This is (not) a love letter

Dear Praha,

Please don’t see this as breakup letter, think of it more like a praise to our relationship.

Please do not accuse me of anything but to love you deeply. I fell in love with you the moment I first got lost near the astronomical clock. It sounds silly, now that I recall it, how can anyone get lost in such a small and cozy city like yourself?! I wandered around for more than an hour, not being able to look straight, my eyes way up admiring the castle-like buildings in the fairytale vignette I was in.

You saw me growing like no other place in the world. I was 18, going on 19. My mind was eager for discovery. I was open to try new things, new experiences, new points of view. Everything was fresh and blooming in me, and that is what allowed you to shape me the way you wanted. You showed me the world through different eyes, my eyes, of a different me. An adult. You showed me that my voice was there to be heard, and my opinions (I wasn’t aware I had so many) did not need to be the same as everybody else’s around me to be valid. You helped me realising I was capable of living on my own, dealing with my own problems, learning a new language, dealing with patients and teachers…

I learned from you that the snow is not always white like in movies, it can be muddy and it may force you to take your shoes off before entering the house. You showed me that public transports could actually be always on time (at the cost of scaring to death one or two distracted tourists crossing the road where they shouldn’t…). Trams have always been a priority for you, above every car and every person on the road. Why is that? I can see their charm, their bright red colouring the streets… maybe that is also what enchanted you about them, was it?

“Vltava” is now stuck in my head forever. Remember how much you insisted that I should know Danube was not but the father of your sweet Vltava? I lost count on how many times I crossed Vltava, or just sat down by the water, sunbathing on the small island near Narodni Divadlo. It was our secret spot. I hope you don’t take there any other girl, I would be jealous otherwise.

The most beautiful sunsets we saw from there, sitting on the grass, with a can of Lynchburg lemonade, toasting to our good life. Yes, whiskey. I blame you for the exquisite taste I developed when it comes to alcohol! All your cheerful and cheap happy hours, all the Friday afternoons you dragged me with you to Nebe when studying was all I had planned for a long day in the library. But it was worth it. Every. Single. Time.

Speaking about it, do I need to mention how much I loved that library? You used to get jealous of her, and the amount of time I spent there. I am sorry, maybe it was a little too much, indeed. But in my defence, I have never felt so comfortable and at peace in any other library. And you know me, I picked my favourite table right from the beginning. It was on one of the top floors with a great view of the dozens of revolutionary drawings on the walls. And at a reasonable distance from the vending machine…

I spent hours and hours there… I am sorry for the nights I came home late, I was there. Looking back I know you were right to be jealous, I definitely had an affair.

Apart from the regret for cheating on you, I retain knowledge from those long nights I spent awake. Books were spread on the table wide open, and I remember drinking too much… too much coke, of course, to keep my eyes open and my brain functioning.

I hope you are not too mad at me right now and that you keep reading my letter. Not more harsh truths, I promise, no more confessions that may disappoint you.

Being on this relationship with you has showed me the world. I cannot thank you enough for introducing me to your close friends Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia… I hope I am not forgetting to mention anyone. I liked them all, each in a different and special way.

Now it is time for me to move on. Do not assume this is any easier for me than it is for you. Packing was hard. Looking at our fridge, once covered in magnets, our magnets, and seeing it naked for the first time in years broke my heart.

Please, do not forget about me, just as I promise to never forget you.

S láskou,

Cae

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