I’ve got nothing.
Actually. I have a tiny whiff of something. I did the backpacking through Europe thing after I graduated from college. Me, my cousin, my friend, and my friend’s brother. My cousin peeled off kind of early in the trip to go meet up with some other friends, leaving my friend and his brother. My friend is a lot like me. His brother is a bit more…shall we say organized. While his brother was with us we were on this crazy pace. We’d arrive in a new city in the evening. Go out drinking. Wake up early the next day. Go out sightseeing. Go out again that night. Then wake up early the next morning, get on a train, arrive in the next city that evening and start the cycle all over again. Eventually my friend’s brother left leaving just me and my friend who, like me, we will describe as not so organized. The brother said his goodbyes after we had arrived in Antwerp. A week later my friend and I were still in Antwerp. A week after that? Still in Antwerp. The local wait staff knew us. We loved drinking a certain brand of Flemish beer called Duvel. People started referring to us as “The Duvel Boys” when we walked into the bar.
Eventually we made it to Dublin. We stayed there about as long. In Dublin housing was problem as we hadn’t exactly booked ahead so we had to constantly change hostels and find new places to sleep. We wound up boarding in some sweet old Irish lady’s house on the far north end of the city. The first morning when we went downstairs she asked us if we wanted a small breakfast, a medium breakfast, or a large breakfast. My friend and I both went with the medium option. There were some cold cereals on the table to begin with as well as some bowls of fruit. Then she brought out some breads and hot oatmeal as well as juice and coffee and eggs. Surely the cereals and fruit were the small breakfast, and the addition of some oatmeal and eggs then bumped us up to the medium breakfast. So, in our minds, that was it. Anything more would constitute the large breakfast. We began to eat and mostly filled up on what was in front of us when she brought out two of the largest plates of assorted sausages and meats I’ve ever seen in my life and set one in front of each of us. I don’t eat a lot, my friend does, we both stared open-mouthed. The nice old lady left into the kitchen again and without taking his eyes from his plate my friend quite simply asked, “The fuck is the large breakfast then?”
Okay, that story was a lot funnier if you were there but my point is that Europe holds a strange mystic energy in my head. It occupies that time after college ended but before life began. It will forever be equated for me with the final rusty sunshine of a waning summer twilight. When I picture it, moods are different, lighting is different, shadows are longer and everything has a bittersweet tone.
I might try to write a story about that.
And what the fuck could she possibly have pulled out of her kitchen to justify the large breakfast?