The train into Switzerland

Oh my god the colours…

The turquoise water, the blinding green grass, it’s almost unsettling how pretty it is. Almost artificial.

Houses stand on top of hills, lonely and unafraid, comfortable even. Phone lines hang down in lazy curves between the mountains, and stay static in the wind, which suggests to me there isn’t any.

A flash of brown from outside catches my attention, and I press my face up to the window to see. It’s a dear, I realise. Or a statue of one. Not even a good statue, more a cardboard cutout with some depth, but enough to fool me, for a moment at least.

And there, another shape jets by. A bear this time, as false as before. I begin to question even the trees, so dense and varied and green, some standing straight and proud, others dropping over the sides of cliffs. And the grass, the exact same colour as that plastic replacement they brought into the school playground all those years ago, a green so green it’s too green, a painted green, declared by the queen and enacted through force.

Is this place as magical as it looks? Is that even remotely possible? When I step outside this train and take my first deep breath, will I choke on the chemical taste? Or will I smile?

For now, though, all there is to do is wait.

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