Trafika Europe 11 - Swiss Delights

Ilma Rakusa

preparatory school with its Austro-Hungarian yellow, where my mother was a student for eight happy years. I cut swaths through the streets with my imagination as I walk. Everything is just around the corner, but as soon as my feet turn onto a street, it’s already ended; twee market town architecture, that is, single story houses with modest ornamentation, surrounded by low trees with spherical crowns. I recognize the appeal of having a complete overview: no one gets lost in this square. And this world, reduced to miniature proportions, appears more or less in order. (The source of mymother’smistrust of large cities, her inability to orient herself in them.) Already, I’m taking measure: from the statue of Mihály Tompa to the city park—0.8 km; from the Café Karpathia to the cemetery—0.9 km; from the preparatory school to the primary school where Aunt Jolán taught—0.6 km. The building is severe, its surfaces in flaking gray; its façade opens onto a shaded street lined with acacia trees while an athletic field has expanded at its side, desolately fenced in. Jolán was long since put to rest in the granite family grave, a rosary wound around her wrist. I stand before the Kontratovics’ final resting place, a bird scratches at the sand. The cemetery clings to the slope, a light blue sky above. I don’t need to search for traces of my family. I have no relatives left in R.S. Only distant acquaintances of my mother. But the city offers me its own reception, as if I were a long-lost daughter. With words of welcome


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