Home away from...

November 16th, 2013, 10pm

It was 9°C with few clouds. The breeze was light.

The first day:

Stubborn, in the park. Reading with a coffee and pretending not to be cold. Watching the crows hop on icy drafts. Craving hot chicken. Earlier, a strolling bulldog passed the coffee shop window, a milky blue filming each blind eye. Yet, watching me.

The next day:

Breakfast is a baguette, pot of coffee, plastic container of sour prune jam. Plain and cheap, but served in an elegant room atop steely, wired-bottomed tables. The rest of the parlor is crowded with aged, single women — as soured and soft as the questionable jam pats.

My future?


We dine silently together, their French verse sailing crisply past my head. (“Bon voyage mon petite fille!”) (Capital F.)

And then:

Later, on the train to Irun, everybody is old but me. Again. The woman across the aisle is as crinkled and burnished as a small, brown walnut. She watches me the entire train ride, like I am television. She and I are the only ones in the entire coach still awake. When I tire of her scrutiny, I make a pillow of my jacket and lie down across an empty seat, watch the blue sky tumble by. As we move South, it runs clearer and clearer, like dust clouds settling in cool water. It’s loud in the bathroom. You can hear the tracks rattling up through the drain in the sink.

Trains. I love trains.

I read for six hours straight, finishing one book and starting another. It’s important for me to stop on the last page of the first book and wait for a minute, savoring the pleasure of imminent and certain conclusion. It is a rare feast, almost never granted. The next book is a history of Marxism. I read 100 pages in the first go, underlining the names of people I don’t know.

Allan, Rose, Mark, Christine and 17 others said thanks.

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Cassie Marketos

Community Manager at Hi. Traveling. Writing! Will send invites generously. Just ping @sayhi.

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