Hungarian Story (1985)

hungarian apartment building

The sun was gray. I was getting dressed. My socks were dirty. I left home. I forgot to eat breakfast. At Batthyány tér, I took streetcar number 19. How many stops did I go, could you tell me? I think five. I didn’t recognize the street. Soon I found a tavern, but that was disappointing. Why? The conversation I heard, I didn’t understand.

Pardon me, do you have a light?

Of course–I said.

Thank you.

Okay, okay, I spoke. This was a big triumph. I don’t want praise, just a little small talk. Am I conscious of my purpose? I was almost numb. I’ll go. The rain is soft. The pigeons are chanting. I know that melody well. It’s always the same.

(translated from Hungarian by Egbert Starr)

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