The sun was low on the city skyline pressing warmth against the tattered stone buildings that faced west. My destination was a Czech bead shop near the Oktogon, on the Pest side of the Danube RIver. This is considered a center, a mingling of luxury and pestilence, the mix of cobblestone covered in suet and the gleaming marble that the 2.5 million pedestrians traverse here in this stunning city.
A destination is just an excuse to have a trajectory. What happens along that questionable path is the goal. Other interests: churches, green spaces, architecture, signage, symbols, gypsies, dogs, and more dogs.
Just as you need a direction, you need points along the way, stories that make up the journey, something to orbit around because otherwise it’s collision. For example, language; I can’t push the contents of my mind into yours or suck your mind into me. It is necessary to form the ingredients into something we can consume, transforming our internal vast worlds into thoughts like flour, water, and fire transforms into bread.
In Budapest they have underground crossings to help pedestrians cross the immense intersections made up of many roads, lanes, and cars with impatient drivers inside. I thought I had found one of these shortcuts, but there are also subways which they call the Metro and I mistook a metro station for one of those crossways.The word in hungarian sounds like ‘laluulyarro’. I love that sound in my mouth, ‘laluulyarro’.
The pockmarked, hard face of the ticket collector yelled at me, “Ticket! You need ticket. Give me ticket, go get ticket.” Short and stocky, enjoying the power of his command, he swept me back up the stairs with the back of his hand as if a magic spell he cast. The only english he knew were those few words, so my apologetic explanation fell like a discarded wrapper onto the stained floor. But no, the sounds from my mouth were caught by a wind and swept up into a listening ear. She heard me, what I tried to explain to him.
I was at the top of the stairs. She ran after me, and in a heavy hungarian accent that made the english language sound like a slow moving river, muddy and warm after a hard summer rain, She said, ‘I heard you. It is this way you go.’ And she pointed me in the direction as we moved together among the bustling crowd. I thanked her and touched her shoulder. I told her she was nice. She walked away smiling.
We dance along a garland of sounds, threads that sew us into stories;
She was my tiny angel today. These days that’s all I need, tiny angels. I would have figured it out, but there was magic in that small interaction. I got to touch an angel. I got to feel a bit of kindness in a hard world.