Thursday, November 02, 2006


Today is the first day of winter. The lake has gone wild, dark blue, white waves beating against the shore. The air has changed, somehow colder, somehow stranger, somewhat freezing and dry compared to the endless Indian summer that preceded.

I wanted it to be winter when I leave. I wanted to smell fondue in the streets, I wanted to see the new first years econ students, I wanted to witness the festival Cinéma Tout Ecran. I wanted everything to continue as if nothing had changed, so it wouldn't matter that I was leaving.

But who would have thought today would be it? Tell me, who would have predicted this would be my last day? Would have predicted me, waking up at seven, waking up in Lausanne and taking a train directly to Geneva. Me, worrying about what to write for goodbye, what to write for a Ph.D proposal, what to tell my professors about recommendation letters. Me, denying that tonight will feature a goodbye drink, and me, standing helpless before this departure.

I am sitting with my laptop in Maison Grütli. This is my city, how can I explain how unrealistic it is that I am leaving?

City I loved, city I hated. City I tried to leave, city in which I tried to stay. City in which I wrote my first, full, clueless script but script nonetheless. I printed pages of writing today, pages I will give away in two hours. I will give them away and they will never come back, they are done. City full of friends. City whose streets I have worn out with my walking, and my talking and my mobile phone calls. City whose cafés I have come to know better than my bedroom.

I don't know how to go about this missing, but I invoke the magic of names. Café Papon, Bain de Paquis, Alhambar, Old Town, Veille Ville, the Chess Boards, Plainpalais, Café Cuba, Parc de Bastions, Rigot, The Lake, Carouge, Villa Barthon, Place du Cirque, Villereuse, Sécheron, Coop City, Calamar, Globus, Portes du Soleil, Baby-plage. Oh Geneva, oh city of mine. Stay well.

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