This is the sort of evening where Stockholm flirts with me. I’ve spent too long with colleagues I seldom speak to, talking about things we never talk about during work hours. It’s so entertaining, I lose track of time, and suddenly it’s too late, I’m missing my train, and I may as well wait. A few colleagues invite me out to a pub, but I’m just short of time; going there would mean I’d miss even the next train.

Leaving the office, the air is wet but remarkably warm for late April. I could take off my jacket, but I know that would be an invitation to Thor. In the alley, I witness a short but intense gang-fight. At first I can’t tell the combatants apart (these people look the same to me in the gray dusk), but eventually I get clear sight of one of them: It’s a fox. So close to the city. I clap my hands and shout, and he runs off, leaving the cat alone to lick its wounds in the bushes.

Walking on, here it smells like pipe tobacco. Not a person in sight, just grey concrete, but the scent is unmistakable. When is the last time I smoked tobacco in a pipe? Ten years? Fifteen years? Some habits leave a trail that you can never run from. Stockholm is more than flirting with me, it’s kissing me hard and grabbing my crotch. Every vista, every beetle, every shout heard around a corner, reminds me why I live here.