My father drives me into Manhattan in the tastefully green Ford Grenada – four doors, beige interior – as sedanish as a sedan can be – my father who would never think of himself as someone who would drive a Ford sedan, only Americans would do that, people who don't know any better, not like him who grew up in Budapest, who was there while the city was bombed and the bridges spanning the Danube collapsed, not he whose favorite – whose only – dance was the waltz, who listened to Mozart and Beethoven – you get the gist.
Anyway, he drove me into Manhattan, to Lincoln Center, to the Metropolitan Opera House on a Saturday night and while we sat in our theater seats waiting for the lights to dim, he aid that my walking over that afternoon to see Alex, a beautifully long-haired, moustachioed man-boy, was not "elegant."
I don’t remember saying anything. I had perfected the art of freezing up into absolute steel.
What did he know?
What did he know of my dreams about Alex who was the best guy within reach I had seen so far?
I wrote his name over and over in the margins of my note book at school, watching myself do it, knowing I wasn’t quite as lost in the thought of Alex to really justify the doodling of his name but I guess wanting the fantasy so much – the guy, the romance – and this part – the doodling – was one piece I could supply myself.
Alex looked the part but that was about it. For awhile we had some sort of not quite romantic something but he was just a schizophrenic on meds living with his parents. I liked him because he was different.
I was so dying for the right horse to come galloping by and I’d leap on its back and get carried away. I thought it would be easy. You get done with school. You get away from home.
I hated home, but not enough, or I didn’t know enough how much I hated it, how antithetical it was to me. These good people – this noble Hungarian, this something-or-other mother, these innocent sisters, this house – our house. I must not betray any of it.
Something like that.
Though they would all deny it, each in their own way. They would each say that they want me to be happy. Can I just go straight ahead without them at all? Make no concessions whatsoever? I can hold onto this clarity for about thirty seconds.