Stockholm Airport

My plane landed in Sweden, but my soul lagged behind, afraid to join the American deserters I had met while avoiding the Vietnam draft the year before and whom I knew had been granted asylum in Sweden. My sketchy plan was to enter the country as a tourist and turn myself over to the authorities as a refugee. It was hard to think of myself as a refugee, and even harder to come to terms with being a deserter. The idea was to smuggle myself in as a cowboy, a role Europeans seemed willing to accept from Americans, and anyway, it wouldn’t take much to qualify as a cowboy in Sweden: hat, boots, and shirt with mother-of-pearl snap buttons. And I could talk the talk.

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