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Barefoot in the Rain on Charles Bridge

Posted on the 09 September 2014 by Kdcoduto @katydee

Leaving the country was the only way to salvage last summer. I was living by myself in an apartment that was two-thirds empty (both roommates were deserters), spending my mornings as a court reporter writing stories on petty crimes and my afternoons in the classroom, finishing graduate degree electives. Beyond the everyday routine, more significant problems decorated my days: My mom had a last minute surgery at the beginning of summer; I was confronted with the typical relationship problems of any college coed, verging on devastated with the way things in one relationship were ending; and, on the way to a job interview, the brakes went out in my car.

While I was driving.

By the end of summer, I was ready to get away. And, luckily, I had signed up last minute to take an elective course that spent its first three weeks in the United States and then two more in Prague, in the Czech Republic. I didn’t know much about Prague, beyond a few cultural lessons we had in class; but I did know that the United States wasn’t doing much for me.

Anything would be better, and I would like to say I danced my way onto our flight overseas.

Our flight to Prague was quick and quiet – I slept almost the entire time, as I had adamantly promised my classmates I would. I am gifted in that I cannot stay awake on a plane, especially on long flights. It’s a matter of minutes before I’m asleep, and the flight to Prague was no different.

The class was small, only ten students and two teachers; a tour guide from a local university had arranged for a bus to pick us up and take us to the hotel where we would be living. Everything was gorgeous – the day was beautiful, the sun bright, temperatures high. The ride into the city was nothing short of magnificent. We watched as Prague Castle came into view first, and then the rest of the sprawling Eastern European hub.

The first activity we did as a class was a group dinner just off of Prague’s main square. Our tour guide led our two professors, as well as our school’s director, and us students to a rooftop restaurant with a view that overlooked the city and the river running through it. We took in the scenes while eating… including watching the sky slowly darken, with storm clouds rolling in over the river.

It was pouring by the end of our meal.

Yet once we were all soaked, we embraced it. We made it to Charles Bridge, one of the main bridges in Prague, and as a class we ran across it to get back to our hotel. I ran barefoot across the Charles Bridge in a downpour, and it was the best thing to happen to me all summer.

I didn’t think about anything else; I didn’t consider how poorly it could end for my feet. Instead, I ripped my shoes off, holding them in one hand; in the other, I grabbed a handful of my skirt, so it would be even easier to run. I could feel the grainy dirt from the bridge on the soles of my feet, while the rain pounded on my face, my arms, my back. I could barely keep my eyes open as I ran. Yet I did, just so I could see my friends who were running ahead of me, the only other people on the bridge. I wanted to see this huge bridge as empty as we would ever see it, and remember how it looked with just us running across it.

Of everything from last summer, that’s what I’ll remember the longest.

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