Retracing Marseilles

Marseille always leaves a dull, empty thud in my heart. The streets are dirty and dazzling, the city ancient and teeming with an aroma of green olives, gutted fish and rosemary. The ghosts of past events haunt me, they overlay the city like a thin sheath and render every turning of a corner a possibly lethal point, every passing a potential run-in with heartache.

Figures and memories spring to life and chase each other across the canvas. Part of me wants to chase after, but I deter from fear of what I might unravel, rather than from the belief that it’s all in my head.

Because it’s not. The ghosts are very real, and with every silent step on the pavement they clench my heart just a little bit tighter, just a little bit harder. Cutting off the blood supply – but never enough to numb me completely.


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