Here Comes the Rooster

Barrio Alto, Lisbon, Portugal

It’s Facebook-official: We have a crush on Lisbon’s tall, dark, and charming alleyways. The kind our mothers warned us about, without ever having seen them.

So we lean in for another late night. Coax our untrained knees and calves up the steep cobblestones. Disappear into the thick crowd of smoke and music, cheap drinks and easy laughs, graffiti and neon.

Locals lean and chant and piss outside their favorite bars. They stumble and gather and make out beneath the stringed bulbs buzzing overhead. They pass a joint to their circle of friends on the curb then to me.

We know where we are. The abandoned cable car is like the north star a block above. The blue and grey coastline sleeps around the corner. Turn right before the church to find our bunk beds before dawn.

A bell rings out into the street—last call for those charred custard pastries we took a metro then a bus to find the first time. Tonight we dust them in cinnamon and order a second round. Raise our midnight snacks in the air and toast to this moment, to life itself, before another sunrise threatens to send us to our room like an exhausted mother.

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