When I met up with my friend Olivia in Prague last winter, we were about a year out of college. I was working in Paris as a teacher and she was fresh off a stint working on a sustainable farm in New Jersey, now backpacking through Eastern Europe. Since a bunch of my students were on vacation, we decided to meet up in Prague, a perfect halfway point.
Our first night there, we met up with our college crushes, James and Dan, who happened to be living in the city. We successfully seduced them over a couple rounds of cheap beer and fried food. The next day, we did something our undergrad-selves never would have: We texted them first. We asked if they wanted to hang out, thereby violating all the post-hookup “rules.” It stung when neither one of them texted back. Maybe their phones were dead? Maybe they were?
That night, in an underground warehouse-turned-nightclub, we ran into James and Dan, very much alive, working phones in hand. When they walked past us, barely acknowledging our presence, something inside of us snapped.
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
“How DARE they?”
And thus, our alter-ego was born. We called her Esmivia (a combo of our names, Esmé and Olivia), or “Miv” for short.
While individually, Olivia and I are friendly and polite, Esmivia was indignant and feisty. Leaving Dan and James in her wake, Miv barged into a private room and crashed a “Stag” (British bachelor party). She toasted the groom, drank gin and tonics with married men from Liverpool and lit her alcohol-soaked fingers on fire. When Dan and James texted later that night with a perfunctory, “hey whatsup,” Miv cut them loose without a moment’s hesitation. “Hey,” she texted back, “I’m going to be really busy and probably out of touch for the next few years.”
Miv stayed out all night and also the entire next day. She befriended anyone and everyone that came her way (the New Zealander, the Czech photographer, the Spanish travelers) but then shed them like dead weight when it was time to go back out and dance.
By our last day in Prague, Olivia and I were sick of Miv. We had bags under our eyes and our clothes smelled like an ashtray (Miv chain smokes). I had a constellation of new zits on my forehead, a mascara-stained face and an unexplainable crust in my hair. When Olivia and I parted ways, we left our alter ego behind, returning to our lives as gainfully employed, rule-following adults.
Now, when Olivia and I Skype each other during the grind of the work week, we reminisce about Esmivia. We miss her spark, her messiness, her joie de vivre. And we always end our calls by asking each other, “What’s the most Miv thing you’ve done lately?”
Follow Esmé on Instagram here.