Me and the Graaf Sisters

graaf_35397When I was 16 or 17, my parents took me and my twin sister on what was supposed to be the last family vacation, since children of that age and younger could still travel with their parents at a reduced price. The destination were the two Greek islands of Santorini and Naxos. This was a time when I had begun to realize certain things about myself and my family, and I suppose I wasn’t in the most secure mindset, but I still wasn’t prepared for the sudden onset of severe anxiety when stepping into the bus that would take us from Santorini proper down to the beach from where the ferries to Naxos departed. The road, a dusty old serpent, was only loosely attached to the steep volcanic wall, and I instantly felt it would be my last bus ride.

Finland carried a heavy burden during the last glacial period. Its once proud mountains were more or less flattened under the weight of the ice. Therefore, in present-day Finland, driving is a rather horizontal activity and it hadn’t occurred to me that in rockier parts of the world, driving can be very vertical. I had never been afraid of heights, but the mere thought of sitting in a car controlled by somebody else near the edge of a cliff was torture. That bus was a death trap.

Then I saw the Graaf sisters step into the very same bus, and suddenly I was no longer afraid.

The Graaf sisters were a pop phenomenon in Sweden during the late 90′s. As far as I understand now, they were symbols of a certain type of mainstream male sexual fantasy, and although they were most certainly suffering as much as they were gaining from that simplistic, male-oriented view of their personas, I think it’s fair to say that the impact of their musical oeuvre is negligible compared to the cultural impact of their appearance. This was at their height of their powers and I was astonished to see that they were on the same Greek island.

They were sex symbols for me as well, but at that particular moment, they also symbolized something else. In a way, they made me immortal. I felt that if I go down, they go down with me. To this day, I can’t explain this, but I suppose I knew that if the bus driver lost control over the vehicle and we all crashed to our deaths, then the incident would at least be reported in the tabloids. If God took me and my family, he’d also have to take the Graaf sisters, and that would cause something of a stir. Maybe there even was some faulty logic working here – it didn’t seem as likely that we’d crash, now that we had celebrities on board.

The Graaf sisters were also on the ferry to Naxos, and later, on the same beach as we were. I knew I was not in danger any more, since Naxos is comparatively flat, yet it was inexplicably comforting to see them there, my guardian angels.

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