I squint and lean hard against the steering wheel. I draw back and sigh. Snow, snow, snow. Thick and fast.

I love snow cloaking every fir and pine around the chalet, sparkling diamonds in the sun especially when I’m nestled inside with a fire roaring and a good book half-lying, half-sitting in the mamasan, a huge white, round cushion cradled in wicker. I push, stretch and snuggle and the cushion makes a niche for me.

I fell on the chalet in the summer, walking lost in the mountains of St Cergue. A path, trees and there it was. All wood, all geraniums, all Swiss. At the épicerie, five kilometers away, I got the number and booked the chalet for the winter.

The only thing I dragged from Geneva was the mamasan.

I locked up the house, left plants and keys with my spinster neighbor. It felt strange at first, this picking up and going, no longer sitting, watching, waiting.

Tick tock tick tock, my heart had counted each second, each minute, each hour, each day. Staring out the window in the rocking chair, dawn seeing pink, then orange, then fire on the white mountain peaks. Then dusk kissing them red and purple. The same colors on the mountain in the picture on the wall above the bed, above the white head on the pillow. His hair had not been as white as the starched white pillowcase. He had always liked to sleep on starched white things. I could never be bothered. Until then.

He had slept. He had often slept. Up, down, up, down the sheet covering him went and my heart fluttered to its silent beat. One day the sheet above his chest moved no more.

I sat in my rocking chair and stared out into my mountain-of-many-colors. A long time. A very long time.

The day came, the day for turning the house from holding two to one and as closets and drawers emptied, as tears no longer came, one last thing remained. The attic. And there it was. The mamasan where two twentysomethings had spooned themselves into one, its round emptiness waiting to enfold me.

It has been in front of the fireplace of the chalet ever since. Now only three kilometers away, waiting. I squint in the snow, change gears, drive up the steep mountain road. The tires skid on ice, I brake; the car dances and flies.

I struggle to open my eyes. It is dark. It is quiet. I am in my mamasan at last, a mamasan of snow.


Published in Foreign and Far Away, Writer’s Abroad Anthology 2013 (Oct. 2013)

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