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.

And then there was… Nothing

There are many alternate roads into the future. Many people spend their lives worrying about the what’s and if’s, others bull rush ahead and stand surprised first when they cross the finish line and find life wanting of a first prize.

I’ve always considered myself somewhere inbetween – hopeful, gambling on a deep plunge to eventually lead me to a possibly positive outcome, but more than ready for alternative and more dreary results.

But I honestly must say I wasn’t expecting this.

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The news was all over the place. “Big Fire at Nedre Foss Gård”, “Pictures before and after”, Nedre Foss Gård is Burning”…

And it was. The physical evidence was there – clear to the eye – as we stood and watched cold, confused, but above all disbelieving. Not as to the fact that the building was burning. That was plain to see. Rather it was a gathered, collective bewilderment as to what this actually meant for us. What we would be. What our value would be without our restaurant to define us.

What was left.

It may sound overly dramatic. It was after all just a restaurant. It was after all just a building.

But in order to be a good chef or waiter you have to let yourself be defined by your work. If home is where you spend the majority of your waking hours then your official residence is nothing but a convenient hotel that you check into every evening to get some rest.

Home is where the drama happens, where friendships and relationships are forged. Where every evening is a new, carefully planned out battle and where every possible outcome will be lamented and analyzed in the dark holes of the local drinking establishments later in the night.

We will find ourselves. Right now we are like the spokes around a missing hub, but we will find ourselves.

And even without the hub, the wheel turns…

First Light

The first dawn of the rest of my life crept up quietly to dominate the sky as I slept away the flight to London Heathrow. Then a few hours calm, grey drizzle gave way to the blinding sunlight of Marseille, bathing the city as well as myself in sunlight and forcing me to revert my eyes from the run-down beauty. A short train-ride to Montpellier plunged me into darkness again, and as I now sip my café au’lait and punch keys at a local café it is what must be the first true light that carefully peeks over the adjacent roof-top to sting at my eyes.

It’s bleak yes, but it brings with it promise of a new era, an era of new idiotic schemes and complications, of challenges and failures.

My old life was fantastic! May it be gone for good!

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