I remember very well that I wanted to not forget that moment. It was one of those times that you breathe in deep with all your senses and hold it as tight as you can in your mind. I think I even gripped the boards of the veranda and at one moment I wanted to hug Pia until her eyes popped out and I think Lina thought I was a bit crazy. This memory used to warm me on the long nights but now it gives me so little and the details that I dredge up seem like novelties more than anything.
Pia died that winter. I saw her again when I was sent to the cellar. Lina’s father sent me down to pick out some lefse (a norwegian pancake thing) from the freezer. Growing up in Malaysia I read a lot of English books and naturally had a conception of a cellar. Even though Malaysian homes had no cellars or attics I was well acquainted with what should exist in each of them, such is the one-way mirror of colonialism. Norwegian cellars are a bit different, lots of skis, plastic boards to slide down snowy hills, and even a contraption with a seat and a steering wheel for the same purpose; actually, the cellar was just full of things to slide down hills with. I tiptoed around because the floor was cold and wet and I found my way to the freezer. I lifted the door and there was Pia, flat as a lefse. I lifted her by the ear and all of her stayed straight. I grabbed the lefse from under her and put her back with a prayer. It was a good summer, it really was.