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Some of us decided to go up to the Penthouse, a rooftop bar in Lucerne’s Hotel Astoria, for Christmas Eve.  The town had been sleepy all day; shops closed up at 2:00pm, no one was seen after three, and even the McDonalds was closed in preparation for the holiday.  We’d done some sightseeing and checked into our hostel, at dinner and didn’t know what else to do.  So we went to Golden Bridge and walked around.

Peter said to meet afterward at Penthouse, for a celebratory Christmas Eve drink.  He must have left before I arrived, but a few of the others have stuck around.  I’d assume on a clear day that Penthouse offered gorgeous views of Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus, but the balmy temperature that day had set a thick fog over all the lake, and not a view of the mountain could be had.

So far, Switzerland is disappointing.  It was only a pit-stop between Florence, Italy, and the last leg of our journey, Paris.  But moreso, I think I am disappointed in the place because I know it means in a few days, I’ll be home again.  Christmas will come, and go, and I’ll be on a plane back to the United States –

For good.

Evan senses my disdain.  He hands me a glass of champagne and pulls up an ottoman cornered with my arm chair.  “Hey, it’s almost Christmas,” he smiles.  “Cheer up!”

I take a sip of champagne and manage a half-grin.  “I don’t want this to be over,” I reply.

He shrugs.  “It’s be an awesome trip, but it’s got to end some time, right?”

His words, although not intended to be so, are not comforting at all.

“What are you worried about?” he asks.

I think a moment. “That I’m making a huge mistake,” I admit.  “That I’ll go back home and I won’t get into grad school and I won’t find a job and I won’t have anything to show for my life.”

“And what would have been the alternative?”

“Accepting a job as a live-in English teacher for a Czech family and spending the rest of my days…here,” I reply.

Evan shrugs.  “Everything happens for a reason,” he begins.  “When I got let go from MTV, I was in the same boat.  I cowered at the thought of uncertainty and instability.  To distract me from that part of my life, I decided to take this trip.  It’s been the greatest thing I’ve ever done.  Sure, I’ll go home to god knows what in a few days, but at least I know I’ve done something incredible.”

“But I want to keep doing incredible things,” I tell him.

He takes a sip of champagne.  “You will,” he winks.  “I know you will.”

The clock strikes midnight.  It’s officially Christmas Day.

Evan raises his glass to me.  “To us, Kat,” he starts.  “To new beginnings, with uncertain – but incredible – ends.”

“Merry Christmas, Evan,” I say.

“Merry Christmas, Kat.”

Unconvinced of his words, I clink my glass with his.

I’m still trying to figure out whether or not he was right.

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