Trafika Europe 11 - Swiss Delights

A Wider Sea

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Aunt Jolán would always say, the child is going to catch cold. Want to play dolls, I’m meant to have said as I wound strands of her thin silver hair around my finger until she groaned. I tugged and pulled at her hair, laughing. That’s what I’m told by those who remember. A little tyrant. A droplet (my nickname) who is growing well. Grandfather, who would have known how to stand up to me, dies three weeks after my birth. Mother (irascible and energetic) works hard in the pharmacy, surrounded by apothecary jars holding cretinous embryos. (The invading Russians didn’t drink all the alcohol, after all.) Father? He is proud of his tiny daughter. I grow up, under my aunts’ protection, between the factory apartment, the pharmacy, and the park. I switch suddenly from mother’s milk to paprika sausage, to the entire family’s consternation. Four teeth and a good dose of disobedience. That was my make up. One brittle November day in 2004, I greet the city like a stranger. Yet the pharmacy looks exactly like it does in the photograph. The main square is straight out of the photo album. As is the canning factory. And the


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