This is the story of Stephen. Stephen and I crossed paths in Vienna. I hope our paths cross again someday. 🙂
I get home from Bratislava with my writer friends and Stephen and I, a guy stationed in Spain with the Navy but in Vienna by himself for the weekend (from Tinder), make a plan to meet in front of McDonalds on Stephensplatz in about an hour. I change, freshen up my make up since I’d been sweating in Bratislava all day, and head out to meet him. I decide to walk, since it’s only two stops up on the metro. I am surprised that I don’t see anyone in the lobby, or at Santos as I walk by. I walk past the Church and the crowd of people gathered, talking and drinking wine, I walk past the people shopping on Stephenzplats, my hot pink headphones blasting music, trying to blend in and look like I belong. I pull it off well, because no one approaches me like a tourist. This is one of my favorite things about my time in Vienna: I belong there, or at least, I look like I do. I get asked for directions by foreign tourists and people immediately speak German to me. It makes me wish I actually could speak it back.
I arrive at McDonalds and wait. About ten minutes after our meeting time, I realize this is not the McDonalds I remember passing with Kryss and Chris after our drunken night on the canal. There must be another McDonalds further up.
I walk towards the brown church and through more shopping and I see the McDonalds sign just before I get to the church, taunting me for not realizing Stephen, who was coming from Northern Vienna, would have stopped there instead. Sure enough, he is in front of it waiting for me.
He has his sunglasses on and the sun is at a weird angle in the sky so I can’t really see his face yet but I’m pretty sure he is cute. We head back the way I came looking for an American bar to celebrate the holiday. I remember seeing two different ones earlier in the week so we search for them. It turns out, they both are called American bars but they aren’t really American. We go into one and they have the “classic cocktails” you’d expect from like a speakeasy. No sign that it is the 4th of July. We have one drink and Stephen finally takes off his sunglasses so I can see his face. He really is cute. I’m having much better luck with Tinder in Europe!
We talk a little, basic stuff to get to know each other, and decide to try again for an American bar. We give up after a little more wandering and end up at 1516. (If you read my posts about The German, I went there with him and Rachel!)
We sit down at the bar and make friends with the Canadian bartender. A few minutes into talking to Stephen I hear someone say my name. I’m confused, because no one I know was going to 1516. I turn to my left and my cousin Aaron (whom had met up with earlier in the week for dinner) is seated a few stools down from me. I’m a little tipsy at this point so I’m very flamboyant as I talk. I’m also slightly embarrassed that he’s running into me at a bar with a tinder date. We talk for a minute then I turn back to Stephen.
Stephen is very hard to read. If it weren’t for his body language and they way he leans into me, I wouldn’t know if he likes me. At one point he tells me that he was nervous meeting me because he wasn’t sure if I was attractive. He tells me I only look good in a couple of my tinder pictures. I pull out my phone and make him tell me which photos he doesn’t think look good. We have a good laugh about it and I call him an asshole. At least he thought I was in person.
We get very, very drunk at 1516. I have to take the train at 6am the next morning so I’m weary of staying out late, but I do not want to leave him yet. We decide to go find somewhere to drink good beer. Stephen thinks he knows a place.
We get on the subway and head up to Schwedenplatz. I am starving when we get off and head over to a food truck type thing to order pizza. The slices are the size of my head and I’m drunk, trying to talk to the guy to order who clearly only speaks German. A girl next to me is cracking up but manages to help me tell him I only want one slice, not the two he is trying to give me. I pay him like a euro– it was cheap! — and head back over to Stephen who is laughing at me. I scarf it down in about two minutes.
Stephen is trying to find a certain place but we keep getting lost. At one point, he runs into the Hard Rock to pee. I’m standing up front a see a sign that reads “4th of July Party 6p-10p”. I point this out to him as we leave. I never thought about the Hard Rock and now it is well past 10pm.
We finally manage to find the bar Stephen has been looking for. We sit down and I am way too drunk. I can’t order another drink. We get up and leave instead.
In the subway station, I push him against a wall and we start making out.
“I don’t usually do things like this,” he tells me. He’s a guy so I am not one to believe what they say so I just laugh. He makes a comment about me that sounds like I’m a slut. I know he is joking but I fake being offended and push him away. He follows me, grabs my wrist, and pulls me back into a kiss, a smile on his lips.
I can’t stop touching him as we ride the subway. I don’t know how it’s decided but we end up back in my hotel room.
We don’t stay up too much later since it is so late and I have to leave for the train, which is across town, early. So after what feels like a short nap, I’m waking him up, getting my bag ready and we head back to the subway. My stop is farther than his. He squeezes my leg before standing and exiting the subway.
I think I will never see him again. Some good things are meant to stay stagnant like that. But I’m pleasantly surprised when the next day, the day I know he is leaving, he texts me wanting to get lunch.
I don’t have much time, but I meet him and we walk around a little bit before getting lunch and a beer at a cute place in Karlzplatz park area. Once we eat, we go to my room and make out. We say goodbye and I feel sadness creep over me a bit, knowing this is it, the last time I’ll see him. I’m the last one rushing into my workshop, a couple minutes late, the taste of his kiss still hot on my lips.
We are facebook friends and we chat every so often on whatsapp but I will probably never see Stephen again. I’m glad I met him though. I wouldn’t change how I spent that 4th of July. Not for a second.