My published books

and other publications

The Adventures of the Peculiar Meditittimo

Meditittimo’s and Maybe Flower’s First Trip to the Fairy Tale City

Maybe Flower was excited when she woke up. She prepared Meditittimo’s round honey toast. She could hardly wait for their departure to the Fairy Tale City. Meditittimo woke up rather grudgingly, but as soon as he saw the Fairy Tale City made up of leather rectangles, with the sun shining, the trains pounding, the towered houses rising, the trams meandering, and the bridges arching over the river, he started smiling.

            Maybe Flower helped Meditittimo get dressed and have breakfast, then they started off. They crossed the Hill of Fox via the secret tunnel and descended to below the Hill of Stars, where the green suburban train had just pulled in. They boarded quickly one of the spacious wagons, Meditittimo was rushing to the window. He was extremely happy, slapping his arms, clapping his hands even though in his view the green train was full of peculiar creatures. People with frozen, ash couloured faces were sitting sadly, they did not understand the newcomer’s enthusiasm. Maybe Flower and Meditittimo got off at Batthyany Square, they discovered the escalator and so they rode it. Eighteen times up and down, up and down. Then they strolled on the promenade on the Danube bank until they got on the yellow tram. They were watching the boats docking on the Danube. The sun was shining, a wonderful, promising spring morning was to come.

            In the tram, a tiny miracle happened. Meditittimo got into Maybe Flower’s lap and hugged her closely. An outsider might not have noticed anything particular, but for Maybe Flower this was the first time he expressed emotions for a long while. As if two pieces of a torn string were tied back together – yet again a few bricks fell from the wall.

            They got off the tram and took a seat in Café Hadik. Morning croissant, hot chocolate with whipped cream, what happiness! Maybe Flower was reading a magazine that featured various types of faces. Maybe Flower pointed to Meditittimo that ’This a happy face, this one is a sad face, that one is a surprised face and that is scared face’. They learned the facial expressions of the emotions. Once they were full with all the hot chocolate, they got on the tram again and crossed the River Danube. Meditittimo noticed a huge red crane on Kalvin Square.  They got off the tram and sat on a bench. The crane was lifting heavy concrete blocks. Meditittimo swung his legs while watching the crane. For over an hour he could not take his eyes off it. He was only willing to move once the crane stopped and a tiny dot descended on a ladder from the box high above. The crane man was having a lunch break. By then Meditittimo had started to feel pangs of hunger, too.

            They walked on further on the Small Boulvard and took the stairs at Deak Square to down under the ground. Meditittimo was struck with awe when he saw the small millenium underground. It was perfectly his size - not too small, not too big, and yellow. He was flapping his hands, flying like a little bird, the ash coloured faced people around him could not believe how much joy a moving yellow metal box could bring. They took the underground to the City Park and back to Deak Square. Again out to the park and back. They emerged to the surface when the small bell of the Evangelist Church struck noon on Deak Square. Meditittimo started off on Varoshaz Street while singing ’ding-dong, ding-dong’ over and over again. He then noticed a column with a LED light that descended to the ground then came out again once the car has passed. He found it fantastic – a column that disappears under the ground, then pops up again. It disappears again and even lights up when it comes back! Meditittimo was flying again. It can be stated without doubt that in that very moment he was the only person in the Fairy Tale City that was ecstatic about the traffic limiting column. A taxi driver who was watching him started to smile and said he had never seen anyone so happy about a column.

Maybe Flower sat on a bench, watched her son and was filled with joy. That moment something tilted inside her. She was extremely proud of this boy. The column kept going up and down, Meditittimo was flying, running around in circles, jumping up and down like a puppy. The tempting smell of the mackerels grilling on the terrace of the Gerloczy Café tickled Maybe Flower’s nose. Meditittimo also realized that he was hungry so they walked over to Kamermayer Square and sat at a table in the cafe underneath the huge sycamore tree. The plants were hanging upside down. Two canaries were chirping in the cage and the boy loved it. He wanted to open the door of the cage to let the birds fly, give them freedom, but he could not reach it. He was so happy, this day was so much his day and he could not keep it inside him. The businessmen dressed in striped suits stopped talking, closed their laptops and watched in admiration how Meditittimo was flapping his hands, flying around and jumping around in awe. After a while there was no one that could ignore him. Meditittimo only stopped when the waiter brought some hot chocolate with whipped cream. Then they stuffed themselves with tasty, smoked, grilled mackerels.

They were on the road again, marching in the middle of the street, on the way back once more they watched the column descending down under. They took the escalator to go underground, but this time they aimed for the Blue Line. The Blue Line underground – another miracle. All the way to Ujpest City Center and back. At Arpad Bridge Maybe Flower managed to entice Meditittimo to get off the underground by promising to buy a car magazine for him if they got on the yellow combino tram. And yes, she did, a magazine with agricultural vehicles, tractors, combine harvesters, and with the magazine there came a little John Deere tractor, wrapped in seethrough paper. Meditittimo held the magazine proudly in front of him on the tram and did so even when they got on the green suburban train.

Maybe Flower took the child onto her lap. The ash coloured faced, old lady sitting opposite them grunted that the boy would kick him and the edge of her skirt would be dirty. Meditittimo was thinking about something that happened earlier that day and started to laugh. Maybe Flower did not know what he was laughing about but his laugh was so contagious that she started laughing as well. The old lady got offended as she thought they were laughing at her, but they did not pay attention to her any more, they were not laughing - they were shaking with laughter. Then the boy started pointing at the ash coloured faces listing ’This is a sad face, this is a desparate face, this is a surprised face, this is a happy face’ - just like he saw in the magazine. As he was going through the faces one by one, there were more and more people smiling, more and more of the happy faces and less and less of the gloomy ash-coloured ones. This was the moment when it crossed Maybe Flower’s mind that this might be the reason for this child to exist – in order to bring smiles to the ash-coloured faces and to make them realize how beautiful a day might be and what a miracle it is to be alive.

