This One

A breath of fresh air was blowing. Adele felt it hissing by her ears as she stood waiting for the tram. In the distance, she saw the front lights of the tram approaching. She threw her cigarette to the ground and squashed it under her feet, as she prepared to hop on the tram at Deàk Square, in the centre of the city, and head home. Packed like a sardine box, Adele struggled to find a place. At the end of the wagon, she noticed several empty seats, but none of the standing passengers seemed to want to sit there, or even approach them. She wondered why, and then she noticed at the very last seat, a homeless man was half seated on the chair, sleeping, with dirty bags around him. As she moved to sit down, she realised that most of the people were avoiding the smell coming from the man. But she didn’t mind. She could tolerate the stench of alcohol, sweat and an unthinkable time of lack of hygiene. His stench was the last of her worries. Staring out the window, she watched as the city streets rushed before her. In her mind, memories of the time when, by Gabor’s side, she was loved, a time when she felt secure, special, wanted, complete and belonging. But that time was gone now, and she had no hopes of its return. At age 32, she wondered if she would ever meet the man who would stay with her forever. For a glimpse of a moment, a smile found its way on her face as the tram crossed the river from Buda to Pest, and she noticed Margaret Island and its dense trees in the distance. She remembered those evening walks she would have with Gabor, hands clasped together with her small fingers playing around his strong hands, her head leaning on his solid shoulder, his soft, long black curls gently touching her face from time to time, and their slow footsteps lightly touching the grass under them. She remembered his lush lips and how they sensually would touch hers. She remembered how he held her in his muscular arms, between his wide chest muscles, making her feel as if she was sinking into his body. As the tram moved on and the island went out of sight, her smile faded.

Adele opened the door of her apartment and walked in, receiving a glorious welcome from her black Persian cat, Cleo. She went down to her knees and petted her little friend. As she walked into her bedroom, she heard something crack under her feet. She turned on the light, and found a wooden frame on the ground, its glass completely shattered. She picked it up carefully, thinking that it may have been Cleo who dropped it as she wandered around in her eternal discovery of the apartment. It was a picture of her and Gabor. She remembered that day as if it were yesterday. They had been out with Joana and Istvan, for a walk in Margaret Island. After a long walk, Gabor stood behind her and held her in his strong arms, and Joana made the picture.

Suddenly, the pain came back. She remembered how only a week ago Gabor had met two of his high school friends who had just moved to Budapest from France, Sarah and Isabelle. He offered to show them around the city and help them discover its hidden gems. She was busy at the time and could not follow them on their exploration journeys around Budapest. But Gabor had freed himself every evening and, on the weekend, to take care of the newcomers. He seemed to get along very well with Isabelle. They were both passionate about history, which Adele hated and never even tried to participate in such topics.

It was barely one week after this chance encounter that Gabor confessed. Isabelle was his childhood sweetheart, a love he had never fully recovered from, and the passion had resurged once again. He was leaving Adele and joining Isabelle. He swore that nothing sinister had happened between them, and that he could not help himself, he simply fell in love. But that did not change the heart stabbing feeling she had. After three years together, it took only a few days for him to forget her and love someone else.

She held the picture, squashed it in her hands, and she cried.

She cried rivers of tears, blackened by her mascara, staining her white skin with dark lines flowing down her cheeks.

She cried as she undressed.

She cried as she lay in bed.

She cried, till she fell asleep in her tears.



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