Before Switzerland

We leave the house, plunging gloved hands into the pockets of our coats. The snow is coming. I can smell it, flinty like coal. I look back at the house and our bedroom window is white, fogged with our sleep, a web. We walk before breakfast. At home there will be toast, honey, coffee, mandarins and two little cinnamon cakes I bought yesterday from the expensive French patisserie that has just opened on Washington Street. This is before they had the fire that started in one of the ovens and gutted the place and everyone said was an insurance job. This is before Izzy. We don’t even know about Izzy yet. But she is here on the walk with us, deep inside me, a speck, a ghost. You speak of Geneva. Switzerland. The lake. The lack of crime. The excellent education system. Because we will have a child one day and education is important. What about the healthcare system? It is excellent too and you tell me why and how. You don’t hear my joke. Or maybe you do and choose to ignore it. Your transfer to Switzerland is a certainty. You are going. I am going. Don’t say anything more about the cleanliness, the friendliness, the goddamn skiing. For me it is terrible punctuality, too much chocolate, and appalling conduct during World War II. Let’s talk about that. The air here is icy, like cloth, linen against my face. I suggested the walk. I don’t know why. Maybe because it is a Sunday morning, because I am restless, because no matter how much we fuck until I am obliterated, I have an energy that won’t let go. It makes me want to run.

Melissa Goode’s work has appeared in Best Australian Short Stories, New World Writing, Split Lip Magazine, Atticus Review, Cleaver Magazine, Litro Magazine, Pithead Chapel, and Jellyfish Review among others. One of her short stories has been made into a film by the production company, Jungle. Her novel manuscript “What we have become” was selected by Random House in 2016 for a fellowship with Varuna, the National Writers’ House in Australia. She lives in Australia. You can find her at and at .