By Helena Pantsis
or, okay, I understand the implications of saying I stole her, as if she is an object, as if she is your property to be stolen, but now I fear I might've done just that—so maybe what I mean is when I saw her across the way, wandering down the aisles between the TÄRENDÖs and the LAGKAPTENs, the tension was palpable—I saw the MALMs glistening in the halos of her eyes—and maybe it was one-sided to begin, me standing across her in the kitchen, her eyeing a stray FULLÄNDAD in the LÅNGUDDEN, and I pictured us there together inside our home, staring between our BORGHILD curtains and readying to start the day, but when she reached for the same TRÅDFI as me I knew it was serendipity, or destiny, or the Swedish word for lovestruck and all things meant to be (FÅGELHUS?), so I asked her to the dining hall to share an ALLEMANSRÄTTEN in the cafeteria with me, where the queues are long and the trays are never full, so I could stare into her eyes and refill her endless cup for eternity—but it wasn't until her fourth refill (I don't know how many hours it'd been; time in IKEA exists in a void) that I noticed the wedding ring, that the notion of my perfect woman—not mine in the possessive context but in terms of subjective evaluation (not that she is an object to be evaluated, or that she exists to be perceived from any given gaze but her own)—as a married woman made itself solid and possible in the goo of my mind, still when I asked her about it she said she hadn't seen you since the DJUNGELSKOGs, which might've been hours ago, or months, or maybe years, and so perhaps you had ceased to exist, or had walked into a KLEPPSTAD and found your way into another world, but either way she was ready to move on—“it happens,” she said, and even though she shares my SONGESAND now, and makes love to me nightly, and looks so sweet standing by our LÅNGUDDEN in the mornings with a hot UPPHETTA ready for pouring, and after supper time when she clears the OFTASTs from the JOKKMOKK she smiles at me so lovingly, last week she noticed that the BORGHILD curtains were fading, so now I'm afraid of losing my wife in an IKEA too.
Helena Pantsis (she/they) is a writer and student from Australia's south-east majoring in Psychology and Creative Writing—more of their work can be found at hlnpnts.com.
Art by Jeff Kallet.