Glowing sunrises and sunsets illuminate the Vltava, the Castle and my favorite verdant wooded escape, Petrin Hill. Days pass and sometimes after midnight I found myself under the watchful eyes of statues and saints, sitting cross legged on the edges of the Charles bridge scribbling my blues away.
One of my favorite journalists said that Prague was a place to explore loneliness and she wasn’t kidding. I have never been so surrounded by happy kissing couples as I am in Prague and here I see it every day. A walk through Kampa park gives way to blankets and benches full of intertwined arms and legs. She sits facing him on the bench, tanned legs around his him from her short pleated tennis skirt. She is bent toward him, long pony tail thrashing against both their enmeshed faces.
I walk past, not knowing what expression to set my face at since my emotions are hot and confused. I miss being in love but not the pain it brings now. Nothing is forever and no matter how good it can be, this undertow of loneliness can be so sharp. I always thought this type of missing would have dwindled now to a distant throbbing bleep. It has not.
I still see the ghost of my past. When I force him from my dreams he comes to haunt me by day. I see him waving to the woman behind me from a window, fleeing from me as the tram whizzes away, kissing the girl in the tan trench coat in the red caboose as it heads over the Legli most. Sometimes he’s up ahead of me as I walk to work in the morning through old town, Narodni, his loping stride and black curly hair, turning the corner and disappearing again. The ghost that followed me from my past appears in the distance, always waving to the woman behind me or wrapped in another’s embrace.
On foreign soil, it is so vivid, this contrast between me and the happy people. Even as my life is turning bright again from within, a different sort of light. I feel the sunlight on my leg, creeping toward my center, playing its pretty games with my libido, my body responsive to the warmth. I have to be in love for it to mean anything. Is it really best to have loved and lost?
June in Prague, and the flowers in Kampa Park are in full bloom, the trees all verdant shades of dangling hearts and rainbows of O’Keeffe abstracts. I text a friend and head across the Charles bridge to Duende in Old Town.