We arrived home from Austria last night and I’m already remembering it in the format of dreams. It feels far more distant than it should. No. Like it never happened at all. I don’t know who travelled there and who came back in her place, but it’s as if I have different versions of myself designated for each area code I find myself falling through. They sit next to each other in my head like strangers on the tube. Aware, shifting in their silence, staring straight ahead.

I was last seen lugging suitcases through airports. Sitting at badly named cafes with interchangeable cups of tea and novels. Walking through gently falling snow, through fields of propped up skis, juggling three soft toys and the toddler bouncing on my hip. I felt the glances, the affection. Strangers seem to collect all the warmth they fail to show to unknown adults in public and release it all instead onto unknown children. All hair-ruffling-cheek-pinching, all That’s A Gorgeous Name. Naturally there were questions that demanded answers. No, I’m his nanny. Three years old. English? Sorry, I don’t speak German. Danke. No sugar, milk on the side.

When I wasn’t playing mama there was a lot of lazing to do. A lot of amazing food to be eaten. Our chalet came complete with personal chefs for almost every meal, and it went against all my hospitality instincts to sit there as they served us, filled the water jug, cleared all the plates. Half of me felt blessed (blessed, a word dripping a little too much of crucifixes and tattered Bible pages for a non-believer, yet it has lodged itself beneath my tongue these past few weeks, refused point blank to leave). The other half felt embarrassed. There’s a certain guilt in four different types of canapés and not being able to remember the last time you felt physically hungry. What percentage of the world can claim that? With each passing day it felt less special, more like the norm. It’s so easy to see how people fall into this kind of decadence. The self-sustaining thing about privilege is that it’s all too easy to forget that you’re privileged to begin with.

I sat at dinner tables and sipped sparkling water. Glanced in on lives that were not mine, that I was only guested to, drank cheap beer in the morning and expensive wine in the afternoon and had a bloody wonderful time. I reclined in outdoor hot tubs with snow falling on my shoulders. Overlooking the mountains. I even got the chance to do a little bit of skiing but was happy sticking to the nursery runs, high slopes tend to trigger me into hunched shoulders and weak knees and shortness and shortness and shortness of breath. In, out. Out, in. A diagnosis I haven’t managed to kick yet. 

And then it was all over. The snow, the long spells of reading. The six separate viewings of The Lion King. It was back to cars, airports, scribbling in notebooks, collecting small relics for my lover. Back to trying to document it the best I can. Back to leaving a breadcrumb trail behind me, except all I have to mark the way is words.

Instagram photos (I somehow forgot to take proper ones)

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