Romance in the mountains
Alina met Christian for the first time at one of the Swiss ski resorts. It happened on the slope meant for sledding. Alina couldn’t ski while Christian as it turned out had just got an injury that made him cut down such sport activities. So there they were – sledding together like kids or rather childlike adults. Afterwards they drank mulled wine and laughed. And then she found herself at his place…In the mountains.
First it seemed to Alina that their relationship would be just like those mountains – elevated, firm and thrilling at the same time. After a while she realized this analogy was far from accurate.
On the outside Christian seemed cold and hard to approach. She was exuding warmth and openness – regarding both her body and her heart…
Game of contrasts, attraction of the opposites…
Alina lived and worked under a contract in Losanne. Christian stayed in a tiny village surrounded by mountains where the number of wooden houses apparently exceeded that of the living people.
He dreamed of leaving that place, Alina’s dream was to stay there with him forever.
— There’s nothing here! – he used to cry in despair.
— Here I have you, - she softly responded making him calm down for a while.
They often spent late evenings on the balcony smoking and looking at the stars shining above the mountains. Alina had always admired the mountains, to Christian they had been the source of irritation.
She wanted him to embrace her, and he wanted to finish up his cigarette and go to sleep.
Alina often called on him and stayed in his house for a few days.
In the mornings he used to leave for work keeping the door unlocked – it was often uncommon in a village. Alina always pretended to be asleep but counted his steps with her eyes closed as he was walking out – the number somehow each time was the same – eleven. Then she packed and left.
It was a strange relationship. It was even hard to call a relationship whatsoever. But those times spent with Christian in the mountains gave Alina a feeling of happiness. And she was hoping for his coldness to be just a mask. But Christian often used to say, whether jokingly or not, that they would be together, sure they would – but later, in another life when they were both cats. And so far… «You are free. I am free. There are no commitments. And we´re good just the way we are, right?”
Hearing this she nodded, smiled and didn’t say a thing. And then with some silly excuse she withdrew to the kitchen or bathroom – so that, god forbid, Christian wouldn’t notice her eyes had watered. And he actually didn’t. Or at least pretended not to.
They communicated in English (Alina didn’t speak Swiss or German well enough). Christian didn’t share a lot about his earlier life, however, he liked to say he was an independent and free man and never “clung to anyone”. “If someone walked away – it meant he or she walked away. I never held anyone back. I don’t need that”.
They continued seeing each other for about a year and then Alina had to go back to her home country Ukraine as her contract was over. Before leaving she called on him to say goodbye but he wasn’t at home so she left him a note – no address, no email, no phone number, just a few words – saying that she was leaving and was grateful to him for everything. He was slightly surprised that Alina hadn’t left him any contacts but in his thoughts he had no doubt that she would call or write to him later herself. Time passed by, but there were no letters from Alina. Christian had mixed feelings about it, yet he didn’t want to admit that he missed her. Six months later it started to dawn on him that he was anxiously checking his mail and phone messages to hear anything from her. But nothing was there. He suddenly realized that nothing would ever be there and the strongest feeling of despair overwhelmed him.
One day a black and white cat appeared out of nowhere on the Christian’s balcony. He looked at her and his heart started to pound heavily. Christian put the cat in his arms and took it inside deciding at least for once in his life not to let someone go.