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5 am. Your alarm rings. Your train leaves in 40 minutes. Don’t make any noise. Slip out of bed softly so as not to wake her. Cold. Too cold. Creep downstairs like a cat, like a thief. Your bag is ready. You just have to find your clothes in the dark. A blind hunt. Dressing does not make you any warmer. That will come. 5.10. Just time for a coffee and a yoghurt. Go back upstairs to watch her sleeping. Take a mental snapshot, an image until you come back to her. You always feel as if you’ll never see her again. That your departure is final. With no coming back. You kiss her hair and lightly touch her lips. She half opens her eyes, her hand seeks your face, finds it, strokes it. She says sweet words to you in an inaudible voice. You reply that you love her and that you will be back with her soon. She smiles. You move away. You extricate yourself. You peel off into the muffled cotton-wool silence of the January morning. She has already gone back to sleep, a careless beauty in a body beseiged by dreams. You are going to be met by the icy kiss at 5.15, you are contrite, frozen, hurt. You pick up your bags, cast one last tender glance back at the staircase, which is only a stupid staircase but which is nevertheless the one that leads to her, and you go through the door. Don’t waste any time. The building is already disappearing in the fog behind you. Keep going. Get your ticket out. Put your earbuds in. Random music. Bob Dylan, Blowin in the wind. An original track that’s a bit of a cliché for the low-budget film that is your life.

Translated by Wendy Cross


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