Waiting for the 18

 

… I get of the bus. I’m in Vásárhely (Târgu-Mureş)…Friday night coming from work and after a usual fight, the cars of the highway took me to Torockó (Rimetea) and from there I got to the banks of the Maros-river on Saturday night. I take my backpack and look at my watch. 21 hours and 40 minutes. I stand on the edge of the highway and stare at the road that leads to Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca). Nothing on the horizon… A skinny, grey haired old lady with glasses approaches. Two shopping bags in her hand, with a milk bottle looking at me from the edge of one of them. Excuse me. Could you tell me what I should take to get to Novi 7? – I ask her… Well you could take nr. 2 but that will take you there first, see? And only afterwards will it go where you want to go. The best would be if you took the 18, anyway I’m taking it myself… Could you please tell me young man what’s the time? ­– she asks me after a few moments. My watch shows 21 hours and 46 minutes – I answer searching for my phone in one of my pockets. Oh, then mine is a couple of minutes ahead. The time of the elders’ just hurries – she answers disheartened but with a seemingly childish voice. Where do you actually come from with these two large bags ­– I ask curiously, ‘cause at this time of the day an old lady should be in bed. I’ve just been at my brother in Cserged (Cerghid). Do you know where it is? Of course, not that far away from my grandparents… Were you born there? – Oh no, my parents come from that village. I was brought up in Bucharest until I was 14 and only spent two years in Cserged. – says the old lady. And still this small place grabbed my heart ­– and her eyes glitter with a joy unseen before by me. Then why don’t you move to Cserged, if your heart belongs there? – Oh, because of my husband young man. You know he grew up in the city. He studied all his life and after he became a professor he was decorated with the star of Romania. – she answers with a proud but in the same time bitter voice. And now we struggle with our measly pensions. A man or studies or earns money. For the family it’s better to earn money… The vehicle just arrived. Please let me help you – and grabbing her baggage I only now realized how heavy the old ladies bags were. She slowly stepped on the bus’s stairs and took a sit. I put her bags near her feet…21 hours and 54 minutes and I pay the 15 thousand lei ticket. Thank you very much young man and enjoy your staying… 22 hours and I get off in Novi 7.

Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) 30th of July 2007

Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureş) 28th of July 2007

 

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