I was on the R train heading north. My iPod was shuffling through my song list and up came She’s Crafty by the Beastie Boys (yes, I have the Beastie Boys on my iPod … tell me you never liked them!)
She’s Crafty … I was immediately transported to Prague. I’d gone to a party, the kind where you just keep staying and suddenly it’s the next day and you haven’t gone home yet. I left with Marek, Vladimir, Yana and Jiři. We walked through town in the quiet early morning, Marek and Jiři planned our next move, Yana and I stuttered our way through figuring how many words we had in common, and Vlad floated along drunk and half asleep behind us.
We stopped at an apartment building. The guys went in and Yana and I sat on the curb, happy in our discovery that we both spoke French and could actually have a real conversation. The guys came out with a bag full of Slivky, the cheap, tinned version of Slivovice, the strong and sweet plum brandy that had been flowing freely at the party.
We started walking again, Marek saying we were heading to another friend’s house to continue our party. We walked and walked and eventually reached the cemetery where Kafka is buried. Jiři was friends with a man who was maybe the caretaker, or who maybe just had use of the house we walked to in the middle of the graveyard. The place was large and beautiful and nearly empty. Jiři opened the Slivky and everyone started drinking. Marek’s friend (Hunza? Something like that.) set up a boom box in a room that looked like it should have been a ballroom — chandeliers, mirrors, pretty wood floors for dancing.
I took the Beastie tape out of my Walkman and put it on. Marek went insane. He fell completely in love in about six seconds. He started dancing around the room, flinging his lanky body from one end to the other. He danced like it was the only thing left to do in the world, and he was mesmerizing, long wave of blond hair punctuating every move, wild eyes flashing laughter at me each time he danced near.
We stayed in the cemetery for hours. Yana went outside to sleep on one of the stone benches, like a cat in the sun. Vlad curled up on the floor. Jiři and Marek just kept drinking and dancing and drinking and dancing, all to my Beastie Boys tape. When Jiři finally gave out, Marek brought me home, walking me seemingly clear to the other end of the city before riding the tram with me out to the apartment I’d rented. When we said goodbye, I took the tape out of my Walkman and gave it to him. There was no way I was ever going to enjoy that music as much as he did.
Hmm … so I kind of turned today’s SOL into a Memoir Monday, didn’t I? In any case, check out the rest of the slices of life over at Stacey and Ruth’s.