Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Midnight Sun

Sophie was 36. Felix 28. They fell in love. Both of them! She wants Felix but marries skipper Vilhelm Dreyer. And  Felix? He was young and wanted to discover the planet. He wanted freedom. He became a journalist, travelling around the world. When he realized what happened she, his love-of-his-life, was married and mother of two kids.

For thirty years they wrote letters - in Norwegian - to each other. In 1941 the last letter was sent from Sophie Unger (1874-1962) to Felix Rutten (1882-1971). And more than 20 years later they died. She in Norway. He in Rome.

This weekend I read Adri Gorissen's book 'Een Noorse Liefde' (2012). Book in Dutch. Title in English 'A Norwegian Love'. I bought one book of 500 copies.

They met in Sittard (The Netherlands) in 1910. He taught her French. In return she taught him Norwegian. After a few months they met in Bergen (Norway). There they decided not to get engaged. She married someone else. And he started travelling. Writing letters and postcards to each other. They met five times:  February/ March 1910 in The Netherlands; August 1910 in Norway; 1912 in Norway; 1923 in Brugge (Belgium); 1928 in Norway. Both realizing that they made the wrong decision in 1910 and didn't consume their love-of-their-life. Didn't!

In this book her 29 letters and postcards to him are translated. There are no letters left from Felix to Sophie. She was his 'middernachtzon in mijn eenzaam leven' (English 'midnight sun in my lonely life'). Forever linked. A sun that cannot set down. Kissing and words redundant. 

A lovely book. Sad. Inspirational. Questions. Lots of questions - for him and her - that never will be answered. A love that is "lost" forever with the death of these two lovers. Melted like snow for the sun.

P.S. Felix was married between 1919-1929 to a Dutch woman. When his marriage came to an end he immediately planned a trip to Norway. Back to Sophie! In 1928 he wanted to meet Sophie for a second time but she asked him not to come. Her husband was jealous and Sophie wanted peace. They never met again - as far as we can tell from the sources we have.

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