on the road

fourteen days.

arrival in istanbul at five in the morning. first cup of coffee at gloria jean’s. arriving in prague a few hours later. my home for the following week becomes the same house where my mother and later both my parents used to live more than twenty years ago. watching television at night in that small aparment downstairs knowing I used to sleep in the next room as a six month old baby is a strange but a nice feeling at the same time. going back to the airport on the same day to pick up a friend who flew down to prague from england just to visit me. but he wouldn’t admit that. dinner with friends, a couple of drinks on a balcony, watching the sunset. picking up warm baggles and bottled milk in the same fifty year old bakery. taking the tram downtown, stopping for a cup of coffee at gloria jean’s at malostranska. during the first week it became a habit. walking around, taking pictures. eating hot dogs for lunch and dinner because in prague they are just that good. taking a bus to a town a hundred kilometers away to see one of my oldest friends. and what could have been my only love, but only remained the first one. now that I’ve written it out here it seems as if I’ve broken some unspeakable something. but that’s just the way it is. he and his best friend picked me up at the bus station, we purchased the basics at a supermarket and spent the night with a group of friends at their summerhouse. it was an amazing night and I suppose a single night like that every two years is all we need really.

I took the same bus back to prague to meet with friends from aberdeen, amsterdam and decin. three white russians and a couple of hours worth of life stories and laughs. old town is beautiful at night and even more so the prague castle. it glows in its entire majesty and greatness. the first week it was cold and rained often so I spent a couple of afternoons in the cinema. horrible bosses, the lincoln lawyer, rise of the planet of the apes (twice) and conan the barbarian. somewhere in the middle of the week I gave up on buying transport tickets. many afternoons are spent with kryspin. it’s been really great knowning him. I met a poet from california in nerudova street, we had a drink together and shared thoughts on plath, yeats and capek’s literature. later as I walked up the street to prague castle I shared a few words with a boy from aruba. it was an incredible night. prague glowing, tourists taking pictures, people laughing. then there was a night of gypsy music with old friends from all over the world, visits to kafka’s birthplace, walking around vysehrad thinking how little has changed. vaclavske namesti is scary at night but nothing can surprise me anymore. as we sat behind the national theatre a drunken boy from slovakia approached us, we drank, laughed together. and then I lost him on the way home. his yellow cardigan shining in the flicker of old street lamps.

lunches, coffees, dinners around the city with various people. meeting with childhood friends after too many years. realizing how fast the time passes, realizing we’re getting old. evening on the balcony with homemade pizza, nirvana and eric clapton’s unplugged, a bottle of medovina and shisha. listening to and sitting in silence. sleeping on couches and in sleeping bags. taking the train from and to the city. listening to music, writing in a notebook spread out on my knees. beeping of the metro doors closing. spending an afternoon at letna; a park where I first held a tennis racquet. walking through kampa park every day; a park where I grew up. afternoons at shakespeare & sons. drinking mulled wine while sitting on a sidewalk looking up the charles bridge and watching people pass me by. long walks through the night, jumping on the tram at three am. glowing cathedrals and dark alleys. bike rides through the white mountain neighbourhood and through the woods of southern bohemia. reading extremely loud & incredibly close by jonathan safran foer, thinking him and nicole are the same person. loving the book, falling asleep whilst watching the stars on the night sky. which is something I haven’t witnessed for many long months.

to be continued.

August 22, 2011