Postcards from Europe
Helsinki, February 2018
We choose heads instead of tails too many times and the slot machine guzzles our tenner down. The bar is full of people we've never seen before. We drink slimy rum and cokes.
The neon lights make him look like a stranger.
His gaze is tinged with admiration and something I can't quite decipher. I'm wearing polka dots. He's wearing expensive clothes that travelled here across a few seas. I don't dare imagine them on the floor of my apartment, scattered around like the ending of an awful piece of performance art.
In my stairway, we kiss. I don't invite him upstairs.
Austria, March 2018
I like the mountains because they don't care about me.
Menton, March 2018
A teenage boy sulks on the beach while we marvel at the apricot sky. We go see Jean Cocteau's line drawings and hike up to the graveyard on the hill only to be blinded by the vastness of the Mediterranean Sea.
Later, we cross the Italian border. In Ventimiglia, I think every handshake I see is a mafia handshake. We keep on bumping into funerals. Big caskets. Shiny black Mercedes-Benz hearses. Old women and unruly children.
On our way back, I see a young man getting arrested, his bare feet against the cool asphalt, his skinny arms and elegant hands held high and proud above his head. A policeman checks our passports in the train. The tiny French train station we pull up to has been equipped with makeshift metal detectors.
Something has changed. It hangs above the town like a heavy cloud.
Copenhagen, April 2018
I turn 26 on Sunday.
The cut on my hand and the one on my leg don't seem to heal.
Helsinki, April 2018
In a year, I've learnt that my home never gets dark. At night, the lazy street lights fill it with a yellow glow that's impossible to escape.
Anna calls from London, and I suddenly feel like I'm back there again.
I talk to her and peer at the rooftops. They've been stripped bare. Spring is here.