Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 09:49:34 -0700
Subject: thinking in hungarian
i am finding myself thinking in hungarian these days, it is very odd. perhaps it is because i cannot stop thinking about the romania thing... i fantasize continually, i daydream, i try out different solutions in my head. in hungarian. it is so bad that occasionally, when someone asks me something, i reply in... hungarian. then i catch myself, oh yeah, i say. i mean, this and this. i guess i am getting more exotic by the minute, ha.
so for solutions, what do you guys think i should do/try. some stuff i have considered...
for jozsi: i try to beg together a chunk of cash, something along the lines of a couple hundred, and get it to him somehow, either through the revs or i think he may be able to pick it up himself from western union. if i tell him how. first i check to see if western union has an office in vasarhely, of course. a chunk of money because there is a small chance that iren can have an operation, heart surgery.that would cost $200 around, a top surgeon would cost 500... but even with a top surgeon there is no more guarantee than with the cheaper surgeon, in fact she may not survive the operation. or it might not help her at all. but as things stand right now she will not survive the summer, according to the doctor. she is now bedridden, in and out of the hospital.
i know some of this from jozsi, the rest from the grandfather. jozsi did not ask me for this, jozsi has never asked me for anything.
the doctor may advise against the operation alltogether. that there is no chance. that is very possible. in that case, this money will help jozsi through some very tough months ahead... cause there is no way now for him to go to his job in hungary. he is at home, caring for iren, and caring for his children. it's either 5 or 6 children, i forget. these children are very nice, always clean, and all in school. they all read and write. cause that's jozsi and iren, responsible parents. yes, they too live in one room with a small kitchen and are very ppor, but that room, it is always impeccably clean. as are its inhabitants.
the oldest child, irenke is 18. a girl, named after her mother. in gypsy culture the oldest children are named after their parents, i think. anyways, irenke... i think irenke is gay. she dresses like a boy, acts like a boy. hair cut very short, dressed in boy's clothes. gestures like a boy. tries to pitch her voice very low. in fact when i first met her, i thought her to be a boy. when i said something to her mother iren about her oldest son, she laughed. she said, nono, my daughter. irenke.you know, irenke has a soul sickness, she said. oh, aha, i thought to myself. a soul sickness, yah.
at that time, irenke had run away from home, and iren was very worried. they had had a big fight of some sort and irenke had been away for days. iren asked me to look for her, maybe i would see her walking around vasarhely. okay, i'll look, i said.
i thought a lot about irenke. of how horrible it must be for her. with everything else, with the virulent racism... to be gay. how painful it must be. i mean, homophobia is so far out a concept there that it is never heard. gays are filth, period, no need to even mention.
so this 18 yr old girl.
and there she was, i see her on the central plaza. irenke, i yell after her. she comes over. we talk a little, i ask her how she's doing. fine, she says. she has some friends, she says.
irenke, i say. irenke, you know, the way you are. i mean, i thought you were a boy when i first met you. we both laugh. irenke, i want to tell you something important, so listen to me. you know, the way you are. where i live, you know, that's no big deal. she is listening. i know lots of people like you, irenke, i say. really, there it's okay, it's no bid deal. only here, only here is it so hard.
this is all i said to her. i did not mention words that she may not even know, you know, like gay and all that stuff, or whatever. i did not mention any particularities at all. nothing to cause more pain. all i said was that she was not alone. because, you understand how alone this girl must feel. how awful, sinful, whatever. and that there was absolutely no one to tell this to.
well, irenke listened intently to what i said. and there are others like me, she said. yeah, sure, i said. hey, good friends of mine, i said.
okay, she said, i gotta go now, and ran after some friends of hers walking by.
the next day, irenke moved back home, to the great relief of her mother. we never again talked of these things, but from then on, she would come sit with us at the little cafe, where sometimes me and the ladies went for a coffee-and-talk. and irenke now smiled a little.
anyways... back to jozsi. what's the best thing to do. and how do i do it. even if i can beg together the money to make this happen, i have to do it in some way that it does not humiliate him, nor create strife in the courtyard. because there is a lot of jealousy, understandably, everyone needing so badly.
and also, also, i also should to think of some way to, once again, try helping melinda's children. i don't know how i can do that, mihaly being like he is, and the revs not liking him. i am thinking hard on this problem, thinking hard, in hungarian.
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