Moda Primavera person wearing blue denim jacket while walking on foggy road

The seven letters of the scrabble you needed

I watched around me. I didn’t realize where I was. I mean, I understood it was the entrance hall of a station, but I had no idea why I was sitting on a bench looking at the board of trains departing in Hungarian, I think.


Come to think of it, I seem to remember that I had to pick someone up, but at the airport and I had to be at the arrivals sector of Amsterdam airport by six thirty.


How did I end up in Budapest? I do not know, I believe it is Budapest, the station is enormous, there are thousands of people running. They’re in a hurry, well-dressed, I think they’re heading home a few miles from town.


They presumably work in the financial sector in Budapest. What is this area called? I don’t have a clue. I visited Budapest at least three times, but the last time was over 15 years ago.


What am I doing here? Ah, yes, Michael was doing the bachelor party, he had seen “Hangover” at the cinema and wanted to do the same thing, only that Las Vegas was far away, while Budapest was less than two hours, and the flight are cheaper.


What was then a sad, almost pathetic bachelorette party. There were those who wanted to throw themselves into a club with girls dancing on the pipes and then going up on the tables asking you to offer them a drink. Normally, regular sparkling wines that charge you as the most beautiful French champagne. Then there were those who wanted to see museums, those who wanted to see what was left of the period of Soviet domination and then those who just wanted to see the city from the open buses.


How did this end? That we had been arguing and bickering all along.


Then at the end, we spoke and laughed in the lobby of the hotel. We made jokes to each other and nothing more.


Obviously, no one believed it and Jane was so sure that we had done something illegal that she was no longer so sure she still wanted to marry Michael the following week.
But I say, you must be foolish to organize a weekend in Budapest only men and think that no one thinks badly about what you’re doing there.


What on earth am I doing here? I should be at the arrival in Amsterdam and now I’m sweating. Because I’m getting nervous. People come and go and talk and I don’t understand anything.


But there must be somebody who speaks English, why don’t I ask?
Then what do I have to ask? I’m sure I’m just dreaming, ossobuco had been a poor choice for dinner, or it had been Milanese rice, I had made double portions. I must remember that it is the white rice with a dash of oil and a touch of Parmesan that is digestible, not the yellow with saffron.


That thing with ossobuco is heavy. Now I’ve got weird dreams.


Ah, I got a phone call. “Hi George. Where the hell you at? “, Alice calls me, what should I tell her now? Fortunately, as usual, he does not wait for the answer and adds, “I’m here, at the arrivals, if you approach the Italian bar near the newsstand, we have a coffee together while we wait for Louise to take her luggage”.
Louise is my wife, and that’s when I was supposed to pick her up from the airport. Alice is her sister and tonight is Barbara and Sylvia’s birthday, our twin daughters.


And instead I am in Budapest, leaving for some place and it is not a dream, because I smell and I am also cold, because I am only short-sleeved and it is the first days of November.
I’m not saying anything to Alice, I’m just apologizing that I’m late, in traffic. “I hope to arrive in time”, I told her, protecting myself from possible embarrassments and explanations that I could not give.


This is the part where I look through my pocket. I only have a few dozen euro, but in Hungary they have the Forint. In my left pocket, I have a credit card, and I put it in my pocket for security. In the event of loss or theft of my wallet, I always have a card available.
I’m closing in on the ticket machine. I look at where trains go and I don’t recognise any familiar names. Then I see Esztergom and I remember there was once the capital of Hungary, before Budapest. It is in a magical spot of the Danube and I remember, as if by magic, what the hotel porter recommended to me and Louise the last time we were here together. “This is a haven for a chic break from Budapest’s chaotic traffic.”


A stylish getaway… “I repeated it in the head. I finally figured out what I was doing in Budapest station. I ran away, I guess. From what? From everything. And the reaction wasn’t one of fear, but instead I had that feeling that I could explain to you how you while feeling when you pull out your first seven scrabble tiles of the of the bag of letters and mumble, oh fuck. That’s it.


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