'where you from?' 'the states. boston.' 'how old you?' '30ish...' 'you kidding!?' 'uhm, no. perhaps i do look a trifle older due to the slight balding.. 'no no! you seem younger' 'ok....' 'you have child in your eyes' her english was quite good, comparatively speaking. she put down the espresso in front of me, wandered off into the dimly lit ochre colored corner, then disappeared into a rectangular black void. ochre. deep brown. red. natural wood. fireplaces. czechs speaking czech. italians speaking italian. germans speaking german. humans speaking human. a conversation about age is like a conversation about the weather; boring, static, and unavoidable. i closed my eyes. inflections. volume. pitch. pace. crescendo and staccato conversational acrobatics. i enjoyed not knowing what they were saying. i thought back to my childhood. i'd sit in the large green chair at my grandparent's house and listen to my grandmother's voice in the kitchen. even if she were speaking english, i would not have been able to understand a word as her voice was quite muffled by the distance and the natural noises attributed to home cooking. i could tell by the inflections, however; that she was speaking italian. speaking italian to my grandfather who was 100% polish and didn't understand a lick of italian. it didn't matter; she didn't have the weather in her eyes, nor did he. even at my age i could see that they were happy. at my age at that time i surmised that was the reason the meatballs tasted so damned good. at that age one observes and experiences. i opened my eyes. the chair was of wood; it was not the green chair that was trained for a much larger buttocks than mine. it didn't matter. i was in my grandparent's house again; in Vicki's kitchen. my hand had been loosely wrapped around the demitasse and i could feel my fingertips beginning to chill. i was experiencing entirely in the peripheral; my eyes did not focus on any particular thing or event. youth fumbling through first dates. someone cleaning table #9. a group of friends laughing, presumably about Ludmila's 'mishap' at a local bar two februarys ago. the bartender jiggering a drink. it was all the same to me. it was all the same to them. leather skirt and done up hair trotting through the rain? who cares! crooked eye glasses and gaudy wingtips? who cares! forgot to pull up your zipper, but smiling? who cares! my fingertips were cold and i had lost the scent of espresso wafting up to my nose. cold and loss of the familiar can be jarring, but i have come to know this state of espresso. i focused on what i had in my hand and lifted it to my lips and finished.... on my way out i met many eyes. eyes under wet hair. eyes under crooked glasses. eyes that didn't realize that the fly was down. every set of eyes bled, wept, smiled, and teared joyously. every set of eyes dismissed the storms, the things askew, and the things overlooked. the human element can be overwhelming. as overwhelming as the weather, as things out of place, and as things overlooked. these folks; these folks that are both native and in love with prague have much in common. cold espresso. i stepped out into the downpour. i twirled my folded umbrella and looked skyward. some things don't matter. some things do.