THE VILLÁNYI FRANC
Love is immortal, but alas it is not eternal, it is merely always renewed, but should you (also) have fortune and fortitude on your side, you can keep reigniting the spark of this miracle when you are by another’s side. And at such times, as on that first day, your pupils narrow, the rhythm – the heart’s divine beat – begins to thrum in your ears, you stare in sudden amazement at the other, who happens to be your other half, that despite everything what a wonder he or she is, after all, for putting up with you, for being able to rejoice in you, when for days or weeks you have been only just about able to drag yourself along.
To rejoice in each other a little, or even perhaps really like you did the first time.
For my part, when I first saw the one, now my partner in life, my wife, it was like trying to walk in a quagmire. I happened to be on my way to work in a theatre, the weather was foul, but the sun had managed to struggle out for a moment, the glass doors slid open, and there the girl was, at reception, by the desk, there she was, the girl, standing there, just as the boss had promised, and I saw her, and my heart skipped three beats. During the first skipped beat I feasted my eyes on the girl’s lips, those sensuous, wide, thick lips, with which she smiled as if she could see the future, during the second skipped beat I also noticed her eyes, those chestnut eyes, green and agleam, and by the third there was even time for her slim legs. But for nothing else.
By then I had run out of air to breathe. My heart was beating once more, I could hear in my ears the loudness of its pounding. I felt suddenly liberated, as if until that moment all my passageways, my ears and nose, had been clogged with water, I again became aware of space, that space existed, that I was standing there in the theatre corridor, and standing there, too, was the girl with the chestnut eyes. She offered her hand and I just stared at it, not offering mine, it lasted just a split second, a single beat, but long enough to betray my confusion, and at this the girl again broke into a smile, said something, but my hearing had gone, though I did have something resembling it, yet I could neither hear nor understand what she was saying, I could just feel the sounds on my skin: her words were caressing me.
And it is this moment that may return. Should it wish to.
And at such times, from the ethereal triangle of desire, wonder and humility there gleams a tiny spot, actually not a spot, but a spyhole, through which for a moment you catch a glimpse of yourself, of your way of life and of what you really are, and truly comprehend that this whole business means something only because of those who, despite it all – or rather, in fact, because of it – are with you.
It’s no more than a gulp, this instant, a flash, a thickening of the blood, time itself seems to trickle by more slowly, fate samples you at times like this, the moment glows red and fills with love’s acidic giddiness: this is how you should, how you must, how you really can live.
English translation © Peter Sherwood 2019