Monday, March 2, 2009

leaving praha

we have one odd hour to kill before i take my train. L. laying on the ground, singing "little person" to herself while czech announcements play (always preluded by organ music) and drilling from the station construction rattles. we are sitting on cold concrete indoors and i'm reminded of katka in slovakia eight years ago, when she told all of the girls in our group the superstition about how your ovaries will freeze over if you sit on the ground. i wonder if the czech republic has the same superstition, since they were once part of the same country.

we are still bundled up, even though we are indoors. it's cold. now L. is sitting up and putting on her headphones because she just has to actually hear the song. she has red yarn in her hair but the rest of her clothes are gray and pale blue. she is singing along to the music, kind of loudly, like an eight year old little girl, and sometimes looking at me and beaming a big smile as she goes. sometimes i think we must look like a pair of mismatched "american girls" dolls together, she in her soft pastels and country fabrics, skirt layers over courderoys, pale rose porcelain skin, long curly tangles, and me in my dirty city boots and legwarmers, tights, browns and blacks and bright teal, kitchen scissor bangs, mascara, red scarf.

she is in a daze now, watching strangers and absently singing to herself, and i'm tempted to pick up my book, because i can't get tomas and tereza out of my mind. but it is our last hour together until, when, we're not sure, maybe two weeks or maybe six months, and i think we both want to be present with each other and talk, or something. i already passed her the cuff, and she gave me a beautiful drawing (of winter now, and spring soon), and we talked about our time in wroclaw and in prague and also about all that is yet to come, and we made long lists and thin sandwiches. but there's still time left and really mostly, it just feels normal to just be normal.

straight ahead is a deli with a sign reading "obcerstvem lahudky," selling rolls and bottled water, and to its left is a money exchange place where everything seems to be in english. and between here and there are payphones and WCs that are no longer in order (L. checked, there are only new ones around the corner, but they charge money, and we're out). pigeons, flying around indoors and waddling close, curious what crumbs we may have dropped from our very carefully rationed cheese and jam concoctions. construction zone blocked off and geometric red ceiling. a sign for the narodni divadlo opera - evzen oregin. the photo is of a man's dress shirt (white), unbuttoned on a coat hanger, with an old dingy letter sticking out of the pocket. shadows behind and a cast of greenish light over the whole thing. premiery: 20 a. 22.3.2009. suitcases rolling past us, and more organ music, and more drilling.

"okay, ready?" she says. "this line is for us!"

as she starts to sing it, i realize that she has moved on to denison witmer, and we look at each other with understanding eyes and grin as we mouth the words together:

"and it's easier, i'm sure, to use a city map
but can't you find yourself by wandering till the parts connect?"

1 comment:

ptr grg knt said...

I can see it I can hear it too