A child, not older than five, waddled around in his navy puffy jacket, protecting a Glühwein mug. That cannot have alcohol in it, I thought. He raised the mug to his lips, but it was empty. His mother grabbed the mug and quickly placed it on the counter. She got her three Euros back.
To the left of me, a couple affectionately laid on top of each other while staring out into nowhere in particular. On the other side, a large group of people in their mid to late twenties roared, making sure to look each in the eye while clinking their glasses. I stared at my own Glühwein, the steam softening.
I recalled a year ago, being back in Salzburg, with another person gently leading me through the Christmas market. These were a European staple, he told me. I indulged in every moment. The cheesy nativity scenes. The bright red, green, and white lights. The endless amount of sweets surrounding the stalls. Despite how over indulgent it all was, I understood the romance. The laughter. The warmth. Those were distant memories.
And now, I was walking the market with my Nikon, trying to recapture the same warmth I felt a year ago- but this time solo. There are people that will say you can be happy with anything alone. I disagree. I wandered, wishing more and more someone was here to create new times. He would gently nudge my nose, in a way that I normally wouldn’t like back at home. We would push our Christkindlmarkt mugs just a little too hard, and drops of Glühwein would spill. One of us would laugh a little too loud at the other’s misfortune. After the laughter subdued, we would sit beneath the false stars until the stalls collapsed their windows.