Ai ajuns în sfârșit pe vaporaș. Mă bucur că ne putem auzi. Tu nu trebuie să-mi spui nimic, doar relaxează-te și bucură-te de priveliște. Uită-te în stânga. Acum în dreapta. Ce e acolo? Două maluri. Corect. Două linii. (șoptit) Deja ești în Orașul Paralel. Nu că-i magic? Să ai puterea să vezi lucruri nevăzute? Dar nu uita că numărul doi este cheia cu care se deschide povestea noastră. Atâta timp cât mergi printre linii paralele ești pe drumul cel bun. Suntem deja dincolo. Nu ne mai putem întoarce. Ce a trecut, a trecut. Ce vine, vine. Vezi cum curge apa? Noi suntem reflexiile din ea.
Fiecare dintre călătorii pe care îi vezi lângă tine are o poveste. Acolo în față, o să vezi o fată care citește un ziar. O cheamă Agnes. Lângă ea, ocupat acum cu telefonul lui de ultimă generație, iubitul ei. Îl cheamă Bence. Agnes și Bence tocmai sosiseră în oraș din Budapesta, într-o scurtă oprire în vacanța lor de două săptămâni. Agnes avea de gând să treacă scurt s-o salute pe mătușa ei, Iren, care lucra la Centrul Reformat din cartierul în care copilărise. Fabric.
Bence o tot întreba dacă să facă rezervarea sau nu. Dacă nu făcea rezervarea în două minute, iar ar fi sărit prețul. Agnes îi sugeră să rezerve pentru poimâine. Nu-și mai văzuse mătușa de trei ani.. Păi în stilul ăsta o să ne facem vacanța în Timișoara, remarcă el nervos.
Bence se uită la ziar. Cine e pictorul ăsta?, o întrebă pe Agnes. Numele de Barna Zoltan îi suna cunoscut băiatului. Stai, nu era același pictor care fusese implicat într-un scandal cu studente de la Arte? Cel care o pictase pe mama ei? Agnes îl lămuri că voia să îi ia un interviu pentru master dar Bence rămase suspicios. Sperase ca fata renunțase la căutarea bolnăvicioasă a mamei ei, care disparuse acum 20 de ani, dar se parea ca nu.
Fata îi mărturisi că avusese un vis cu ea. Mama pășise din tablou desculță, lăsându-și pantofii în urmă. Se îndreptase înspre Centrul Reformat. Dar până ca Agnes s-o prindă din urmă, mama dispăruse înăuntru. Si de câte ori Agnes voia s-o ia într-o direcție, mama ei îi arăta direcția opusă. Dacă greșesc, Bence? Bence era nedumerit. Ce să greșească? Totul. Absolut totul, răspunse Agnes. Dacă n-ar fi trebuit să dea la master? Dacă nu-și dorea, de fapt, să fie jurnalistă? Adică cine dracului ar mai fi vrut să fie jurnalist în Ungaria când toată presa era controlată?
Bence încerca să o liniștească. Lui îi mergea bine cu slujba de la primărie, urmau să îi marească salariul, și era chiar posibil să se mute la Bruxelles. Acolo poți să fii liberă să scrii ce vrei tu, spuse cu mândrie Bence. Tu vrei să ne mutăm?, se miră Agnes. Nu știu. Adică e posibil, se fâstâci Bence. Nu era nimic stabilit. Agnes își aminti că văzuse o hartă a Europei în vis. Germania, Olanda, Belgia… Și mama ei o luase taman în direcția opusă.
Bence nu se mai putu abține. El înțelegea că fetei îi era dor de maică-sa. Până la urmă și el își mai visa bunicul, din când în când. Bunică-tu n-a fost omorât! A murit de inimă, i-o tăie Agnes. Dar de ce era ea așa de convinsă că maică-sa fusese omorâtă. Nu plecase la lucru în Germania?
Agnes suspecta că mama ei nu ajunsese niciodată acolo. În Bielefeld, nu găsise nici măcar o urmă. Nici un Job Center nu o avea înregistrată. Așa ceva nu se putea la nemți. Și, la urma urmelor, de ce să nu mai fi dat nici un semn?! Dacă cumva pictorul ăsta o omorâse, într-o criză de gelozie?
