Abigail, the happily ever after


abigailI courted Abigail briefly in Jersey City during a real low point in my life. At the time I found her hopeless romanticism charming and uplifting.  Her stories helped bring me back to my senses. She once told me that she had spent a summer in Germany and the Czech Republic visiting the ruins of ancient castles. Abigail still believed in fairy tales. Like so many women, Abigail had dreamt of being a princess as a little girl.  Like so few of them, she never stopped dreaming.  The two of us had a lot in common.

A year later, I received a letter from Abigail while working as a dock handler stationed in Split on the Adriatic Sea.  Don’t ask me how, but her letter arrived by way of courier pigeon. In it, Abigail beckoned me to come find her in Ljubljana, a city she described as both timeless and untouched.  I knew that I had to leave Split as soon as possible. That night in a bar a Serbian sailor slashed me across the face with a box cutter over a game of canasta.  In retaliation I jammed a pair of chopsticks into his eyes. An all out brawl commenced. I spent the rest of the evening hiding behind the walls of Diocletian’s Palace in the city center and fending off stray dogs.  By morning, I had hopped an overpass and was running as fast as I could out of town.

A couple of heads making their way back home to Budapest were kind enough to pull over at the side of the highway and offer me a ride to wherever I was going. Their car had a trunk full of reggae T-shirts and drugs. A large Jamaican flag was painted across the hood, which was a bit conspicuous, even for my tastes. But I wasn’t going to turn down their offer.
On the road to Slovenia we passed around a wineskin, smoked a couple of joints mixed with hash, and sang along to Bob Marley cassettes. I tried to talk to the Hungarians about Abigail and how love can be the purest source of guidance in one’s life, but they didn’t seem to understand. Either they were too stoned or didn’t speak English. One of them smiled blissfully at me and said, “Jah will provide.” Whatever the fuck that means.

Before we parted ways, my new friends gave me three hits of LSD. An hour later, I was ripped out of my skull, wandering through the maze of narrow, uniform streets at the center of Ljubljana, using ESP and empathy to the best of my abilities to locate Abigail.

I found her at the foot of the Tromostovje Bridge taking photographs of a castle on top of a large hill.  Her orange hair seemed to glow with smoldering embers beneath the twilight, dripping droplets of flames that rippled in to the river below.  When she turned and saw me, she did an awkward double take, like a bad one night stand running into you at a party several months after the evening in question.

Her face flushed crimson and I watched her breathing grow heavy.  She avoided making eye contact with me entirely.  Granted, my appearance was not at all becoming and this moment was probably far from how she’d envisioned it.  I hadn’t shaved or slept in two days.  I was caked in blood and greasy sweat. My shirt was torn, my eyes the size of  bowling balls.   But I wasn’t about to turn and walk away. I waited for her to do so instead.

Later that evening I climbed to the top of the hill and took a leak all over the walls of the castle.  I sat up there for many hours envisioning a plague descending upon the fabled city below. So much for happily ever afters.

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