I don’t want to end this story because it was much to beautiful to close the book. But, I have to be a realist sometime. I can’t always be the dreamer.
I fell in love with Chris the way that only movies dictate. I didn’t believe it was possible to care so much about a human being that fast. But it is. And even though now we slowly stopped speaking. Even though it may have meant way less to him. I will never look back on my time in Vienna and think that there was no love there. Maybe it was puppy love, maybe it was just Vienna. Maybe I fell in love with Vienna the most, and Chris a little. Whatever the case, it was all worth it. I would do it over again in a heartbeat even knowing the ending.
You only meet people like Chris on few occasions in your life. They are meant to teach you something and when you find them, you have to listen very closely. You have to take note of how your heart flutters, how your hands shake, how alive you really feel. He brought be to life again. I don’t even think anyone realized how dead I was before him. It took me so long to feel okay after Jason. So.Fucking.LONG. And when I fell for Chris, I didn’t think about the consequences… and it was beautiful.
American men are not of his caliber. I think that is the biggest problem for me. Since Chris, I’ve only had one signifcant guy that I can really write about (and I will, no worries) but he wasn’t at all who I thought he’d be. I expected this really nice guy, but it turned out he just wanted to get in my pants and never talk to me again. What’s new. Europeans, though, for the most part weren’t like this. They were sweet, and tender. They were Chris. If only I could have stayed and explored that side of myself, the side that was long lost after Jason and I broke up. I missed that girl. God, I missed her so much. But being in America again makes me question how I’ll ever find her again. Did I leave her in Europe?
I must have.
So here’s the ending of something that I couldn’t even do justice in writing about. Because how the hell do you describe a feeling that you can’t literally project on others? How do you describe what heaven on earth feels like? You can’t. You just fucking can’t.
The last time I see Chris, I’m standing in an elevator headed below ground to the subway. He is on the other side of the door, and they close and before I press the button to go down, he stands on the other side of the glass. No words, just a look, a look I will never, ever forget. I took a mental snapshot, remembering the movie Elizabeth town and the Last Look. Because even as much as I wished it were not, I know that this is a Last Look.
I had a similar feeling the last time I ever saw Jason. We had, what I like to call, a relapse about two weeks after we broke up. I came to his house to pick up some things and one thing led to another. He made all these promises about giving him time. And I made promises to do it. I’m walking out of his house, putting things into my car. He’s barefoot and I can tell he wants to go back inside. He looks at me, his face sad but I think we both knew that the words he was saying weren’t truths. “This won’t be the last time. Yes, you’ll see me again,” he said to me. “Promise?” “Yes, I promise.” But the words were all wrong. I felt it in the pit of my stomach. Promise should have been Goodbye. And it was. I never saw him again, just like I suspected.
So here it is. Here is the story of my last special night with Chris. May I always feel the love I felt that night, and never forget that it is possible, even on the worst of days.
You should come here.
I look at the clock. It is 12:07PM. There is no way in hell I can make it to his apartment and back in time for tutorial.
I have tutorial at two. I can’t hang out this afternoon but I will text you when I’m done with dinner.
I am super bummed that Chris is not in my bed when I get back to my hotel but I could barely stay awake in class so even though I am tempted to take the subway and spend a little time with Chris, I also need this nap more than anything. We had too much fun last night at the karaoke bar.
I sleep heavily then head off to a rather nice tutorial. After tutorial we have graduation and a farewell dinner. It is so hard meeting such lovely people and knowing tomorrow we must all separate. It is so sad.
On the bus back I text Chris and tell him I should be back to the hotel in 30 minutes or so. We get back, I change into a shiny peplum, say some goodbyes and then a group of us heads to Santos.
Oh, Santos. Who would have ever guessed that a Mexican bar in would be where I’d spend the majority of days eating or pregaming at. Santos was like a second home. I even have a funny story with the bartender but that’s another post.
We are having such a lovely time, I order a drink that has ten million kinds of alcohol in it, including absynthe because I’m a boss like that. Rena drinks and is absolutely hilarious. SO ADORABLE. Kathy, Rena, Vic, Kryss and I all talk and then Jake and his wife show up. They are so lovely as well. There are more people at the end of the table but I can hardly remember who.
Chris finally shows up and orders a coke. He tells me that when he left in the morning he went to the doctor because he has a bad headache. He isn’t allowed to drink with the medicine. Jake’s wife is actually German so after we take some cute pictures, I let his hand slip from my thigh and I let him talk to her while I question Brianna and her boyfriend about their relationship. I’m super nosy but that is just who I am and Vic and Kryss don’t stop me. When Jake and his wife finally leave, I sit with Chris again. People slowly trickle out and finally Santos is closing and we must leave. Vic asks me if I still want to go out and live it up for our last night like I had been saying all day. I tell her that I’m a fraud and need sleep.
We say goodbyes in the hotel lobby and I try not to cry. It is so sad I can hardly keep it together but we assure each other it is not goodbye, it is see you later.
Chris and I head back up to my room, I change into sleep clothes and start taking off jewelry. I turn to look at him and he’s been sitting on the bed staring at me.
“I’m really going to miss you,” he says.
My heart flutters and I’m so caught off guard but I say, “I’m really going to miss you, too.”
“I mean it,” he says. I walk over and kiss him because what the hell else do you do?
The night is special, and so is the morning.
In the words of Taylor Swift, “His hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room…”
I am all packed when we wake up and I try to play it cool. I don’t want him to realize how much this changed me. He jokes about putting cocaine in my luggage so they will find it and then I have to stay. I tell him I miss Jude and I have to leave. But I also tell him how badly I wish I could stay.
He helps me with my suitcase. I check out, and while I do, Bob, Allison and Micah all come in the front door. They say bye to me and head upstairs but Micah stays for a moment. We hug, super tightly, and I want to cry. Micah is so brilliant, and beautiful, and so damn wonderful. I have never met a soul as lovely as his own. He is a presence that just lights you up. He is fucking magic. I can’t describe him any other way. It was so perfect that Micah and Chris were my final goodbyes. Way too fucking perfect.
Chris helps me all the way to the elevator down the street. We hug and kiss but it is time, I must go. When I enter elevator, I lose part of myself. Vienna Katie is over. No more writing classes, no more new friends, no more European lover.
It’s over. All of it. And I have to learn to accept that. I have to stop living in the past.
I will forever think back on Vienna and think of love. There were other boys, don’t get me wrong. But none of them changed me the way Chris did. None of them helped me believe love was possible again. I’d spent months thinking that maybe my whole life had been a sham and I’d never really loved anyone. But I was so fucking wrong. Love is different every time. Love can make you feel every kind of way. Just because it was shorter, doesn’t make it any less real.
I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly, and then all at once. (John Green)
So thank you, Chris. Thank you for giving me something to believe in again.