The Kiss; Snapshots of Vienna

On the Move, and at Peace
By Cal Corso |

Reading a book on Albert Einstein and I’m thinking about Vienna, listening to Liszt’s transcription for the piano of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Right now I’m in the second movement of the symphony. And yea that sounds about right now, don’t it? I am sort of in the second movement of things. Tomorrow is the Super Bowl, and it’s a cool overcast day across many old corners of the USA and here I am thinking about Vienna. Ol’ Vienna.

Well now, where do I begin? I could start at the beginning but I wouldn’t know where that is really. I know Quinby is writing the book right now, at my behest and by my encouragement. But I don’t know exactly where he is, either. I just know he’s working. Come to think of it, I’m not sure where Jude and Sam are either. Man, I don’t even know where I am, besides right here in front of my own sweet typewriter.

I wrote Jude a letter a while back, in the not-too-distant past I think, telling him about my foray into the great unknowns, going farther into Central Europe. How I ended up in Budapest, fell in love with a girl all over again and then wound up with her in Vienna.

I arrived early in the evening. She booked our room. The room was not too far from the center of town but not too close either. I think with all the train travel I very nearly caught a cold, and the weather was cold that evening. The train stations in Austria are all very clean and they give you the feeling that you’ve arrived somewhere into the future. I’m telling ya, the next great technological breakthrough will occur in these parts.

Anyway our room wasn’t ready yet and so we decided to hang out at the cafe by the train station to stay warm and grab some hot coffee and croissants. She has a thing for croissants, this girl o’ mine, and she likes to split them with me, always doing the honors of gently tearing it in half and giving me the piece that comes out slightly larger than the other. The woman running the cafe was a sweet lady who asked if it was our first time in Vienna. My girl said no, I said yea. She smiled at the two of us and nodded, saying that we were going to have a nice time visiting.

“It’s a beautiful city,” she said.

“Especially if you like music I’m sure.”

“Oh yes,” she said. “There’s no place like it.”

Her English was perfect and it never ceased to surprise me how well everyone spoke it all across Europe. I felt behind suddenly, like it was time for me to start learning a few languages myself. So immersed was I in the many lovely and wondrous facets of the King’s English that I hadn’t really given much time or thought to learning another language. Even my Spanish was strikingly sparse, considering how much I adored the culture and history and the music and the women and the literature and the painting too.

Of course, knowing Jude had led to a greater understanding of music. But the revelation of it being a language all in itself had reached a new zenith a few nights prior in Budapest, when I’d turned up at the Budapest State Opera. Before the show, my girl told me I’d never forget it; but of course that was an understatement.

“And not just music,” the lady continued. “But painting too. Gustav Klimt lived and worked here. In Vienna.”

“Who’s Gustav Klimt?”

“Ahh. You’re in for a treat. I’m sure you’ve seen a few of his paintings. Very famous. Much of his work can be found here. Including The Kiss.”

“The Kiss?”

“Yes. His most famous. The Kiss.”

“Well hey, I think I love it already.”

“Oh yes,” she said. “You will love Vienna. I’m sorry, I didn’t even ask what I could get for you.”

“Oh that’s alright,” I said. “I forgot about food myself.”

My girl smiled at me. She put her hand on my back and caressed it affectionally as she spoke to the woman.

“He does that,” she said. “He’s always forgetting to eat. I swear, if I wasn’t around he’d get so skinny he’d probably disappear.”

“Very true,” I said. “I’d be lost.”

“You two should get married.”

“He wishes,” said my girl.

“Well hey baby, c’mon. I mean, who is going to feed me?”

She laughed and punched my shoulder. We ordered a croissant and two cups of hot coffee and sat down at the table. We put our chairs side-by-side and faced the window as we huddled closer together to keep warm. Outside a soft rain fell quietly onto the streets, intermittently sprinkling onto the glass window. She rested her head upon my shoulder, holding her cup with one hand while sliding her other hand gently between my legs to keep warm. I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and sipped my coffee thinking about what a perfect moment it was, how I could die right then and probably be happy. Not too long ago, I remember Jude had written a song. He published it under that name we all like to use. I remember the lyrics well.

On the Move

I bring you into hold
I hear the wind blow
My heart it grows ice cold
Outside the window
I see the moon aglow
High above the waiting sea
One more time honey
let me feel you breathe

Some spirit in me dies
As my inside cries
As I lie with you tonight
Still you smile
As you sleep, so sweet
Darling I’ll just let you dream
Where all is as it seems

If I stay,
It wouldn’t be the same
We’d see no dawn
In any rising day
This house would no longer be a home
I didn’t choose this life
It chose me, always
On the move and never free

Try and understand me,
Don’t bother none
They might say I’m always on the run
When I was down,
You picked me up
And I’ll love you for all my days
And I must be on my way

Sun’s rising high
Little girl o’ mine
You sleep like an angel so divine
When you wake
Do not follow me
You’ve got your own destiny
But know, with me, you’ll always be

—-You’ve got your own destiny
Darling please don’t forget about me

That seems like forever ago. Yea, I remember when he wrote it. I can’t say for sure if my old friend has finally learned to stop running the way he used to, but I think one day he will. Or at least, maybe just a little. As for me, despite all my adventures thus far, I knew I still had a lot to do. But like I said, if everything had to end right at that moment, I guess I’d have been alright. Life couldn’t really get much better, for I was on the move too. And I was at peace.

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