Once they got off the green suburban train, they left the Fairy Tale City via the secret tunnel in the Hill of Fox and returned to the Kingdom of Artemisia. Meditittimo turned to Maybe Flower and said that it was the best day ever. Maybe Flower took a small piece of leather, drew a heart and wrote ’I LOVE YOU’ underneath. He called Meditittimo, took his index finger and spelled the phrase for him ’I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U’. Meditittimo then followed the letters with his finger on his own and said ’I LOVE YOU’ over and over again. He liked the phrase just like he liked ’furik’ a while ago and he repeated it a thousand times. Maybe Flower saw that in Meditittimo’s mind the sound and the picture, the meaning of the phrase ’I LOVE YOU’ and its symbol on the leather finally made a connection. Maybe Flower hugged the boy and felt that the wall between them had crumbled and she also felt as if Meditittimo was also hugging him more tightly than ever. Her tears started dropping, but these tears were tears of joy. She did not reveal to Meditittimo that she was crying as she could not have said what she wanted to in any other way, only by hugging Meditittimo, who for the first time in his life let her hug him tightly for a long long time.

Maybe Flower put the pictures drawn on the small leather rectangles and started to sew them together with a silver thread. When she was ready, she spread them on the floor. Two big wings took shape. She tried, too, what it was like to be lifted up above the ground.

(translated by Enikő Szalontai)

Once It Must Be Told

Alex’s Journey

by Levente Csender

"Alex slightly nodded off with the Daily Mail in his lap and with that the morning started to slowly drift into a light levitation. It had been quite a while since he felt this way, maybe when he was last embracing his wife. He was light as if some delicious Újházy consommé had been filling him with its warmth, as if he were lolling on a sofa after a good bottle of Southern red aszú from Ménes while lighting up a cigarette, as if angels were floating around him, as if he had been growing wings himself and would be swinging on fleecy clouds. He was surrounded by his family, they were all flying with him, his little sweetheart wife was feeding him with snippets of sultana brioche, she was serving freshly brewed coffee, her tights were showing off from her night gown, a little further away his in-laws appeared, he had not seem them for a long time now, they were all hugging and clasping him to their heart, cracking his shoulders, and telling him ’Alex, what a great fellow you have become, look how you are holding your own in Hungary as well’ and he proudly straightened his back, poured some wine, proposed the shortest of toasts ’well’ and laughed, he was kicking his heels and thrusting the cloud away, he travelled slightly further to where his children were giggling and jumping about, he pushed himself even further with the floating heavenly river raft, there he had his horse, who leaned his head on Alex’s shoulder and snorted out loud, Alex put an apple to his mouth and patted him on his neck, he travelled further, all the way up to the forest on the hill, he was breathing in the fresh air delightfully filled with pine trees and scented with chanterelle and was flying and flying beaming with joy with no end to his delightful bliss...

It seemed as if he had been dreaming for a hundred thousand years, yet it had only been for about a mere minute that on the 6th floor of a semi-finished condominium on the hook of a construction cane lifting the mobile TOI-TOI toilette in which Alex dozed off with the Daily Mail in his lap as a consequence of the three shots of pear spirit and a bottle of local beer consumed earlier that morning. It was a cozy little place, that blue box, Alex liked to retreat there at the start of the day, only that morning he forgot that the work would be completed there and the TOI TOI toilette serving the workers there would be taken away.

He could hear shouting from a distance: ’Alex, Alex, where the fuck are you?’

He could feel the floor moving slightly beneath his feet, even though a few shots would not normally make him feel dizzy, in fact not even four times as much as what he drank that morning,  he opened the door slowly and from there high up the breath-taking panoramic view of the 7th District in Budapest would unfold in front of his eyes, he recognized the Derby pub right away on the further side of the railway station, the Blaha Lujza Square, the Stefania Boulevard, he could see all the way to the Budapest Zoo,  but even further away, he could see the Parliament, the Castle, the Basilica, and he could recognize and believed to have seen the Transylvanian Királyhágó mountain pass over the Great Hungarian Plain, just to have his eyes wander off to the amazing Eastern Railway Station, where he arrived on the Transbalkan Express, and further to the corner house on Thököly Street, from the facade of which a sun looked back on him bathing  in the light and the warmth of the true Sun, the Murányi Street... The chain of the crane was descending, and there he sat, Alex, with his underwear at his ankle, with today’s Daily Mail in his hands, in the floating TOI TOI toilette, the students from the nearby school rushed to the window and were pointing at him. He was watched by Zella, the school’s Palóc matron from the North East who is always on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Stani, the French teacher, Miguel the Spanish guitarist, the cashier of the second hand shop, the computer mechanic, the famous zymbalon player, and everyone passing by down below stopped by to gaze at Alex flying by in the TOI TOI toilette. He was admired and envied by the entire 7th District in Budapest for his unmatched opportunity to ascend to high elevations in such an ultra light structure with no machine sound. But Alex did not give a damn about anybody, he was just floating, hanging and turning until the plastic relieve box landed on the tattered grey asphalt with a thud.

He then stood up, leisurely pulled up his underwear, took the newspaper under his arm, straightened his hat, and to the uttermost astonishment of his fellow construction workers, stepped out from the box to the street, with his eyes filled with the kind of joy that you can only see with people who have been to a very far and very happy place, and irrespective of them returning, their mind will not let memories fade away, they will just rush and make you smile even when someone 

(translated by Enikő Szalontai)