Fly Away Home
A memoir about the ups and downs in life and the back and forth travels of a multicultural family.


This is a preview to the chapter MY HErO from the book Fly Away Home by Maggie Myklebust.
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The natural attraction between Harry and I made everything easy, I didn’t have to think, I just knew, we were smitten. I felt totally at ease around him. I couldn’t understand everything he said to the other kids, but it wasn’t hard to tell by the tone of his voice and the way he was received, that everyone liked him. His English skills were limited, but he was curious and a quick learner. He had an unspoken confidence and a strapping, athletic physique to match, which only added to the charm of his quiet and gentle nature.

Everyone was happy Ellen and I were back, and that made it easy to pick up right where we left off the summer before. The only difference was this time we were staying at Laila’s house, where Laila’s mother had other guests, a small child and another one on the way, not giving her much time to keep tabs on us. Mormor couldn’t keep track of us either, because we weren’t staying with her and she had her hands full with her own guests. As planned, Ellen, Laila and I all slept out in a tent and no matter how cold it was when we went to bed, it didn’t take long before we were toasty warm under our thick down comforters, laughing and talking over the day’s events.

Being one year older, we started pushing the limits of our innocence. The boys had set up tents on the other side of the fjord and most nights, if it wasn’t raining, they would come and get us. In the twilight, after the wind died and the sun had reached its lowest point, we’d set out. I can still remember sitting in that old wooden row boat, amazed by the teasing glow of the summer sun as it lay on the horizon, looking as if it were about to set and knowing it wouldn’t. The only sound came from the oars as they plunged in and out of the water, while the smell of salt hung heavy in the misty air. Gripped by giddy feelings of anticipation, we’d make our way across the fjord.

Being held close by a boy, smelling his clean, musky, male scent was exciting and confusing. Yet we never crossed any forbidden lines. The nights were short, but the stolen kisses in those few hours made the whole excursion more than worth it. Before the sun had a chance to claim the new day, we’d head back to our own tent on the other side of the fjord.

The weeks ticked by frighteningly fast and one day Laila’s uncle Arne came to Ellen and me and announced they had decided to cut their trip short. The weather was something you could never, ever, count on in Norway and that summer was worse than usual. It rained almost everyday and each time the sun came out it was accompanied by a cold northern wind. He wondered whether we were interested in going back to the States with them. We politely let him know that leaving Norway three weeks before we had to was out of the question. After all, a little bad weather never hurt anyone.

It wasn’t long after they left that the weather began to change and one particular day in August, we woke up to a genuine summer day. The cloud free sky was the bluest of blues, the sun shone without interference and a warm light breeze blew in from the south. The usual gang met up at Harry’s boathouse and I’m not sure whose idea it was, but somehow we came up with a plan to go into Egersund for ice cream. It was impossible for us to row all the way that was a trip too far even for Harry. We could have taken the bus from the island into town, but that would have been much too easy. Instead, we decided to pay tribute to the fine weather and walk, all the way to Egersund. We’d cross the fjord by boat, walk through the mountains and follow the railroad tracks the rest of the way.
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"Very touching life story that comes full circle! A great read for anyone who has lived abroad. Couldn't put the..."

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