Mostly what I remember from my last time in Budapest was one specific night; having gotten in another fight with the absolutely wrong man, my new girlfriend and I went out on the town. Though Budapest is famous for its ruin bars, there’s one in particular that’s practically a pilgrimage for tourists: the several floor, eclectically styled palace of DIY, Szimpla Kert.

It’s a very cool place, and I mean that in all of the ways you could. The clientele is cool, and the decor and design are the best kind of cool, in that it looks effortless and lived in. We loved it. And we each grabbed a beer and ascended one of the many staircases.

We found a room on a sort of mezzanine – more like half-room-half-passageway – that was filled with ephemera like one might associate with an old-timey reporter: a typewriter, a few Eames-esque rolling desk chairs, a small lamp with a green, glass shade and a brass pull-cord.

Having seen someone else do it, we promptly each lit a cigarette, only to be told a few minutes later that smoking inside was forbidden. 

But like, were we inside? This room barely had a roof. The whole place reminded me of Tacheles, a place I went to my first time in Berlin; arguably the place that cemented my will to live this kind of life.

Anyway, we bailed. We wandered down the street until we found a far more normal bar, and it soon became our favorite. But that night, not yet knowing how the next few days would unfold, we merely cemented our new friendship over absinthe and promised to meet back up, someday, in the States. 

When she left for Serbia, I assumed that it would end up being one of those promises that never quite materializes, but here we are, all these years later, and I can’t even walk down the street here without thinking about how much I miss her.

When we met she lived in Reno, but a couple years into our online-only friendship she relocated to Chicago. And this is where we were finally reunited four years ago, in the inaugural days of 2018.

And it’s weird because I spent a relatively long time in Budapest, but there’s nothing here I’m really dying to return to. 

Except for the one thing that isn’t even here anymore, the other part of my heart that I just can’t seem to feel at peace without.

[I love and miss you, Callie.]


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