One of the most colorful and stunning cities I have ever encountered.
This visit to Prague marked my second time in the city. The first time was eight years ago when my frame of mind was, well, crap (see “‘Twas the night before London“). It is the only city I have been back to thus far that conjures up memories of myself as a very different person.
I can recall bits and pieces about my first visit. I stayed at the Clown and Bard. I walked across The Charles Bridge, up to the palace. I peeked through the gates of the Jewish cemetery. I ate pizza and drank Bud (the mmmgood Czech version). I went to Kutna Hora to check out the Sedlic Ossuary.
And then there were the memories that popped back into my brain while I was there.
Some of those little memories were OK. Like, remembering I went to get sushi near the Charles Bridge. Or, that I stopped into an internet cafe to check e-mail.
What wasn’t expect were those lovely supressed memories. The ones that, when recalled, make me feel like bitch-slapping them across their ugly little faces.
I was on my Prague walkabout when it hit me.
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, May 1, so the city was buzzing with celebrations. I had just walked through Prague’s largest cemetery and had turned down another road when, BAM! Right there, smack in my face, was a building.
The Communist-era building hung, gray in the air, rusty and sagging, in front of me. The little porches looked as if they were hanging by nails, as if a foot coming down on it would cause its demise.
I knew this building.
I had come across this building the last time I was there. When my sadness reflected off of the sad structure. I had stood next to this building on Valentines Day, 2002.
A pile of stress and tears due to T (the man who I allowed torment my heart for years), I had walked outside of Clown and Bard to find a phone card so I could call him. Wish him a Happy Valentines Day.
It was nighttime and cold, and I was outside, searching frantically for a pay phone so I could call him and send him my love before he went to work back in Baltimore.
I walked and walked, my desperation growing every minute that passed without coming across a phone.
Then, I walked by the old, depressing apartment building.
It gave me the chills. It intimidated me. It made the area seem so … creepy, so foreboding.
I held the phone card in my hand, an airbrushed little girl with blonde ringlets spilling out of her head. I remember being jealous of her.
I bet, when she grows up, her boyfriend will love her.
I picked up the phone and dialed T’s number.
And then the memory is gone.
Blissfully. Perfectly. Sweetly.
I was brought back into the moment. Walking in Prague. Enjoying the sunny, warm day. Headed to the Lennon Wall.
Creating new memories that won’t be supressed.
Prague was my free therapy.