After rehearsal last night, I sat at the edge of the Vltava river, sort of mourning a non-relationship relationship that ended. The full moon hung in the distance as a patch of lightening in the far off velvety sky flickered and reminded us of things that exist in far off places. Like missed family and friends and bills that need to be paid and laundry to be done and stupid elections.
I’d gone to the spot where he and I had hung out and to the bar that served the beer he liked. Yes, I secretly hoped that maybe he would be there, too. You know, just there. Waiting for me. But what I found was a plastic cup turned over and crushed onto the tap signaling that the beer was…out. Done. I took that as a sign. Done. Out. Over. I switched gears and ordered a Pale Ale in my limited Czech and sat myself down at the river.I sat alone between other couples enjoying one another and friends sharing wine. I took my shoes off and made friends with the ducks swimming quietly in the moonlit water. I resisted the urge to call a friend to join me or play on Facebook to ward off the healing feeling of feeling alone.
The non-relationship relationship ended with a text, in Czech (thank you Google), that said he had too many worries and troubles and didn’t want to burden me with them. Ok. Fine. I can get down with that. Whatever. As I sat at the river, with my legs crossed over one another in what I like to call a sultry-ish pretzel, I pulled my shoulders back and simply let the balmy night smooth my forehead with a gentle hand and tell me it was gonna be okay.
Later, at home, via Facebook messenger, I told my girlfriend that it was over and I sort of said, “What does it matter?” …I don’t like to feel too many feelings or share this sort of thing with people live. She knows this. That’s why I told her. She encouraged me to go ahead and be bummed. Writing is my form of being bummed.
What does it matter? I am on a journey. This is one step closer to love, I told her. It will happen. I’m moving on. Blah-blah. Luckily, I didn’t have to dig too deep this time to remind myself of the amazing woman I am. I do deserve someone my age that will not ghost on me and not be afraid to share their “worries and troubles” with me and not use them as an excuse to not get closer. And ultimately, what does it matter? It doesn’t. This blip is so minimal in the scope of so many other things. The lightening in the distance reminds us of this.
The other night, I had a lovely time at a friend’s birthday party and enjoyed many, many cocktails. I looked nice. I felt confident. I had on lipstick and jeans that fit me. And heels! I was walking across “my” bridge, over the Vltava river, towards home. Alone. It was late. Very late. I’d done this many times before. Suddenly, instinctively, I felt something. I turned just in time to see and feel some man trying to do something to me. I say “something” because I don’t know what he wanted or why he was touching me. What he was doing. I think he went for my purse. I don’t know. What I do know is he put his hand around my mouth and was holding onto me. I screamed. I fought. I pushed him. I fell or he pushed me. I hit the ground hard on my knees. He ran. I did what I could. I used the weapon I had. I yelled after him in a hoarse, frightened, foreign voice, “Asshole!” “Coward!” “ASSHOLE!!” Until I couldn’t yell anymore. The full moon was the only witness. The balmy night wrapped her arms around me and helped me get home to where my roommate held me while I cried and then made me tea and called the police while I cried some more.
What does it matter? If he really wanted to hurt me, he could have. I don’t know why he didn’t. I’m thankful he didn’t. I now have to work through interesting panic attacks I’m having when people get too close to me. I’m now having to work on getting across the bridge at night again without hyperventilating. My girlfriends are helping me through it. A new journey has begun. This is …ok. I can let this fear grip me or I can say, What does it matter.
Yesterday, I tried a new cafe for my office. Which is where I am right now. Walking into a hip, new cafe to try out as your office is like walking into your new 10th-grade homeroom for the first time. I held my Karlovy Vary film festival book bag close to me as I navigated to my seat. With no alphabetical seating chart to assist, I was on my own. I chose to sit at a long lunch-room, communal type table, opposite a girl with a cool shaved head and a baseball cap. I sort of smiled. She sort of smiled. She returned to her shiny Mac. I pulled out my beat-up HP from 2012 only to discover I hadn’t plugged it in the night before. Battery was low. I needed an outlet. I had to move. Not fun on the first day. Everyone stares when you move. I had to do it. In three trips I moved my laptop, my Karlovy Vary book bag and my pens and pencils to a new table near an outlet. The last trip was to get my coffee. The coffee was in one of those cool glass decanters on a cool wooden tray. I used to be waitress. I decided to carry the cool wood tray and cool glass decanter full of coffee like a waitress. Well. I dropped it. I was never a very good waitress. The coffee seemed to fly in the air and quadruple flop and splash all over me and my light grey tank top and a cute couple nearby until cup and decanter landed in a loud, blustering crash on the trendy, reworked wood-beamed floor. And, just like when you drop your tray in the lunchroom, time stopped. Everyone stared. Thank God I’m an actress. I took a beat. Found my light. Then loudly delivered my sassy line,”Sorry!”
I returned today. I look nice. I’m wearing lipstick and a dress that fits. When I walked in, I raised a fist in the air and called out “ještě jednou!” (once again!) to the server who recognized me and we laughed.
We all “struggle” to work out our matters. Big and small. Scary and not scary. Hopefully we can remind ourselves that this is living. That this is life. And that’s what matters.
Ps. #Blacklivesmatter 🙂
Pss. Why I was at Karlovy Vary: