The planes lined up one after the other on the tarmac parallel to the runway. The lights of the strip spread out ahead of the plane like glittering threads of cotton. Sitting, waiting, the air conditioning pumped cold air up through the body of the plane, the taste and smell of antiseptic stuck at the back of your throat. Then acceleration.
Later, as the plane descended in its final gravity’s rainbow rush towards the airport, the sun shone from the opposite side of the aircraft and through the oval cabin window I watched the shadow of the plane flying across the earth below. It grew larger as it chased us, gaining in weight and mass until finally it dragged the plane back to the earth with a bump and a squeal and a roar of deceleration.
Billboards advertising wristwatches lined the corridor that led to passport control. A different dark-haired male model stared out from each; a aboard a white wood yacht, hauling tight a rope, laughing at the wheel, lent back against the rudder. Foam tipped waves yaw in the swell, a deep blue ocean.
The next morning, this morning, I walked past an old man. White hair, damp, combed back. A moustache. He shuffled from the doorway of his block to the bins that lined the wall and the only thing he held in his hand was an empty bottle of whiskey.
Stage Five of the Tour today. Cavendish will place first. The cyclists make me think of this. Lycra team vests, carbon fiber road bikes. The hills of Geneva are not the passes and climbs of the Tour, but they’re not London either.
Lake Geneva glimmers though gaps in buildings as I pass by, the mountains, half shrouded in a haze, rise above. The lake laps calmly against the muddy sand. No fast flowing water, no speeding river, no waves crashing on the shore. The lake just sits there. Neutral.
I think of the billboards. Swiss clockwork, American advertising.