The Morning Ladies of Mondsee

In some parts, driving through Austria feels like driving through Ohio in January. It was foggy and grey. Farming fields dotted with lonely stationary equipment. Perhaps no drivers wanted to work on Fridays — but why? Isn’t Friday the best day to work?

I had a headache, the tricky kind. The kind that makes you think you can press it into nonexistence. Just hold your hand…here. now there. you lose. it’s still throbbing everywhere.

I closed my eyes and opened them in Mondsee. There’s a big lake surrounded by mountains, which the fog had erased. Stepping off the bus felt like stepping into a faded watercolor. Pastel-painted buildings. Trees that held white air. I made the sign of the cross in the church where Maria became a Von Trapp.

But take me back to that bakery — where the coffee cured the pain and the morning instantly cleared. I ate a square cheese danish and watched the women in the corner; it was conviviality in bright color. I bet they sat there every week.

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