Standard Issue writers are penning a letter to their hometown. Brace yourself Søndersø: Sofie Hagen has something to confess.
Inside the hill behind the parking lot, by Carlsvej, behind TøjManden, opposite the tiny yellow houses in Elderkjær, in which the elderly live, I buried three decapitated and mutilated Barbie dolls in 1997.
One was Disney’s Ariel, now shaved completely bald and with a facial expression I can only imagine reflects an ex-mermaid missing the sea. Now, do not tell my little sister. They were her dolls.
I wish I could claim that I annihilated those dolls because I object to the unrealistic body image they give young girls, but I am afraid that I was not that bright at that point. I was only nine years old myself. I did it because frankly, Søndersø, I was bored.
My best friend Martin and I had nothing else to do. Throughout our childhood, we would visit the playground by Havrevænget, but as we grew older, the swingsets grew apart, the pond dried up and the ducks flew away and never came back.
Martin and I would ride our bikes on the parking lot for hours and hours, pretending that they were horses or motorbikes. Once, we witnessed a crime: an older boy crashed his bike into the glass surface of the local and only mall. Back then, we thought it was an accident. Now I think he was just bored as well and apparently had no Barbie dolls in his house to mutilate.
Eventually, Martin and I stopped riding our bikes. We discovered computers. We would make our own newspaper in Paint. In a desperate attempt to create drama in a town where nothing ever happened. I got out in 1999. Sorry, but I had to. My mother wished for my sister and I to grow up in a city – where people were open-minded and from different cultures. Where my sister’s dolls would not suddenly just disappear into thin air…
You are even smaller now, Søndersø. The mall only contains one open shop and five empty and almost ghost-like spaces, which used to be a bakery, a shoe shop, a photographers, a toy store (from which I stole a plastic horse when I was four) and a store I am sure sold more than teddy bears, but that was my only and main concern at the time.
When I return to you on rare occasions, everything seems to be getting smaller. The parking lot now looks the size of a stamp; the roads that once seemed endless now could be walked in 20 minutes and the hills are barely lumps of dirt, just separating the parking lot from the road. I wonder if one day another boy and girl will be playing outside only to find the naked scalp of Ariel’s head sticking up from the dirt. I only hope they will see it as a warning. Get out of Søndersø and go to Copenhagen, where people have computers and technology and no one needs to go play outside at all.
Sofie Hagen is a Danish stand-up comedian based in London. She is also a body positivity activist and a comedy writer.