my work would keep me in stockholm for the next 7 months. i sent word ahead that my only requirements for a living space were that it be immaculately clean, totally quiet and within walking distance of the studio. a flurry of worried emails littered my inbox regarding the impossibility of fulfilling my request since all the best hotels were on the opposite end of the city. my terse response was a copy/paste of the original post. i subsequently automatically deleted any emails regarding the subject as i was too busy to give it any more thought.
3 weeks later when i arrived in stockholm i was met by a small dark man in an ill-fitting black suit and a chauffeur cap holding up a placard with my misspelled name. he loaded my bag and we traveled in silence as i concerned myself with answering all the emails that had piled up since i'd stepped onto the plane. as the car rolled to a stop in front of the studio, i knit my brows and tilted my head as a question. 'you're over there across the street on the top floor. they found you a spot in the graduate student housing.', he answered directly. i gave him a tip, thanked him, extended the handle on my bag and rolled it behind me toward what looked like an abandoned flour mill. as i passed through the glass doors into the cavernous space, i became aware of the sound my leather soles made on the worn, silky smooth cement floor. sssss-clip, sssss-clip. it made my ears feel relaxed and i let my eyes wander over the beautiful decay left by the flour industry. giant stainless steel vats, the still rollers of gravity conveyer belts winding through the space like a massive sleeping python and the walls of small paned windows three stories high flooding the details of the factory with golden hour light. by the time i'd closed myself into the freight elevator, i felt myself smiling.
when i stepped out onto the top floor, i saw a row of louvered doors. here and there they would open or shut as some preoccupied grad student shuffled through. 'perfect,' i thought,' everyone is as busy as me.' i walked down the row until i found my room. a bed, a closet, small desk, sink to brush my teeth and a key to my personal toilet/shower directly across the hall.
i unpacked my things and headed over to the studio.