Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
Glory. I’ve uncovered a notebook from my first trip to Europe six years ago. I was absolutely terrified! Reading this reminds me how new I have become in the last few years. In many ways the words ring like they were scrawled by a stranger, but there are some familiar themes.
In the Frankfurt airport, I realize I’ve been wearing the same shoes and socks for about 26 hours. Also, traveling children seem to be permitted expensive food and obnoxious hair. Old people are universally adorable. I’m not sure who is a pilot and who just has flair on his lapel. The only place to sit is across from the Beate Uhse, which has neon green underwear in the window and black-whip-like strands for curtains. Oh, and I’m a nervous wreck.
All the German has fallen out of my head, but at the left luggage office, the clerks are both English-speaking immigrants and both exceptionally friendly. “Where do you go?”
“Uh.” (Strangers! Be vague!) “Uh, Prague.”
“Ohhhh. Yes, yes, yes, you are not from here. I know. You are so nice.”
“I’m an American.”
“Yes, I can tell. So nice.”
I’m trying. I can tell I’m smiling. People keep looking at me with confusion. So maybe I should be paying more attention. I should be nice nonetheless, smile nonetheless. Check that heavy anxiety here with my suitcase and see what there is to see. And convince myself that it’s okay to get one of those twelve-dollar sandwiches while I wait on my still-delayed bravery.
–Frankfurt Airport, Germany. January 2006.
–To be continued in Prague…