Black words on soft off-white paper. The book nestles in my hands, the cover smooth, cool and unobtrusive.
Unfamiliar prose, I navigate sentences and paragraphs clumsily, seeking connection.
I recognise cynicism and scepticism. Perhaps this is a Rorschach test. Perhaps on a different day I would feel carefree and at ease like the author in Ajaccio. Perhaps the writer never truly feels carefree and this is what I ponder, wondering if their peace lays upon a turmoil of emotion, like a layer of oil atop depths of ocean we will never completely discover.
I read the pages again and again until I am a passenger on the little blue bus to Ajaccio, sitting in the Place Letizia inhaling the heady scent of eucalyptus and oleanders. I immerse myself in the cool turquoise waters of the Bay of Ficajola. I wander the cemetery in Piana, my hand brushing over the yarrow and oat grass, letting it tickle my palm. I lament the loss of the fairytale forests of Bavella, silently grieving with my guide. Finally, I rest in the window of my nondescript room, watching Les Calanques come alive in the flames of the setting sun.
Corsica. Campo Santo. 49 pages. Depths that only reveal themselves as you retrace your steps, the unfamiliar becoming the familiar, the unknown author becoming a trusted mentor.