On the wall it hung, from a long leather strap a couple of inches wide, a leather strap decorated with cut-outs and fringes. A flask covered in short brown hair, smooth like a horse’s hair, a wooden stopper sealing the flask’s mouth.
I did not touch the flask because of the smooth brown hair. I imagined it would shiver if I touched it, move, be alive.
I knew the flask was Hungarian, one of my father’s things, special, better than ordinary things. He spoke of the flask to me, in a proud voice, a voice designed to convince me what was right, what was wrong, and what was better, a voice with force and gusto, something that it would always take an effort to live up to, but that that was what was important -- living up to something, a standard, something that kept your head above water, better than other people, something that saved you from drowning.