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Over the Alte Donau and Far Away

I have a recklessly stupid crush and it’s made me absolutely useless. Honestly, just take me out to pasture and shoot me: I am a horse with a broken leg. I am a rabid dog. I am beyond saving.

My dad has this whole thing, where he says if he ever gets dementia or Alzheimer’s I am not to put him in a home, rather I must lead him out into the woods and just leave him there to die. The Hansel and Gretel treatment, he calls it.

Anyways, I cannot be trusted to be of sound mind anymore. Lead me out into the woods, Hansel and Gretel me. I will die when I find a gingerbread house and I am unwilling to gluten myself, so I go right into the witch’s oven trying to clean it, or to teach her how to improve her gingerbread baking technique so as to withstand the weather.

I am good for absolutely nothing but gingerbread architecture and whining about the fucking pointless dead-end crush that has taken over my brain..I have been trying to outrun it, to swim across the Alte Donau just to escape it.

I’ve never been much of a swimmer.

In which case,

Why don’t you stay here a little while?
I have room on my blanket for us both,
I have a nice little spot in the shade.

You bring the sun to this city,
It’s unbearable, really.

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It was a dark and stormy night…

Rather, it is a dark and stormy night in Wien, and what better time to break in my new Marilyn pen and a new journal that’s been sitting on my bookshelf, looking for a reason to be of use. What better way to do so than by candlelight, in the midst of a June thunderstorm, with a glass of wine perched on the windowsill and the window open to the elements, carrying in the occasional rebellious raindrop who refuses to be forced to the cobblestones of the courtyard. I am grateful to be in the company of such determined, feisty raindrops, we all refuse to be pushed down.

I did not get kissed in the rain today.
Then again, she wasn’t with me when it rained.

Both F. and I had exciting dates or some-such-similar outings this weekend, and we knew the weather forecast was troublesome, so we agreed: we would both go out and get kissed in the rain. We both seem to have failed in our goal. So after today, after another message where I said,

“Nothing happened.”

He said,

“Maybe she didn’t kiss you because it didn’t rain.”
“Yes, she looked at me and thought ‘This is a woman who deserves to be kissed in the rain””

But tonight, when the rain started to fall in F.’s neighborhood, when I was all alone and finishing up dinner he sent me an urgent voice message:

“Well, it’s started to rain, call her. Call her now.”

I told F. I would go walk home in the rain and text her to say I was doing so.

“Send her a picture of you being wet”

I joked that I would dump a bottle of water on my head if it’s what it took.

He said,
“I will stand on a chair over you and dump the bucket of water and then tell her to come closer”

“You are a true friend and wingman”

“I know right?”

“Yes precisely, just shout ‘HERE PRETTY GIRL, SHE IS READY FOR YOU!”

“I am standing and waiting for the rain, it’s a plot point now.”

I watched the thunderstorms from the Albertina platform, overlooking the opera house and the Instagrammers. The photographers got rained out, and I remained to watch the lightning.

I heard from a few friends that it was raining some series of cliches in their neck of the woods: cats and dogs, buckets, a flood, etc.

I stood in the drizzle watching the lightning and sweating in the ever-building humidity, thinking about her, getting hot in the German sense of the word. I had a paper bag in my hand with a wine bottle inside, and the wine bottle had a label with an umbrella, but I didn’t have an umbrella myself. So, I stood in the drizzle and gambled that after all this time I still love the rain.

After all this time, I still love the rain. Even if I am not getting kissed in it.

So, I turned and descended the stairs just as the rain started, and I reached the bottom of the steps and stood on the large stretch of the sidewalk while everyone still left on the street ran for cover, and I put the paper bag down by my feet, and I tucked my phone away safely in my purse, and I looked at the sky, closed my eyes, and waited.

I got soaked.

I was laughing between mouthfuls of rainwater. In the mere moments I stood there with the blissful cool of the water on my shoulders, seeping through my red sweater, the bag holding my wine bottle became so drenched it threatened to give way when I lifted it back up.

I walked home, barely a block away, but I was already drenched. Every thread of hair and fabric saturated. I went past a series of people sheltering under the awnings of art galleries, and one lesbian couple looked at me and said “Poor you” and I yelled at them and the others crowded under the archways,

Live a little!”

then I leaned my head back to take a drink of the rain, and to laugh, and I think I convinced at least one woman, who stepped out into the rain, gently. I don’t know if she stayed there.

I continued on my way home, sopping and delirious.

I stopped in the entryway to take a photo, and I sent it to her, hoping she would say-

I wish I was with you

Or

I am already on the subway heading toward you.

Or

I should have kissed you already but I was waiting for it to rain.
Because you look like a woman who deserves to be kissed in the rain.

So, it rained today and I didn’t get kissed but I did get soaked, and I did sit at home by my open window, drinking umbrella-label wine, and writing by candlelight, wrapped in a towel and stripped of my clothes, and at some point, I let the towel drop, then I let the pen drop, and I rolled the chilled bulb of the wine glass back and forth across my breasts and thought of how cold her hands are, and how warm the June air is, and how maybe it was excuse enough to call her and say:

“It rained at last, and you weren’t there to kiss me.“

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