Of Airports and other purgatories

With the end of the year drawing closer and closer, so does the possibility that I’ll have to be in a plane again.

Like many other people who hate flying and who enjoy grounded life, planes are obviously my least favourite places in the whole wide world. Airports and government buildings in South America are a very (very!) close second.

Airports, I feel, have become the place where good manners and elegance have gone to die. Where else can you expect to see people growing impatient, angry, anxious, before abandoning all resemblance of common decency and beginning to engage in line-cutting, foot-stomping and sometimes screaming? And all of this happens even before they ask you to take off your shoes at the security check – by which point, particularly during the holiday season, we’ve come to embrace the madness. Continue reading

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About a boy

I always had a deep affection for children. I’ll probably never know where it comes from. But as far as I remember, it was always, always there. The desire to care for someone who is not yet capable of understanding how much danger can lie in connecting little chubby fingers to the electric socket on the wall. The desire to comfort them once they learn for themselves that this (among many, many other things) causes them pain.

And it’s exactly this affection and desire to comfort which cause me to shoot out of bed when I hear a cry in the middle of the night. Continue reading

Open your eyes.

For a split-second, everything is darkness. I’m not sure where I am, and need to focus to remember simple, but crucial information: who am I? What is my name? What is the last thing I remember? Do I remember enough to open my eyes and not be dreadfully surprised? Continue reading

First page, first draft. Here we go.

“The flight AL817 to London City airport will start boarding shortly.”

Anna closed her eyes and took another one of those deep breaths while clutching her book with already clammy hands and mentally cursing the plane, the airport, and indeed most of the city of Zurich. Seriously, why? Why go through this irrational, predictable agony every time?

I’m going to die today. I can feel it.

Her throat feels dry. There is a kiosk selling bottled water about six and a half steps away from her chair, but she feels her expensive high heels glued to the ground. Another deep breath. Continue reading

Out of space…

I’ve been absent for a little while. But I haven’t given up. Mostly, to be frank, I’ve been trapped under a mass of drafts which accumulated over the years. Which begs the question: how does one go through life writing drafts without a decent filing system?

Allow me to explain. As a teenager, I had the tendency to arrive at appointments, lunches, dinners, dates and parties too early (a habit I regretfully let go of over the years). I would normally have one of three things in my handbag to entertain me as I waited: a book (normally a leather-bound one by Tolstoi, with my great-grandfather’s initials engraved on the spine – I was that kind of snob), a pen and some paper. In the absence of paper, I would shamelessly walk to the nearest restaurant and ask for some paper napkins. In the absence of a pen, I would shamefully ask strangers if they had one to spare. Continue reading

When suddenly, in the still of the night…

The Kichen

BRI, WAKE UP.

It wasn’t a loud voice. But it did wake me.

It was a woman’s voice, which sounded like it was coming from somewhere far away, echoing from a dark abyss somewhere. I woke up and immediately looked to the window to check if there was anyone there (we live on the fourth floor, but after you live in a big city some habits die hard). There was no-one there. Continue reading

Castaway

I’m drifting. Somewhere in the middle of the ocean, there I am on a small boat, rowing, rowing, trying to get away from something, trying to make it home. I think to myself that I should have exercised more throughout the year because rowing is much harder than I thought it could ever be.

The water is at once clear and turquoise. I can see the shadow of my boat on the sand some three metres below me. Indeed, I can see my own shadow. And that of the other three people on the boat with me.

I let the oar down for a moment, and it nearly slips away and into the crystal clear water, just nearly. Before it does, Nowhere Man stops it, pulls it back into the boat, to safety. I’m exhausted, on the verge of tears, really. I’m so tired. I can’t go on. Continue reading