Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
The man and woman have grey hair and matching gold necklaces. They hold hands. People rarely walk down the escalator stairs in this Budapest metro station, as the angle is quite steep and there’s little need to hurry. Perhaps because of this, perhaps because he doesn’t care, the man stands on the left, clutching the handrail and the hand of his love as they descend. He leans over to kiss her cheek and spots me on the step behind them. He grins after the smooch, and begins saying something to me. I know how to say in Hungarian that I can’t speak Hungarian, but I always say it incorrectly. He shakes his head when I try. So I say: “Pardon, Angol” which is the phrase I use when I want an English menu in a Budapest restaurant.
The woman laughs, “Angol.” The man continues to speak, seemingly asking a variety of questions before she scoffs and surely reiterates that I can’t understand a word. He shrugs, smiles mischievously. “London?” He asks.
I shake my head patriotically, “America.” He doesn’t give me a blink of recognition, so I keep babbling, “Colorado. Denver? America?” Also grasping at a word he might know, I try, “Texas?” I’m not from Texas, but I don’t mind being associated with Texas. And this word turns on the light bulbs, they both nod and laugh, “Texas! Texas!”
It takes this long to get to the bottom of the escalator ride. As we part ways, he keeps saying things to me, she keeps giggling at him, and I keep smiling about their kiss. I am so grateful. I’ve been struggling with writing lately, and wondered if my inspiration had come to an end, but I immediately pulled out my notebook to scrawl notes from our encounter. I felt I had to tell their sweet story–or, at least as much as I could understand.