-- note to the reader (or anyone else who might be reading this): the names in this story have been changed in order to protect the innocent - or in this case, guilty - characters who might otherwise be attacked by an upset, small-town, Rymarov mob. --
The first time that I (Harold Brumboldt the 2nd) saw her (Veronika Havlikova) I was in a bar. When you're in the Czech Republic, you're usually in a bar.
I was drinking one of the country's many light beers, whcih I like a little more than other light beers, which I don't like much at all. I was having a Czech-only conversation with nice Sdane - who I think would like to be called Král (King) Jaroslav - a thirty-year-old hardly laborer who looked like Christian Slater's brother playing Robin Hood's brother in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves."
Král Jaroslav wasn't a bad-looking guy, but Veronika wasn't a bad-looking girl. She had long, black hair with blond-dyed streaks in it and big brown eyes. I kept looking through the cigarette smoke sucking on my eyeballs over to the wooden table where she sat. Her headlight eyes also looked at me, and she was laughing with her friend as she overheard my efforts at speaking Czech.
"Král Jaroslav, kolik let je tvoje dcera?"
At this time, it had been one week since I began learning Czech and three days since I began writing in my journal in Czech - an occupation which takes me approximately seventeen hours a day ... (actually, just ninety minutes, but the language is tough!).
Veronika and I finally met a week later. I said I'd written about her in my journal. But, instead of saying she'd taught me the word "oslnivá" (dazzling; gorgeous), I accidentally said I'd described her as "omlhoviná" (which means, "a sloppy drunk").
We hung out a few afternoons at her mom's old, wooden apartment. She traveled a bit and spoke great English. In addition to big eyes, she had a big, square, ghost-white head. She cooked me long, thin sausages and showed me pictures of a young her in school parades.
In addition to a big head, she maintained a great cloud of confusion obscuring whether she did or didn't have a boyfriend. I don't support cheating. But, she was too much fun to not hang out with.
One night, we went out to: guess where? a bar. And she was fantastic, the type of girl lakes flow uphill for. Her dark hair had been straightened to fall like glass past her face. Her thin arms aimed towards the pockets of her jean jacket, and jean covered all her tall body. She was 1.78 meters tall, five-foot-eleven, and we strolled to a corner of the bar.
She sat across from me, wearing a black sweater with a high neck, a white-and-gray-camouflage linen scarf, and cute black eye-shadow. Her laugh was wonderful. Her eyes exploded in child delight; her wide, sharp-toothed mouth bent down, and she chuckled silly, breathing in air like a hamster.
She also caught me off-guard with clever humor and sarcasm. I was telling her my brother is totally cool but looks very different from me. She said, "Oh, thank god he looks different, I bet he looks good then!" I responded with a sad, totally witless face that said, half-crying, "What are you trying to say about me, then?" She laughed at me.
But, she received a phone call at one point. Afterwards, she admitted, "That was, uh, well, we'll call him 'my boyfriend." So, she did have a boyfriend. They were having a lot of troubles, though. I guess I was one of them.
I couldn't help but tell her later on that if she was single I'd kiss her for an hour. She smiled slyly and begged, "Are you flirting with me?" Ooh, it's always good when they smile like that.
"Well, I suppose we should go look at the stars then?" the long Czech said after a few small beers. Of course I went.
We walked to the end of town, to the round, gray chapel and cemetery. It was dark. Clearly, I joked that I was scared to be taken here by someone who had teeth like a vampire's.
We sat on a bench in quiet shadows. I think my dazzling date wanted compassion. She rested two long legs on me that seemed as long and endless to me as a mushroom stalk must seem to an amoeba. We kissed. Her mouth was wet and rectangular. And the world was a little closer to perfect.
It was closer to one second than one hour. And the world may not have been perfect then for one guy. But, it was a very warm moment amidst too many cold ones.
"Is it different to kiss a European girl than an American girl?" she asked, innocently.
We walked home, arms on each other's shoulders. Her pet, Bilbo the dog, was happily walking with us. We parted at her door.
"Dobrou noc." (Good night.)
- peace and love, Modern O.