I roll out of bed, spent, hear water splashing in the bathroom. I push the curtain aside, open the window and watch a woman running down the middle of the street, tears streaming down her cheeks, shaking her keys, wrist beating in time with her stride. She is tall, raven-haired, big-boned. Any other time she might earn catcalls or wolf whistles but this is no ordinary night.
The streets are filling with runners all heading towards the Square of Slovak National Uprising. Many weep, many grin from ear to ear. Everyone jangles their keys. From a distance a faint echo of blaring horns but here it is all jangle.
“It’s happening; it’s real,” is the hubbub through the crowd. The sidewalks are filling, everyone jangling keys. Strangers hug each other. Laughter, screechy, uncontrolled, echoes through the street.
“The curse is lifted,” someone screams.
Zuzka comes out of the bathroom, naked, joins me by the window. She’s brushed her teeth so her mouth smells of menthol but she still reeks of sex. She leans into me, provoking, pokes me. “Interesting, the street?”
I brush her heavy breast with my palm, begin to stir again. I look out at the growing crowds. We are three blocks from the square and even this far the street is starting to fill. The jangling, the car horns, the screams, the laughter: all are overpowering.
“We should be out there, with them, Zuzka,” I say. “It is history being made. For the rest of our lives people will be asking, ‘Where were you when communism fell in Bratislava?’”
Her laugh tinkles; she gropes for me, strokes, gets the reaction she wants. “And I will say, ‘In bed, on top of him, riding, celebrating.’”
She is right. I bite her shoulder.
published 27 April 2011