“You have to leave in half an hour”
I rub my eyes and wonder for an instant where I am until I recognize the room and the girl who just woke me up. She is smiling and holds a grey towel to me.
“I got you a towel so you can shower.”
“Urgh, no need to, got my tuxedo still on anyway.”
“I can make you a cup of coffee if you like.”
“You’re an angel.”
Ironically the apartment in which I woke up that Sunday morning was the same apartment I had ironed my shirt the day before, a necessity because my crumpled shirt didn’t look anything close to complementing the tuxedo I had bought for the upcoming WU ball.
After ironing and enjoying a glass of her schnaps I realized it was already fifteen minutes before the final rehearsals for the opening-dance would start. Hurrying to the Hofburg, fully dressed, I joyfully whistled a student hymn but my entrance at Hofburg wasn’t as smooth as expected: the security was very strictly instructed and the bottle of brandy I brought for consumption in the dressing room was not allowed inside. It didn’t ruin my mood and when I met my dance partner Victoria on the dance floor ready to start the final rehearsal I knew it would still be a great night. Even though the custom made flask I had given her as a present was brought empty. I won’t elaborate too much on our disappointments in secretly alleviating our thirst because looking back it was probably for the best that all our attempts were obstructed by the security people. I got tipsy enough during the course of the night anyway.
Time to start the ceremony! After galloping into the main dancing room, being watched by hundreds of guests, and after letting all VIP’s (including some Austrian politicians and important businessmen) pass us we were to show off what all our practice had been worth but the opening-dance, which we had practiced for days, went entirely wrong but at the end of the forty-five minute ceremony the ceremony master admitted in public that it had been the fault of the orchestra and he allowed us a second chance which, of course, went brilliantly! The waltz afterwards was a bit clumsy but Victoria and I didn’t mind because we felt great anyway: relieved, proud and freaking sexy!
After leaving the dance floor it was time to catch up with friends and get the party started! The Hofburg is the imperial palace and it consists of several very beautiful dance and lounge rooms, on the top floor one could walk from the gigantic ballroom where we had done the opening dance through a massive hallway to the Wintergarten which situated a champagne bar, from there to another dance room where an orchestra was playing classical music, through several dining rooms and finally through a Latin dance room to end up in our third favourite room dedicated to the 60’s. For people like me and my friends with absolutely no clue how to dance appropriately (okay, I do know how to waltz now) just doing the twist and any ridiculous dance we were able to come up with was the most elegant way to party until we got thirsty once again and we learned that beers were sold for €5,20. Rumours told us, however, that there was a nightclub in the basement with student friendly prices. I had to abandon Victoria and her crew in the salsa room, assuming to find them back later but my cell-phone credit depleted and sadly I never reunited with my opening dance partner that night.
On the search for this hidden nightclub we ended up in our second favourite room with student friendlier prices and a cover band playing amongst others Robbie Williams, Queen and Bon Jovi. Leaving the Irish girls with the band I and Jim continued our quest to find the nightclub. Led by vaguely recognizable dance tunes we crossed a shabby TL-lit hallway to end up in what seemed to us the underground Walhalla of the Ball. After leading the other girls, who were being seduced by the charming Austrian Elvis, to our Walhalla we spent another couple of hours fist-pumping, our most natural way of dancing.
The party was ending and most of us were leaving home but I decided to go for an unsuccessful round through the palace to find Victoria back. Coming back to the nightclub I found myself alone, I called it a night and went to get my bag and my coat from the dressing room (which was actually right next to the nightclub) but while doing so a drunk guy asked me to light his cigarette and offered me a drink in return. He turned out to be the deejay and not only did he bring me several screwdrivers from his personal supply in the deejay booth but also did he play any request song: Gigi d’Agostino’s wonderful melodies got the remaining party crowd incredibly excited.
On my way back in the metro with a friend I had found back at the entrance I impulsively decided to leave the train to go to the girl where I had ironed my shirt the day before, leaving my friend astonished. It was six o’clock in Vienna, the streets were deserted and for the first time it was snowing.