Calum McSwiggan

The Midnight City

In Eat, Love on July 19, 2012 at 6:15 am

The Midnight City

‘Waiting for a roar, looking at the mutating skyline. The city is my church, it wraps me in the sparkling twilight’

– M83

I applauded my Italian students with gusto as they took a bow to conclude their final drama performance, and then I dashed for the stage, hurriedly handed them their diplomas, issued an unwanted group hug, and ran for the train station.

Earlier that day I had gotten a phone call from Switzerland, offering me a job teaching in the Alps, and even though I knew nothing about it, I knew I couldn’t refuse. I headed straight for the airport, knowing I’d have to travel right through the night and that there’d be no time to rest, promising myself I’d be able to relax when I got there.

But as soon as I arrived, I immediately knew that there would be no time to rest- I was thrust straight into a job of teaching and entertaining children from the moment they wake until the moment they go to sleep- I lasted barely a week before I was ready to throw in the towel. I was well and truly overcome with exhaustion, and the faux smile spread across my face was rapidly waning.

I became bitter and miserable, grumpy from the lack of sleep, frustrated at the lack of opportunity to write, and ready to kill somebody for a sip of a Mojito- for the first time since I left Derby, I missed the stability of a normal life, and I came dangerously close to giving up, quitting, and going to set down some roots.

So when I was presented the opportunity to go to the last night of Montreux Jazz, I very nearly refused due to tiredness, but then I remembered my Dad randomly shoving a handful of Swiss Francs into my wallet, and telling me that should I ever go to Switzerland, I had to go to the Jazz Festival.

I never had had any intention of going to Switzerland, and yet there I was with a heavy wallet weighing me down, and the opportunity to go to the festival looming over me- The Universe was trying to tell me something, and so I made sure all the kids were asleep, downed a can of red bull, and headed out into the neon lights.

A two hour bus ride later and I was there in the Midnight City, breathing in the cool night air, flirting with cute French boys and pounding the dance floor even after the music had stopped. I knew I’d have to be back by 8am to wake up the kids, and I knew that the following day was going to be hell, but knowing that every moment of bliss was hard-earned made every second of freedom invaluable.

As I boarded the early morning train back into the mountains, I watched the sun slowly begin to rise, dappling pink and orange over the snow-topped mountains, and catching brilliantly in the dazzling waterfalls- I was well and truly delirious from the lack of sleep, yet I was in a place of absolute serenity, and truly understood how lucky I was.

I was happy, happier than I’d been in a very long time, and it was all because I’d said yes when I could have so easily said no. Something changed inside of me right there and then, and I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be in that moment. I suddenly appreciated the importance of squeezing every moment of life for all its worth, and never relenting until you’ve lived life entirely to the full.

I felt all of the negative energy drain away from me, and I made myself a promise. I’d never again let tiredness overcome me, I’d never again turn down an opportunity for happiness, and, most importantly, I’d never again pass up a chance to dance in the Midnight City.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: