Yellow Lemon Tree is on the radio.
I’ve just polished off a slab of white bread, slathered with a little too much Nutella. That is the only way to eat Nutella I think. Stinginess does not come easily to Nutella, and in unfortunate stingy circumstances, it really only succeeds in gluing a piece of bread to the roof of your mouth. But instead, being indulgent, I have achieved the burning sensation of sugar at the back of my throat and left chocolate finger prints on the pages of my book. Nutella is a food that is intensely associated with holidays in Europe. A non-specific and vague continental memory; campsites, salty sun-kissed skin, ruffles, Principe biscuits, yoghurt and sugar, bread and olive oil, white peaches, a shiny red hire car with Nora snoozing gently to the left, and me, gormless and slightly hypnotised by the rhythm of the alien road signs swimming past the window. Moments of hysterical fear and cackling laughter, when my Dad would absentmindedly swing his arm around the back of the driver’s seat, to try and grab my ankles. I would squeal and draw my feet up on the seat, eyes locked on Dad’s blind hand, patting the car floor in the hope of grabbing an ankle or foot, before some kind of driving manoeuvre required two hands. Perhaps my hysterical, half pleasure, half pain, can be traced back to an all too vivid imagining of the dreadful fate of Jim, being eaten bit by bit; most significantly, feet first.
So, it is January. The European contingent in Monterrey is returning after travelling far and wide, probably taking in most of the country between ourselves. Slipping back into lesson preparations and days spent at the faculty, it feels like I never left, and my visitors, oases in the desert. However, the wealth of photos suggest otherwise, as did the warmth of many voices and proper meals. The pyjama clad padding of the first minutes of the day; Closed-eye listening to coffee and toast preparations, Nora’s warm weight beside me, and the first hours of the day, where inaction and domesticity is wallowed in.
I visited so many places I am already unable to get them quite straight in my head. I was aching for a departure from Monterrey and work when the parents arrived. The grey lockers and furniture where I am interned at work was working its way into my brain. Their trip had an unprepossessing start; the day was cloudy and oppressively warm. Pollution sat in a haze over the city, and hid the mountains, its best feature. They rise above the often bleak and ugly buildings with craggy majesty. But not on that day.
We left the next day for Morelia.-The first of enough flights to make an environmentalist blush. It charmed us.