Imperial troops have entered the base.

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A Letter from Winter

April 24th, 2014 · No Comments · all hail the king, words

Dear xxxx,

Every time I undertake a journey, shortly before I depart to the airport, the train station or the local bus depot, there’s this moment of dread. I suddenly want to abandon everything, sit down and wait until the scheduled departure time of my flight, train or bus has passed, sending the vehicle off into the void without me, freeing me of the responsibility of travel.

Maybe it was this dread that made me stay in Berlin. It would have been easy to join you: just throw enough shirts and shaving gel for a few days in a bag and hop into your Volvo. And we would have been on our way to your parents in Tours in France and their smelly ash-covered cheese and their castles swarming with busloads of Chinese tourists. We would have left the concrete-and-brick island of Berlin and have your car take us through the flat and empty fields of Brandenburg and under the whirls of the wind turbines near Magdeburg. Then on through the dark heart of Germany on to the band of light on the Rhine that is Cologne, the surface of the Autobahn going vrashoom vrashoom vrashoom beneath our feet and the floor pan. From Cologne via that old Imperial city of Aachen or Aix-la-Chapelle or Aken we’d enter Belgium at dusk, the eerie orange band of the Autobahn lights pushing us past Liege and Mons towards the border of France, and maybe there would be frost on the ground in the Picardy, like a shroud for the old battlefields near Cambrai and the Somme. At dawn we would pass Compiegne, where Hitler once danced, and with the light of the winter sun we would rush along the grey band of the Boulevard Peripherique in Paris, catching a red-eyed glimpse of the Eiffel Tower as we avoid crashing into motor scooters and angry Parisians in Japanese cars. And after that it would just be two hours more, straight down to the Loire, where English knights once set fire to peasant farms, not knowing they would fight a hundred years.

But I decided to stay, and you’re gone now. I wish you godspeed.



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