by Anya Razmi
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CLEVELAND AND ICELAND
[Here is an excerpt from my travel journal during my summer trip to Iceland. Enjoy!]
- The sky is softer. Does anyone think about that? The clouds are softer, longer, melt in the mound of a sleeping woman. And another, just beside her, nose upturned, eyes on the horizon. I think she is lonely. Does anyone tell her it is she who houses the sky, irises alight with sun beams?
- The grass isn’t greener. Not greener, exactly, but yellower, at least. Brighter. Or maybe that is just the sky again, and the way it dances with blades.
- Mountains. They are beautiful in their enormity: great and rumbling creatures, cascading over the horizon, cradling the sky. They look so small from maps: tiny, snow-specked. We got it wrong. I have only ever learned of infinity numerically, values increasing without bound, but oh, that is nothing, have they seen the way the rocks climb the skyline, settle in the cracks between clouds? The sunset paints the mountains sheets of purple. The landscapes here are pure indulgence, stuffing myself with too many sweets. I feel will drive myself to sickness, gorging on the the color of hills. The mountain are alive, here. I feel sure, if I were to press my ear to the cliff-face, I would hear its thundering heartbeat. It would cradle me as though I were one of its clouds.
- The water smells of sulfur. It does not taste as sweet.
- The people stare.
- Norse mythology is soaked in the cobblestones. The hotel manager’s name is Thor. There is a Loki café. Frigga smiles form the walls of souvenir shops, cheeks frozen in plastic. I wonder if anyone remembers how the Vikings slaughtered and slaughtered. I wonder if it matters. We celebrate with party hats adorned with matching horns.
- I can smell the sea.
- Everything is smaller. The shops, the streets, the plates, the slices of bread, the doors, the chairs, the grocery aisles.
- The city is not a city. At best, it must be a town. It’s cute. It’s beautiful the way a cottage is, or the color of that popcorn shop in Chagrin Falls. Between the alleys, I saw a homeless man with his head in his hands. There are flowers everywhere: sweet, well-groomed. They must be tough, to survive a perpetual winter .
- The sky is quieter. Does anyone think about that? Not just in the morning, either: in the way the noon sweeps to evening, in how the people smile. At night, the parties start, outside the hotel window. I wonder if the music is loud enough to reach the woman in the clouds. She seems the type to forget to look down. Here, the people sway, lips tinged with alcohol. Drunk on the landscape. I think she’d like that.