Ursula 1967

Technical Editor
Non-Fiction Editor
Academic Associate
Literary Critic

MAY 1971: At dinner my brother asks which party my father is in. "Don't you know that?" I say, astonished. I'm pleased: finally I know something my older brothers and sisters don't. "It's the SBB! (swiss national railway company)" They all laugh aloud. I run to my room, crying.

DECEMBER 1972: I sit under the Christmas tree and put plastic letters together to make words – proud that I can already write. My uncle looks at me and says: "You're not as stupid as you look."

FEBRUARY 1979: I go to the toilet in the basement of a shopping centre. When I'm in the cubicle, the lights go out. I wait for a moment, the open the door and try to leave the toilets. Someone grabs me from behind, presses something against my arm and says: "If you scream, I'll shoot."

APRIL 1994: I pass the Lic. Phil. exam. I weigh thirty-six kilos.

JULY 1999: I am in hospital for the second time during my pregnancy. I am allowed out for a short walk with my husband in town. When we return, the doctor tells me they will operate to get the baby out now. There are still six weeks to go before the due date. I am afraid.

SEPTEMBER 2001: I am ironing and watching television. Suddenly the programme is interrupted for a live broadcast and I can see the burning north tower of the World Trade Centre. The second plane flies into the South Tower. I feel sick.

AUGUST 2003: I have severe pains and take two of the pills the doctor gave me for emergencies. I realise something is wrong – and then I pass out.

AUGUST 2012: I have arranged to meet someone whose age and appearance I don't know. The square is full of people. Then I see a man and immediately know: That's him.

JANUARY 2013: My agent informs me that he has found a publisher for my manuscript and that the book will appear in autumn.

MAY 2013: I sit at a table with my father. He looks at me for a long time. Finally he asks indignantly: "Who are you?"