When I was five years old my father left us to live in the Swiss Alps. He booked into the luxurious Hotel Pischa that overlooked the quaint town of Davos - a coveted village for the rich and famous, renowned for its winter sports. Our house in Basel felt empty after he moved out and my older brother and I found it unfair that he lived in the lap of luxury while my mother struggled to make ends meet. Every time she got off the phone with him she cried. It took six months before he invited us to come up and see him. We were excited, glued to the window as we traveled by train, watching the dreary landscape give way to forests, lakes and snow covered peaks.
He welcomed us outside the hotel with a big smile, handing my brother and me a Swiss pocket knife. He looked thinner than I had remembered him, but he had a tan. "I have my own balcony where I sit every day soaking up the sun," he said, laughing. But he didn't invite us in, though we begged. Instead, we went for a long walk along the promenade above the hotel. Soon he tired and we turned in at the nearest restaurant and ordered röschti. My mother sat close to him and I hoped they might patch things up. Back on the train my brother blurted out, "I hate Dad for leaving us."
Mom put her hand on his arm. "He never wanted to leave us. Hotel Pischa is really a sanatorium. He's very ill - tuberculosis. This week he is going into surgery."
submitted at 10:26pm
9 April 2012
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