Murdo quietly crooned ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ as he danced between his bed and a chest of drawers. Any louder and he’d piss off Mrs. Levine who lived in the apartment next to his and had the amazing ability of being able to hear him breathe. Too loudly, obviously. When she saw him, she was always ready with a complaint. Yesterday it had been his electric toothbrush disturbing her. Murdo had this image of her sitting with her ear to the wall waiting for a reason to knock on his door. Well, he was away for a week, maybe more, so at least he’d be spared those encounters, as well as being removed from the temptation to fling open his door with just a towel wrapped around his hips.
His ski gear was in its own bag, and he was only packing a small suitcase on the basis that he could either get his stuff laundered or buy extra if he stayed away longer than the week he’d planned. His accommodation was booked for the next two nights, and he’d wing it after that. Snow chains had been purchased—just in case, the first part of his route planned, and in less than four hours he should be at the Quality Comfort Inn in Ancatch, New Hampshire, with its promised outdoor hot tub and fabulous mountain views. He couldn’t wait.
Murdo’s marking was done, his lectures prepared for the first two weeks of the spring term, and the only work he needed to do was occasionally check his emails in case a student was having a meltdown. He was enjoying his job as a maths—or math as he was still trying to remember to say to any American—lecturer at Harvard… Harvard! He still couldn’t even think of Harvard without gulping. Though he wasn’t sure how long he’d stay. The pay was okay but not brilliant, and although money wasn’t everything, there wasn’t much you could do without it, and a lot you could do with it.
More importantly, even after moving all the way to another country in the hope of a fresh start, after five months here, Murdo still felt unsettled. To be fair, it was the same unsettled feeling that he’d had for as long as he could remember, as if he was looking for something without knowing exactly what that something was and feeling on edge because he’d not found it. Something or somewhere or someone? All three?
Murdo called it his Greener Grass Syndrome. One that he’d brought on himself because things had to feel right. He’d had a few someones who’d turned into boyfriends, though none had ended up being the right someone for him. Or rather, they’d spotted greener grass elsewhere. Being dumped by everyone he’d been with had dented Murdo’s delicately balanced confidence, the seesaw on which he persistently wobbled. Because you’re not good enough said that familiar voice in his head. Yes, I am Murdo said back.
A lecturer at Harvard and he still heard himself being called useless. When was he going to shake that off? Never chimed his other self.
Oh bugger off.