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Travel Blog

Romance

Jessica Litwak

On my first night in Prague, totally jet lagged and thinking I had the flat to myself I had crashed out half naked an hour before I was awakened by the loud smashing outside my door.  I jumped up terrified and found a handsome drunk man who had just bumped into a few chairs. He spoke very loud in very little English. Struck by a kind of knee jerk politeness I threw a shawl around myself and went into the tiny hallway and made conversation. A famous actor (from an Eastern European country I won't mention) he had been given the keys after a long day of rehearsal at the same theatre where I was working. We spoke in sign language and broken English (my English was just as cracked as his) mostly about puppets. Bread and Puppet theatre. Puppets in general. We made puppets out of objects in the flat and began to have a pretty strange and fabulous conversation. We spoke about our daughters, our victories, our wreckage, our passions. There were some glitches: He said New York was "stupid", and when I told him I was Jewish he began to call me "Hannukah"... but still, we laughed about Shakespeare and when language failed us which it often did - we made faces at each other - he was very drunk and I was very jet lagged which seemed to level the field. At a certain point there was a kiss and then he tried to get very serious about sex, and I realized that my days of half asleep one night stands were a thing of the past and I had only known him a couple of hours and I had no idea of his name really or who he was except that he was clearly a talented actor and a gifted womanizer. AND since I have just recently broken off a long on and off sometimes heartbreaking relationship with a glorious infamous man not unlike this guy in terms of charismatic humor and self indulgent genius, it was clearly not a good idea to let this continue. But the minute I began to push him away, pull his hands and lips off me and push him into his rightful cubicle, he began to get emotionally involved, and also find more English. He told me that I was a "miracle" and asked me to come live with him in his small flat until he died. I accused him of not even remembering my name and he agreed that he had forgotten it, but promised to remember and when I was finally alone in my bed and he in his, he shouted for about 45 minutes from the other side of the thin wall, "I love you, Jessica!" I didn't sleep much.

And in the morning I tiptoed into the shower and out of the flat. He shouted after me "I will see you tonight". That's when I became worried. It wasn't that I was afraid he would force me to have sex the following night. It was that I was afraid I would - in my sleep deprived jet lagged state politely agree to it - and then maybe I'd fall in love with some crazy talented drunk and get swept up in a storm of unhealthy relatedness with someone who was potentially anti-Semitic and anti-American (although the latter was something I'd be willing to work through) when I was just beginning to find the ground away from my five years of earth shaky love sickness. SO instead of keeping it to myself I mentioned to my Czech colleague that I had been strangely surprised in the middle of the night by a drunk man and I thought that I was to have the flat to myself. She immediately set protective wheels in motion and got on her phone which lead to several other phone calls and finally a reprimand of the drunk actor. And he left Prague instead of returning to the flat. And although I was greatly relieved, I have since experienced a tiny bit of regret. Last night I found out that when accused of inappropriate behavior my suitor had cried "but she was enjoying herself, you know I am a gentleman." and the truth is this: I may of been enjoying myself at first, but then I wasn't. And he was drunk and aggressive and even though I was charmed by him I don't think any romance should be forced. And maybe what I learned about myself is this: I am ready for love but it has to come slowly and it has to be someone with whom I can imagine the long haul. I don't need to fill my travel blog with romantic conquests. Right?

But what if I passed up my soul mate? What if I am meant to be sharing his two room flat in a small Eastern European city? What if I am meant to be laughing and making faces and doing drunken puppet shows?

And what of love? Will there be more romance for me on this journey? Perhaps more sober love with less groping passionate proclamations? Or will I return to Toby empty handed?