He’s a get-go person with nothing to do, yet Andaki is constantly doing. At 3 in the morning he moves from bed to couch with a unlit butt of a cigarette in hand. He passes through the small kitchen to pump a cup of coffee from the bottomlesss pot, dipping a finger into last nights meal. In the living room, he sets a beaded doily under his cup, leaning at the same time to prop the cigarrette carefully on the edge of a nearby ashtray. He turns the radio knob until a small lite glows in the room, though at this time of night the only broadcast is silence.

These are his rituals, and most mornings I sleep right through. Sometimes in my dozing I hear him shuffle a deck of cards, or fumble with his puffy blue coat by the door at the foot of the stairs. Sometimes doors are opening or closing, the thump of picking up binoculars or setting them down. I usually drift out again, knowing he is making some ideas about the weather, or going to the well for water, or just breathing in the icy air and peeing onto the rocks below.

Around six, the radio begins to chime a slow morning rythme, and he returns from his wanderings back to the couch, to the radio. He takes a cigarette between his rough fingers and dusts off the burnt tobacco from its tip. He is always leaning in too close, his sunburnt eye placing him a few inches away from things. Once lit, he can relax into the pillows on the couch.

It is a second bed, the couch. And like the rest of the house, it is always kept and clean. Sometimes it is covered by a black and pink striped cover that clashes with the red snowflaked curtains. Which usually does not go with the various tablecloths that are changed everyweek. The house takes on a strange mis-matched apearance of items that have lasted decades if not longer. Handwashing has preserved them, as it has preserved the sinewy muscles of his youth.

‘Sex, Trive, Nul, BEEP’ The radio is on air, and the weather forecast promptly begins. This is what the morning has been building towards. Andaki stops, and while he listens, he interprets the strange language. When a Storm is coming, he pinches his lips in, raising his oil black eyebrows he moves his arms like he is directing the wind. If it is cold and still, he dramaticly freezes, darting his eyes left and right above his round whiskered cheeks. I usually come downstairs to the second bed for this, giggling at his childlike humour. I think of him like a little seal from a disney cartoon, as he reaches over to squeeze my cheeks and kiss the fat under my chin.

If the weather is right, He starts a new pot of kafi and begins the long process of loading guns and adding on layers to go out over the ice and hunt. When the winds are too strong I can usually steal him under the covers for another hour. One hour, never longer. There is bread to bake, boats to haul over the ice, lamps to fix, and the heater will need more oil from the general store.

Andaki has broken and fixed nearly everything in the house, walked through every fjord. He is a remnant moving in patterns from a survivalist past, filling in the time that wellfare brings with smoldering cigarrettes in every room. And still he is always laughing, and playing his guitar that misses a string.

ANDA | 2007 | writings