Entry 7 - St Moritz
The walk back to his room was abrupt, but Colin, much to his own surprise, had enjoyed it. Everyone was much friendlier than he expected. Numerous people, all of whom were unknown to him, had offered a greeting of one description or another as he strolled by. Coming immediately after a very pleasant dinner indeed, Colin’s spirits, in spite of himself, were relatively buoyant.
The familiar sound of boots kicking against the frame of the door informed Colin that he could expect company.
‘Alright Col!’ said Steve, jumping straight onto the top bunk of their shared quarters.
‘It isn’t as noisy as I feared’ he commented.
‘Mornings are the noisiest time’ said Steve, ‘when everyone’s raring to go.’
A cry echoed across the falling night air, temporarily halting the shuffling footsteps, the accompanying murmurings and the jingling of keys.
‘Another accident’ explained Steve.
‘Are there a lot of accidents?’ asked Colin.
‘Bound to be’ said Steve, bluntly.
Moving to the window, Colin looked far into the distance where he could just about differentiate the blurred lines of the mountain tops from the dusk that slowly immersed them.
‘It isn’t much of a view’ he said, shivering.
‘You’re not scared are you?’
‘No. I’m just cold that’s all.’
‘It’ll be a lot colder tomorrow in St Moritz.’
‘Beautiful place, St Moritz. Don’t tell me you’ve never been Col?’
‘This is my first time’ said Colin, returning to his own bed. ‘I’ve been to Geneva though, if that helps.’
‘I’ve been to St Moritz loads of times’ continued Steve. ‘I can smell the clean, pure air already. There’s nothing like it. With a
bit of luck we’ll get there before lunch. That’s the best time, when the suns glistening brightly across the ski slopes.’
Steve paused, momentarily, while he changed his position. Colin watched the bunk above, noting that the bed revealed nothing about its occupant as it wriggled and squirmed.
‘Everything glistens in St Moritz’ said Steve, resuming his tale, ‘from the fish gliding beneath the frozen lakes to the icicles hanging from the branches of the tallest trees. And there’s the champagne, bubbles glistening and popping in crystal flutes. There’s plenty of women too, wearing diamond necklaces around their smooth, pale necks, laughing and smiling in the glow of a roaring fire, their coloured eyes glistening with every flame that flickers.’
‘Is it too late to go tonight?’ asked Colin.
‘We’d better wait until morning’ said Steve, with a cheerful sigh, ‘just in case anyone else wants to go. They’ll only complain if we leave them behind.’
A door slammed shut in the distance, followed steadily by its echo.
‘Mind you don’t catch cold tonight Col. You don’t want to be sneezing and triggering any avalanches. I want to find St Moritz exactly the same way as I found it last time, and keep it that way.’
Steve proceeded to detail the circumstances of his last trip alone, for the mere mention of an avalanche had triggered Colin’s memory, submerging his thoughts with the image of Luke Proctor, overwhelming his soul with the images of grief he’d witnessed on the faces of Luke’s girlfriend, Luke’s parents, Luke’s family and friends. Every picture tells a tale, and every single image of grief etched on the faces of Luke’s loved ones was as individual as a snowflake, and would forever be imprinted on Colin’s mind.
When Steve’s excursion finally came to an end, Colin spoke.
‘I killed someone.’
For seven months Colin had uttered those same words, thousands and thousands of times, to himself, but this was the first time he’d spoken them aloud.
‘I’d had a good day at work just for once’ said Colin, drily, ‘and I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want to go home, alone, again. So, I went to a bar and had a drink. I had a good night too, and ended up staying much longer than I’d planned. I never even saw the lad, driving home. I just heard him, hitting my car.’
The thud of more doors slamming grew louder.
‘I killed him, and destroyed the lives of those who knew him, and...’
With restraint, Colin managed to prevent himself from admitting that he’d destroyed his own life as well.
‘And you?’ he asked instead, looking again at the motionless bunk above him.
‘I’m here for the same reason as you, mate’ said Steve, casually. ‘I’m on holiday.’