11.17.2013 Journal Prompt

Photo by Leon Levinstein
Photo by Leon Levinstein

November 17, 2013: Just them.

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3 thoughts on “11.17.2013 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    Some nights we go into town. Into the old part. By tram, some nights, the number 17 or the number 53. Or we take the metro to Staromestska and then we walk past the Charles Bridge, pausing to count the swans adrift on the Vlatava. They say that swans carry the souls of the dead or that they are angels in disguise. They are not to be shot, at least, or caught in nets and eaten like ducks or fish. It is the same in England, I think, but that is because there is a fairytale Queen there who offers protection to all swans in her kingdom.

    And some nights we sing and dance in the street, on Smetanovo nábřeží, there where once stood soldiers with guns aimed at students who did only sing songs. And we do not think of the students who fell long ago. And sometimes there is a woman there, grey in her hair, and she shakes her balled fist at us and she says we have no respect. Her name is Květa and we tell her we are sorry and we walk more stiffly and we hold onto our singing until we get to Karlovy Lazne.

    By we, I mean Eliška and Mikuláš and me. We three, and it was always so. And I love them both, Eliška and Mikuláš, and I love them in different ways.

    Eliška, and she was always the most beautiful girl in school and now I think she is the most beautiful girl in all of Prague, and Eliška was the first girl I ever kissed. And she laughs at the kiss today, but for me it is a small wounded bird that I hold in my hands, and I hold it so close I can blow into its beak and it closes its eyes and its little heart beats faster. I tell Eliška I love her when I have drunk too much Dutch beer, and she laughs at that, too, and she says she loves me back, but it is not the same love we are talking of.

    And Mikuláš, and he was mine before he was anybody’s. Fifteen and he said that he loved me and always would, and so we slept one night in the same bed, and we woke up changed and older than our years. And I tell him I love him, too, same as Eliška, and he kisses me and he holds my hand in a small press; but I know he holds Eliška’s hand with more love.

    And at Karlovy Lazne the music is so loud that I can say what I want to say, and I know they do not hear me. I wear a smile and tell them I want them. I want them both. And I want them to want only me. And we dance together and everybody in the place laughs, and I think they laugh because they can see the fool that I am. And so, after a while, I leave them to it, Eliška and Mikuláš. And I stand a little way off and I watch them dancing. Just them, and no one else in all the world, and I see the way his body moves against hers and how she touches him in small ways, and I swear against them, bitter curses; and if they see me I smile and wave so they do not know.

    And the swans are as white as snow or clouds against the black water of the Vlatava, and I make prayers to them when I am by myself, and I offer up my soul to them, and all I ask in return is for the music to stop, and the singing, and maybe for the hurt in me to be a little smaller. And Květa sees me at my prayers, some days she does, and she misunderstands and she nods and smiles and walks away.

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