The metal ropes rang like church bells on the sail boats in the bay. It was windier than expected this afternoon. We are sitting in the living room together. It’s more like a ballroom. I just asked you what the ringing sound was, in case you—a fairweather sailor—might be able to describe it better than I can. With a stiffness that accompanies the onset of important memories, my flashback begins.
December in New York: cold enough to get under the covers of my duvet, but not so cold that it was worth complaining to anyone. We were chatting on whatsapp. In the downtime between our first few dates we took this occupation seriously. More than once I tried not to reply, until I failed three times in a row and gave up. We couldn’t help that our conversations veered easily towards philosophising. What did we want out of life? We asked each other, and told one another, in a thousand ways we were only game enough to write, and never say. You sent me a drone video of the place where I am now sitting. St Gilgen, you told me, is where my family takes their summer holidays. I watched the video in my apartment, and turned the accompanying music up loud to drown out the hiss of the gas pipe in the corner of the room. It made it easier to pretend I was somewhere else. I watched your two minute clip of the lakes and the mountains four times over. It epitomised the German speaking part of Europe that I’d always meant to find my way back to. I meditated mostly on one thought: how I would love to write there. I remember the uncomfortable scratchiness of the duvet’s fibres on my freshly shaved skin, as I thought it. A small annoyances that increased in intensity to match the depth of my longing. As I look out now, on the same scene I replayed on your videoclip, I burst a little, knowing that being here is an unlikely dream come true.