Trafika Europe 11 - Swiss Delights

Ilma Rakusa

where I was born without any trouble (second floor, window facing north-east) and I am left alone. The adjacent rooms are being renovated (hammering), I go out onto the sole balcony which offers a joyless view of warehouses and a neighboring brewery. My mother’s stories told of carts, of Károly the coachman who drove her to school, of the little pig named Pici who lived on the flat roof of the building next door until his time was up. Stories from another era. I feel my way through the darkness of non-memory, try to imagine how I was pushed in baby carriage through the nearby city park in deepest winter, in January, bundled up like a tiny mummy. On my current visit, the city park is bare and smells of decay. The park benches sit in slumber as if they wanted moss to cover them. Behind the park is the small river, the Rima; a bridge, a pavilion. This was my mother’s idyllic childhood. In one photograph, I’m toddling through the park in diapers. Maybe four-and-a-half years old. In another I’m standing on the balcony of the house where my mother’s pharmacy occupied the ground floor. It’s summer, I’m wearing a small white dress and a huge bow in my hair. The light is dazzling me, or is it an early sign skepticism visible in my face? Eyes slightly squinting, head tilted slightly, as if it were too heavy. I hold a teddy bear in my arms. A short time later, we moved to Budapest.


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