Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll

We took the tram and met our friends in front of the town hall. We had made lunch reservations at a tavern right next to the government building, not far from the university and the cafés where Kurt had spent so many hours. It was the kind of detail Kurt appreciated: he would quit his bachelor student life and enter the married state all in the same neighborhood, without disruptions to his routine. Not that his familiar universe hadn’t changed. The façades were plastered with Nazi flags, and the heavy boots that tromped constantly through the buildings had made most of his friends flee. We were clinging, I realize now, to a Vienna that had vanished. It would take us both a while longer to realize it. We led our meager procession up the steps of the town hall. My parents and my sisters, who had overdressed, felt awkward in the presence of the stolid, bourgeois Rudolf. They kept their silence. I had invited neither Anna nor Lieesa to my wedding. I would have liked to query redheaded Anna about my blue vel- vet coat, in which I’d been caught once or twice in a downpour. She might have come with me to choose the little hat I wore, absolutely simple, gray with a ribbon, my one extravagance given our precarious finances. I borrowed a brooch from my sister, and I could have tapped Lieesa for her husband-catching stole. It had brought me luck, before the moths attacked it, as they attacked our memories. But my girlfriends inhabited two separate compartments of my


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