Serenaded by a Drunken Australian Musician Named Sebastian

Beth and I were still in Florence. We were tired from our exciting day spent walking around the city, checking out all of the major landmarks. And our hostel room — equipped with eight beds — was empty when we got back, so we decided to hit it early.

We were both sitting on our beds in our PJs when there was a knock at the door. A loud knock. Okay, more like a bang than a knock. Several more knocks followed.

I got up and opened the door. A young man, who had been heavily leaning against the doorframe, stumbled into the room.

I raised my eyebrows at him and got a huge grin in response.

“Forgot my key!” he crowed. He breezed through the space, finally falling onto the bed adjacent to our bunkbed. Then he reached for his backpack; a hiking one, like mine.

His eyes were glassy and his speech slightly slurred. I shared a grin with Beth, then turned back to our new bunkmate.

“I’m Emme; that’s Beth,” I said to him.

“Sebastian!” he replied, grandly sweeping one hand through the air. His momentum almost carried him straight off the bed.

“Sebastian. Sebastian the…Australian?” I asked.

“Yesss,” he said, and then stopped rummaging in his pack to look at us properly. His eyes widened. “You’re American girls!”

We laughed and replied that, yes, yes we were.

“How old are you?” he asked.

“Just out of college–”

“ME TOO,” he cried in absolute delight. “Just got done with university! GUESS what I studied.”

Still standing in the middle of the room, I held up my hands helplessly. Beth shrugged from her position on her bed.

“Music,” Sebastian said proudly. “Guess, guessssss the instrument!”

This time, without missing a beat, Beth said, completely deadpan, “clarinet.”


Beth and I cracked up laughing, and this time Sebastian did half-fall off the bed in his excitement. “LOOK LOOK!” he said as he pulled an honest-to-god clarinet out of the top of his bag.

We laughed even harder, and I only barely caught him saying that he was going to play a song for us. He launched into a rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

Wherever you are in the world now, Sebastian — thanks for that fun moment.

And thank you, reader, for reading,


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