Scene in Europe,
Prague; Crumbled, Cracked and Magnificent.
A married couple are standing in line outside Prague’s Neo-Gothic St. Vitus’ Cathedral. It’s an old, cracked, crumbled, reinvented, restored and altogether magnificent building standing in the very heart of what was once Bohemia. In their early 70’s, the husband, Marty to most, in a typical grey tracksuit which many tourists over a certain age think is appropriate to wear while vacationing, ignoring how humorous the get up is on a body that can hardly get up on its own anymore, suffers from angina and bunions on both his feet which is why his oversized trainers slide about from time to time. It is also why it took them a full quarter of an hour to cross the 14th century Charles’ Bridge over the River Vltava earlier on in the day. Sophie, his wife, currently wearing an astonishingly large amber necklace which he just bought for her at the Erpet Bohemia Crystal store on the Old Town Square, still thinks she could’ve married better if she had of held out a little longer and has a voice that sounds like it scrapes over gravel as it makes its way along her vocal cords and out her throat. She has a new hip, a new knee and would have a new face if Marty weren’t such a tight ass with what she calls ‘their finances’ and he calls his ‘hard earned cash’.
“So what’s so important about this cathedral?” Sophie asks her husband as the queue comes to another standstill.
“I don’t know, Soph, how many cathedrals must we see, I mean, really?” he replies as he leans down on her gamy shoulder to balance himself while he tries to adjust this Nike trainers for the twentieth time in as many minutes.
“I don’t wanna to see another cathedral anymore! You want to see another cathedral, Marty?” she asks him, adjusting her position slightly so that she can no longer be his balancing pole but so underhandedly that he doesn’t notice she did it on purpose.
“Lord no, I’ve had enough,” he admits as he steadies himself against the wall while the young couple behind them snigger.
“So why don’t we just tell Jane that in Berlin we don’t want to see another cathedral?”
“Damn fine with me,” agrees Marty, “though I believe that she’s already lined up a few for us to see.”
“Well, good Lord, what do people think of us, I don’t want to build a cathedral,” his wife insists with a growing impatience, “you want to build a cathedral, Marty?”
“No, Soph, I sure as hell don’t wanna build a cathedral!”
“Well then, there you go, we’ll just say that cause we don’t wanna build a cathedral then we can’t bare to see another cathedral. We’re old, Marty, can’t we be honest, finally? Oy!”
“It sounds like a plan to me, Soph,” her husband concedes with a nod and tries to put his arm around her but she adjusts the position of her over-the-shoulder-travel-pack just in time to keep his hands from making contact.
“In Berlin, we’ll see art museums,” she informs him.
“Art museums? Good Lord, Soph, what now? Haven’t we seen enough art museums already? And I can tell you, I don’t wanna build any art museum either!”
“Well, neither do I, Marty, but what’ll we do instead?”
“Drink beer,” he says with a self satisfying smile, proud of his own ingenious suggestion.
“Why Marty, you gonna make some beer back home?” she mocked him, not for the first time in their 65 year sentence of a life served together.
“No Sophie, I’d just like to drink some beer, that’s all!” he replied, as usual missing the overtones of her undertones completely while addressing her by her full name so as to give his answer a certain level of maturity.
“Well, alrighty, we’ll say we wanna drink some beer, see a little art, but definitely no more cathedrals!”
“Well, I sure do like the sound of that, Soph. You think they’ll have some of those old wartime tanks in Berlin?”
“Jesus Marty, what the… you wanna build a tank now?”
“No, I just want to…” he tried to answer before she silenced him with a wave of her hand that had ended every argument they had ever shared since the day they’d first met.
“Oh shush,” Alice tells him anxiously, grabbing his hand which she always took hold of in moments of excitement, as if to make sure they were experiencing it all together, “the queue’s finally moving,” she said with a quiver in that battered old voice of hers that brought an instant feeling of pride to her husband, “come on, let’s go see this cathedral!”
And so they did…