Dac-ar fi știut că iubita lui avea de gând să rezolve o crimă-n Timișoara în loc să meargă-n vacanță, ar fi lăsat-o să se ducă singură răbufni Bence. Deja terapeuta lui se gândise că poate era ceva genetic. Fata se crispă brusc. Bence o făcea nebună pe mama ei? Acesta încercă să dreagă busuiocul. Chiar ea îi spusese că femeia era specială. Că uneori o îmbrăcase în țigancă și-o dusese pe la nunțile lor. Deci dacă mă lua la nunți țigănești, clar suntem nebune amândouă și eu bună de terapie cu Maria?, strigă Agnes. Tu mă crezi nebună?! Bence devenea din ce în ce mai stresat. Suntem doi, zise el ceva mai blând. O echipă. Vreau să-ți fie bine. Și să mergem într-o vacanță, adaugă, luând-o de mână.
Agnes îi mai ceru o zi. O singură zi. Era o șansă unică să fi vorbit cu pictorul. După care vacanță. Bence îi ceru și el o zi. La schimb. O zi de sex. Ai grijă ce-ți dorești. S-ar putea să nu duci, glumi Agnes întinzându-i mâna. Bence o trase înspre el. Agnes îl sărută cu pasiune, apoi se întoarse la citit.
În timp ce ea era absorbită de lucru, lui Bence îi veni o idee genială. Scoase cutia cu inelul pregătit cu grijă de acasă și tuși discret. Își imagina cum Agnes va țipa de fericire și poate toată lumea de pe vapor îi va aplauda. Visul îi fu întrerupt de privirea ei rece. Ce era asta? Un inel… de logodnă, spuse, Bence. Oare chiar se întâmpla coșmarul ăsta pe bune? Adică ea nici măcar nu se bucura de gest??? Păi nu suntem de patru ani împreună? Păi n-ai tot bătut tu apropouri… Nu tu-ți doreai asta? Nu de-asta am venit aici?
Bence era șocat. Nu-i venea să creadă că i se întâmpla una ca asta. Maică-ta a murit, Agnes. Și a murit acum 20 de ani. Dar eu trăiesc. Sunt aici!, strigă băiatul.
Ca să fiu cu tine, Bence… ca să fim doi, împreună… Trebuie ca fiecare dintre noi să fie întreg. Dar eu n-o să fiu întreagă până nu aflu ce s-a întâmplat cu ea.
Bence nu fu în stare să spună nimic pentru câteva momente. Apoi îi puse inelul de logodnă în palmă. Sper să găsești ce cauți. Și când ai găsit… mă găsești și pe mine la Budapesta.
În timp ce Bence pleca, Agnes nu putu să nu se-ntrebe, Și dacă greșesc?
Agnes și mama formau un număr doi, care a fost distrus, într-o bună zi. Flóra plecase să muncească în Germania și nu se mai întorsese niciodată. Nici un telefon, nici o scrisoare, nici o explicație. Mătușa Iren, sau Tuși cum îi zicea Agnes, o crescuse ca pe propriul ei copil. Și foarte curând toată lumea din jur se împăcase cu situația. Toată lumea în afară de Agnes. Ea tot așteptase ca mama ei să se întoarcă.
Lui Tuși nu-i plăcea să discute plecarea surorii ei. De fiecare dată când Agnes o întreba, și o întrebase nu de puține ori, Iren avea un singur răspuns: Ce să-i faci… Ea a plecat, eu am rămas să te cresc pe tine.
Dar fata mai avea încă amintiri cu Flóra. Își amintea perfect când merseseră împreună, acolo la munte. Căzuse în pârâiașul rece iar mama sărise încălțată s-o salveze. Sau poate greșea și era de fapt Tuși? Chiar aici, un pic mai sus, pe dreapta, ea și mama ei culegeau corcodușe de pe malul Begheului. Sau poate că fusese Tuși?
Agnes văzu foarte clar două linii paralele. Una cu mama în viața ei, alta cu mama dispărută. Ea era pe linia în care mama lipsea. Dar pe linia cealaltă, mama ei era prezentă. Ambele linii erau posibile deocamdată. Agnes avea să le transforme într-una singură. Linia libertății ei. Trebuia să afle ce s-a întâmplat cu mama ei acum. Era ultima șansă.
Végre itt vagy, a
hajón. Örülök, hogy halljuk egymást. Neked semmit sem kell mondanod, csak
lazíts és élvezd a kilátást. Igen, mint látod, vannak itt mások is. