Clara and Jordan
Mon Amérique à moi...
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A Modest Proposal

Clara and Jordan

’Twas the night before Christmas ... well, maybe not, but 17th December 2005 is close enough. Jordan and Clara were sitting on the dining car of the early – 6.05 am – train from Budapest to Vienna. They were playing trivia games to pass the time. It was a beautiful, cold, snowy morning to be going from the Hungarian countryside to the Austrian countryside, and the trivia game was fun; most of all, they were enjoying being nauseatingly cute together. Clara had no idea that Jordan had laid cunning plans for their arrival in Vienna.

Clara likes Vienna. She thinks it is, perhaps, the best thing about Budapest. On this occasion, however, they were going there at Jordan’s request to see the Christmas markets. The train arrived in Vienna Westbanhof at 9 am, and there really was no reason for Jordan to remind Clara of the need to have brunch at the Palmenhaus. The Palmenhaus, you see, is in turn perhaps the best thing about Vienna. A 19th century glass house/palm house behind the Albertina museum, facing the Burggarten, it has been converted into an exquisite café/restaurant, full of plants, flowers and excellent food. Jordan was quite insistent on going to the Palmenhaus, which Clara found very odd, considering that she went to the Palmenhaus every time she went to Vienna.

For you see, Jordan had a historically relevant plan. Clara had once described the Palmenhaus to friends as so wonderful that it was the place she would choose to propose to Jordan. Since Clara had said she always wanted to be proposed to, Jordan decided the Palmenhaus would be the perfect place to do the deed.

They walked through the snow, which was now falling fast, and into the warm Palmenhaus. Breakfast was ordered accordingly, before Clara disappeared for a moment to the ladies’ room. When she returned, she took Jordan’s hands, which were surprisingly cold and shaky. He looked her in the eye and started talking about this past year which had been so wonderful, and in a moment she registered to her astonishment that he was, in all likelihood, proposing marriage.

This proved to be a correct hypothesis. With watery eyes and without hesiation Clara said yes. The newly engaged couple had some considerable difficulty pouring their breakfast tea. They eventually managed to finish breakfast and wandered out into the city. Not much sightseeing followed. Instead, they spent quite a bit of time calling miscellaneous family members and friends, and staring into each others’ eyes over tea. They also had vastly overpriced champagne with a view of the snowy roof of the Cathedral in the distance, and wandered around the city woozily, still baffled at the new state of things.

It was rather a good day.

*In the photo on this page, the happy couple had been engaged for about one hour, and was already being nauseatingly cute about it.