Consider "I felt indecisive" instead of "I was indecisive."On Monday, I took a stroll to the city centre. My mind was racing with thoughts about my future. I was indecisive and insecure. I knew I could not live on like that.
in that way.I had to make a decision. Either I was going to stay and put up with my miserable refugee life, or I was going to return to my homeland and face the music. I walked the streets like a somnambulist, without looking at the glossy shop windows or passersby. Suddenly, in front of me, I saw an elderly woman in black lugging two “Aldi” bags in her hands. She was short and frail and struggled with the bags. The scene brought me back to reality. I felt (a sense of) pity for her. When I came abreast withof her, I asked, “Excuse me madam, could I help you with your bags?” She halted, looked up at me with suspicion in her dark eyes with suspicionand asked, “Where are you from?” When I told her, her suspicion melted away into a smile. “We are neighbours. I’m from Hungary,” she said. I took her bags, and we walked together towards her flat. She told me her name was Edit, and she lived alone after her husband Lajos had died lastthe previous year. I followed her to the front of her block, and she said, “Would you like to eat lunch with me? I made goulash this morning, and I’d like to eat in company.” I knew that Hungarian food is famous, and I was keen to put some homemade food in my stomach, after the camp’s tasteless meals. When I answered, “Of course,” her wrinkled face brightened.
We took a lift to the third floor. Edit opened the door of her flat, and we stepped inside. It was a spacious three-room flat, whose walls were covered with landscape paintings and black-and-white portraits of Lajos, (Edit) herself, her children and her relatives. We sat in the kitchen, and Edit piled
mythe food onto my plate. to the brim.The goulash was spicy and tasted delicious. ly.It made me feel relaxed, and I felt so grateful to this woman, who invited me to her home. She made us coffee and put in front of me another plate heaped with strudel, which I ate with relish. I asked her how she ended up in Germany, and she told me it was in 1956, when the Russians camewent to crush the uprising in Hungary. Her husband, who was a mechanical engineer and actively supported the revolt, had no choice but to flee the country. They were newly married, and together they crossed the border to Austria. A few months later, they moved to Germany. Slowly, they built a new life there. Lajos got a job in a factory as an engineer, and she started to work at a cashier -outin a supermarket. They got two children, who both became doctors.
“What you see here is nothing,” Edit said. “All this furniture, carpets, curtains, pictures, knick-knack and other stuff does not feel like mine. What is mine had remained in Hungary, and it will never be mine again. Both my parents had died, and I never visited their graves. In my mother’s orchard, there was an old oak. I used to play around it when I was a child, and later whenever I visited my home, I would greet it and hug it as an old friend. That oak I’ll never see again.
JanosLajos and I had been inwent to dozens of countries since we came here, but what good is travelling all over the world when you can’t visit your homeland? Do you want to end up like me with your body broken and dying of nostalgia? The Germans will respect you as long as you toil away, but if you get ill, they’ll discard you like junk. You’re smart. Don’t be a slave. Return to your homeland, get a good education, and then you’ll be free.”
hadspent the afternoon with her, and we exchangeddiscussed our experiences and thoughts about communism and refugee life. Before I left, Edit hugged me firmly, pulled me towards her and gave me a long kiss on my forehead. Never before had anyone given me such a kiss. I looked at her, and behind her dark eyes, deep shadows, wrinkles, and greying hair, I saw a young and passionate woman, who some invisible power had sent to me to tell me the truth and show me the way. I wished she were my mother. If I had stayed a moment longer, I would have cried.
TO BE CONTINED
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