Julia arrives in August, on an afternoon that is warm and damp and thick with the smell of berries and pine hung low in a buzzing blue sky. Mosquitoes are fat and hysterical, moving in from the sunlit empty meadows to float in the shade, rising and hanging at the screened windows. They are hungry like a personal affront; it is some consolation to know they won’t survive the coming drop in temperature.
The car hired to bring Julia here is parked and clicking in the circular front driveway. The windshield is roughened with the yellow and black viscera of insects. The driver is quiet and polite. He had no trouble finding the hospital called Suvanto Sairaala, and he has parked at an angle, expecting to pull away again shortly. He is standing beside the car, waiting. But Julia sits in the backseat, anonymous in her dark fur coat, motionless even after the driver opens the doors and the trunk and begins stacking a set of brown leather suitcases and three silver paper hatboxes on the hospital steps.