back from a short visit to the bathroom, he felt a great relief as he crept into bed.
Bjorn turned off the light and closed his eyes determined not to have his sudden spell of anxiety ruin the evening which had been so full of pleasant and interesting little events. And to his relief, the anxiety soon left him. He was once again among people in Lundby, with Aung advising him on Nora's menu, Ante smiling from ear to ear, and Frank showing off.
Every little detail of his night out came flashing back to him as he slept lightly but contently well into the morning, and had it not been for an uncomfortable dream during his final slumber, his rest would have had him wake up full of energy and hope for the day. But his final dream spoiled it for him, making him once again wake up with an ugly feeling that he was in fact lost, and hopelessly so.
This time it was his two children who appeared out of nowhere in his room, asking him why he wasn't at home.
"Why are you here?" they asked.
"Well, I'm on an important mission," Bjorn explained to them.
"To do what?"
"To find out about this place," Bjorn explained, feeling pleased with himself that he had such a ready answer to the question that had left him speechless so many times before.
"But we are missing you," his daughter said, at the verge of crying.
"I miss you too," Bjorn said, and he felt an intense sense of longing as he said this.
"So why don't you do it?" his little boy asked.
"It... Do it for us!" his daughter said with a tear rolling down her cheek.
And Bjorn was again lost for words. He was missing something essential. And he had no idea what it was. He asked them again what it was that he should do, but they were fading away as he spoke, and he woke up with a start feeling both hung over and anxious, and desperate to get out of bed.