The next time I saw Chris, he met up with Rachel and I at 1516 (an expat bar off stephensplatz) after Rachel and I had one too many drinks. To be honest, I don’t think either of us remember getting there. I do, however, remember how amazing those potato wedges with cheese and ranch were. Or maybe I was just drunk and excited about the prospect of ranch in Europe. But I digress…
We sit at a small table and talk and laugh and Chris eats some food. When it’s time to leave, Chris walks his motorcycle with us to our hotel since it is very late and we felt much safer with him by our side. When we get one street away, we let him ride it the rest of the way and we walk. Rachel thinks he is the sweetest as well. How could you not?
When we get back to the hotel, Rachel turns in for the night but Kryss is outside smoking a cigarette. “Where the hell did you guys go?” she asks. Rachel and I had been with her, Beth and Gabrielle earlier in the night but in a drunken stupor we had lost them, found a bartender who bought us drinks and sat on a swing talking for what had to be over an hour before finding our way to 1516. I tell her all of this and she smiles when Chris walks up, finally done parking. She gives me a look and then hugs him when he approaches.
The three of us sit in the hotel lobby drinking for a while. I get tired but have a happy calm feeling about me because two people I care so dearly about are talking with such excitement. I’m in a daze, but a happy one, until finally I feel the lure of sleep creeping over me and I know any second my eyes will close heavy and both of their pretty faces will be lost. I can’t sleep in this chair, I think to myself. I need a bed! That is exactly what I announce. I tell Chris he can stay and talk to Kryss but he comes with me and we lay down and it is not long before I am dreaming and it feels so good to dream with him holding me the way he does.
The next morning we depart, me for breakfast downstairs, and him to his place. I am smiling all morning.
Chris has to work the next night but on my last Thursday before I must leave, he meets up with Kryss, Vic and I. We are determined to show Vic the gay jewish bar from Kryss and I’s first night. DETEREMINED. However, we should have known that a Saturday night at a GJB is much livelier than a Thursday. We enter the bar (which is located in Karlsplatz) and are sad to see a sign that tells us we must go upstairs to drink. No upbeat dance floor open, unfortunately. So we head upstairs and see very few people. An idea pops into my head: “Karaoke!” I shout much too loudly. I search google maps and find a place that’s only a ten minute walk. We head out into the night.
We walk, Chris touching my arm or my hand or my shoulder. I drink my warm beer that I have now been carrying the entire night. It is half empty, or half full. I am already so drunk from wine at the readings that I don’t need it but I paid for it so damn it I will sip on it until it is gone. I leave the beer outside of the bar on a random table. When we leave, it is still there. I think Vic drinks it. I find this amusing.
We enter down the stairs into what feels like a dungeon. There are very few people in this bar but they are either local or European. Vic and I want to sing Party in the USA and even though she’s not American, we can tell they don’t want us to sing it because they causally “forget” about us. We request another song, and the guy’s girlfriend has to vouch for us to get him to let us sing. He is too far up her ass to see straight.
Vic and I get on the stage and the wrong song comes on. After repeating it’s the wrong song a few times, Sweet Caroline finally comes on. I don’t know the first verse well so one of the guys who works at the bar comes up on stage and helps me sing the fist verse and by the chorus, Vic and I are on fire. Or at least it feels like it being so drunk. I can’t remember if this was before or after the same guy gave us free Jager shots. But he does at some point and it is perfect.
After our song is over, Chris and Kryss sing. Vic and I dance around the stage as they sing. It is pure eurphoria. To be with these lovely people and not have a care in the world… it is like magic. I wish I had better vocabulary to describe how happy they all make me.
When they finish, a group of European tourists that I never even noticed start a song and pull me on stage to sing with them. We have so much fun, singing and taking selfies. When the song is over, one of the girls gives me her number. I promise to text her the photos. I hate to say, but I never do. I can’t remember her name and I have a sneaking suspicion that I never actually saved her number. I still feel bad about this.
Finally, after beer and jager shots, I need to pee. I find the bathroom and I take a moment looking in the mirror and seeing how happy I am for myself. I can’t stop grinning. These people make me feel so good. I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be.
When I’m done, I find the clan and the bar is closing so we head up the stairs. Once on top, Chris realizes he forgot his wallet. He runs back down into the heat. We find my beer on the table and I think this is when Vic takes it. Chris comes back up and we head back to the hotel. Chris and I are leading, our arms tangled around each other’s hips and shoulders. We talk about getting married again and he thinks I’m joking. He doesn’t know how much of a dreamer I am. He doesn’t realize how much I love a good story to tell. We get lost kind of because neither of us are really paying any attention to anything other than each other. We end up taking double the amount of time to get home but I don’t mind.
We get back to the hotel and the world gets fuzzy. I’m sure the night is memorable, but all I can remember are his words when his body is wrapped around mine. I remember him telling me he will stay with me in the morning and wait until I finish class. I remember how he wanted time with me.
The next morning, I wake up early and get ready for class, my head feeling terrible. I try not to wake him up but he stirs and he is adorable sleeping there. There’s something so beautiful about someone in such a happy sleep in the morning. When he wakes up, I inform him that the only way he can sleep in in my hotel room is if he is locked in. I knew he wouldn’t like this and I am right. He gets dressed and walks me down the stairs. We depart again, myself downstairs to breakfast, and he to his home. Well, actually he goes to the doctor but I’ll speak to that in the next post.
After the goodbyes, I realize how much my head really does hurt. I see Rachel sitting alone at breakfast so I sit across from her and tell her the events of the night before. I can’t stop gushing about Chris. I hope I didn’t sound as crazy as I was.
It is our last full day in Vienna now. The sadness is starting to sink in that tomorrow, Chris and I will go our separate ways. It is such a heavy thought and it eats away at me all day. I try not to think of the long journey home the next day. I want to stay in Vienna, reliving those precious two weeks over and over again.
But I know how time works. Timing is everything. People come into your life when you need them most. And I needed these people: Chris, Kryss, Vic, Rachel, Pattie, Zach, Micah, Kathy, Rena, Fred, Gabrielle, Caroline, Uma, Steph, Mark, Bob, etc etc… I needed all of them. I still do. But timing… It’s all about timing. I know some of our paths will cross again, but I wonder when I’ll see the rest. I’m sure if I do, it’ll be exactly when I need them. Just like I needed the German.