2020


Ramblings / Sunday, December 27th, 2020

Another year is over and
things are rushing past me while I’m standing still in the middle of it all –
it’s been the year of

everything and nothing at the same time
worry, sadness, frustration, a bit of too much for so many, a shared affliction that goes through cells and borders

it’s been a year lost,
a year gained,
depending on from which angle one wants to look at it;
a year gained for slowing down, for sitting in the window and reading Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont with a spritzer balanced on my knee in spring
a year lost for hugging loved ones, for sitting in lectures, for visiting friends in far-away places, for visiting far-away places at all, or near places, if it comes to that
a year lost for saying hello, for deepening friendships, for going out and finding the new in all its glorious shapes and sizes
it’s strange, thinking back to January – had we only known,
maybe we would have hugged each other longer, relished the ease with which we could see one another in person all the more,
already having a pre-sentiment of how lonely it can be to miss out on a year of life

there was a lot of good, this year, and I know to count my blessings when so many others have lost theirs, yet still it stings; to know that this, my 24th year of living was

         somehow
                        lost

January; snow, lots of it, in the mountains of Switzerland, and barley soup, and long walks, ruddy cheeks warming up in the hotel lobby

February; bursting into silly tears in the elevator at work when I got an email with a yes from the writing contest that I’ve been wanting to win for so long, after many nos, weekly wednesay afternoons spent over cake and coffee at the cafeteria, talking important things, and sometimes not-so important things, and I couldn’t tell which ones were better

March; saying goodbye to a dear friend on the afternoon on which lockdown was announced, yet again in an elevator, he waves goodbye while the door closes “see you in summer” he says jokingly, “don’t say that”, I say. I saw him again in June

April; nothing much, taking walks, reading, listening, lectures delivered on a screen, a laughable yearning to take up yoga, sunshine across my bed in the mornings and video phone calls to see the face that is almost as familiar as my own and that I suddenly don’t get to see anymore

                       May; more of the same

June; suddenly and without warning; back it is, life and love and sun and excitement, suddenly living in Zurich with two people I haven’t known two weeks prior, an internship, dressing up and going to the office every day as if nothing had happened, new friends and old ones, watching the sun go down from my rooftop, dinners, wine, warm nights on the grass, sunny-morning scrambled eggs on the balcony and sunny Sundays at Frau Gerolds, was life ever any different?

July; Italy. Different now but just as beautiful with masks over our mouths and noses; Florence, David, sun and gelato, a glass of moscato never to be found and the sundown from the steps above the city, countless little Italian towns on the way down South, panzanella and Piacenza, the sea, a dark hill under an illuminated crest of houses on top, as if the eons of years that have pushed the hill towards the sky have wanted to crown it with bejewelled houses

August; exams unusually late, everything is off and there seems to be no time for anything else

September; a birthday spent anticipating Christmas, with punch and mulled wine so we could be outside instead of inside; this year makes us all into inventors, shapers, solution-seekers

October; everything is going down the drains again, bye university, see you never, maybe

November; things are standing still again but I’ve never felt more under pressure, suddenly there is everything that I should be getting done at once and I don’t know when I will get to everything

December; well
                              here we are
back at the start of the year, ensconced in our houses and stuck in a void of anxiety and thankfulness and anger and missing, and longing and seeing and dreaming and being

waiting for this year to pass
and waiting for a new one that’ll bring us all the things we wish for
(and maybe even more than that)

to be 24, or 15, or 74 at the end of this year, is to want many things, and even better, all of them at once

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