My last name in Swedish is like Smith. So incredibly common that it’s nearly a joke. I think like ten per cent of all Swedes carry my last name. Yet here, in England, it’s quite uncommon. When you run into another with that name, it’s almost something to celebrate.

Today was the first day back at school. Summer is over for this time, and since I haven’t actually done that much, it feels like I haven’t had much of a summer at all. Yet, I’m glad to be back in the normal student routine, except for when I met someone with my last name.

My debit card is brimming with extra cash now. Not only what dad put into the account, but also the salary from the work I’ve done. I decided to enjoy a little bit of luxury and took this other guy to one of the restaurants for lunch. Since we were working on a joint project, we could fill the notebooks over a nice meal.

Except, of course, we weren’t allowed in. We didn’t wear tie and suit, but rather scruffy jeans and T-shirts. The other guy had a beard too, so he looked like a Mark Zuckerberg that had gone Jihadist. The curse of the literature student, everybody wants to look like Che Guevara or Fidel. I suppose the beard adds a certain gravitas that our nineteen years on this earth denies us. Maybe I should grow one? Mark would divorce me, though.

This year is dedicated to research, but it’s not as free as that. I’m not allowed to dig into whatever I want. I have my constraints, and that’s annoying. However, the constraints are useful as they allow me to browse something useful. If I’m going to study literature history of the 18th and 19th century, then I have to research earlier times. I have started with John Skelton. Not the most inspiring poet, but I suppose it will do until I get to John Donne and Milton.

This year I’m going to do a lot of browsing. I have tonnes of lectures ahead. It will at least allow me to bury my nose in a book, and not take part in the immature drama that seem to swirl around me in this year of mine. Which the guy with my name shared, because his preoccupation seems not to be so much on studies as on one particular girl. Sigh.

We did find a lunch place, and we did write notes, but most of all we just talked to get to know each other. Which means that he talked most of the time, and I sat with my mental notebook. Maybe I’ll put him in one of my books.

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