It feels good to be back home again. I suppose it was my own fault really. I did not have to leave my valleys and hills and live in a town where the first breath of fresh air in the morning through the window was the exhaust fumes from a passing lorry. Jack said marry me and I will take you places. He did, but we only got as far as London. London sounded so good. I thought if the Queen lives in London then it must be something special.
Jack did not come from the same part of London as the Queen. We have a river in my home town in Switzerland, and so does London. London’s river did not look quite as clean and clear as the river fed by the mountain streams in my home village, but Jack loved the River Thames. He grew up in that part of London so knew really nothing different. He had a good job and we could live in one of those newly built houses in the area the Londoners called the Docklands, the River Thames just passing at the bottom of the road. Jack’s problem was that he thought he, well, sort of owned me. I felt so homesick in London, longing for my mountains and the damp air full of scents from the meadows and the forests.
Waking up in my old room here in Switzerland is what I yearned for. Time to get some breakfast, my mother called. Fresh croissants with butter and a nice cup of coffee will be waiting on the table, no more cups of tea. Jack always had to have his tea for breakfast, after dinner and in the evening.
Yesterday was a beautiful day. I had to get out and breathe again so took a walk up our local mountain. We have a chair lift, but I wanted to feel the old familiar path under my feet and see the wild flowers growing at the sides of the paths. I could smell the scent of the wild garlic in the forest. It was Spring and would soon be time to gather the leaves for cooking with our meals. You can only eat it when it is fresh. Later on when the leaves begin to age and get tough they become poison for the body.
My stepfather’s death was caused by a tragic accident. He went to the woods early in the morning to pick some fresh wild garlic leaves for my mother to make a soup in the evening. He brought the fresh green young leaves and put them in the kitchen. Mother and my stepfather decided to visit my grandparents on that day and I was left on my own at home. At the age of 12 I was old enough to look after myself. The wild garlic leaves smelt so fine that I decided to mix them into my food for my lunch. I then remembered that they were for a soup in the evening and in the afternoon I gathered some more leaves to replace them.
It seemed I had picked some older leaves and my mother’s wild garlic leaf soup was not so good for my stepfather. He had a stomach ulcer and unfortunately did not survive after eating the soup. My mother was also ill, but soon recovered. Luckily I was visiting my friend that evening, otherwise I might have eaten from the soup as well. Of course there was a court examination, but how was my mother to know that the leaves were no longer fit for cooking. After my stepfather’s death my mother inherited his wealth and property and we both lived in his chalet.
And then Jack came into my life, one of the English tourists that come to Switzerland to see the mountains. I would often take a walk on the path at the end of the road leading to the mountain and show him all the flora and fauna we had. His problem was vertigo and when we eventually climbed out of the mist he would look back on the sea of fog and had to sit on a bench for a few moments to regain his balance. Poor Jack, he just was not cut out for life in the mountains and so we went to his homeland to live after the marriage. I soon found out that I was not suited to life in town, but now I have that behind me.
My mother said I would probably be lucky and see the sea of fog from the top of our local mountain if I wanted to take a walk. It was Spring and the damp air rose from the ground and formed the mist. The “Nebelmeer” as we know it (the Londoners only have fog) is usually caused by low lying clouds. Beneath the clouds the towns and villages are dark and dreary and may even have rain, but taking a walk up a mountain can be compared with an aeroplane flight. At a certain point on the way the air clears and there is sunshine. If you look back you are confronted with a sea of fog which looks almost compact and solid. In the evenings when the sun is descending it reflects on the mist which resembles the glimmer of a fire.
Of course I had problems explaining to my mother why I suddenly arrived at her doorstep two days ago with my suitcase and no Jack. I said I was spending some time at home as I was feeling so homesick for my country and Jack realised that it would do me good to return for a few days. Well that was what I told my mother and she believed me. I have now been home for three days and she was wondering why Jack did not call, but I told them that our telephone connection was being repaired at home, If anything would happen he would be sure to contact me.
I decided to go again to the mountain yesterday evening, but this time took the chair lift, riding through the Nebelmeer up to the heights to clear my head a bit. When I got back home it was time for dinner. My mother was just serving the meal and there was a ring at the door. The local police asked for me. I had to sit down when they brought the bad news. There had been an accident. We cooked with gas in London, as most London homes, and there must have been a gas leak somewhere. It was difficult to find out why, but there was an explosion and the house existed no longer, and neither did Jack. Examinations showed that the gas had been leaking slowly and probably Jack had decided to light a cigarette causing the explosion.
My flight to London went on time and I booked in at a hotel.
Today was Jack’s funeral. His family were there and it was very sad. They shook my hand and offered their condolences, and I cried a few tears – almost genuine. The family did not like me and I never did feel very comfortable with them.
I arrived home yesterday too tired to write in my diary. There was nothing to keep me in London. Today I took another stroll through the mist to the top of the mountain, sat down on a bench and thought things over. It is really astonishing what a small twist on a gas pipe with a spanner can do. Just a small one, I mean no-one notices the gas leak and as we all know English gas does not smell.
I just love the Swiss mountains and the Nebelmeer. You can leave the dark and dreary towns behind you and climb into the fresh air where the sun is always shining and life is just perfect.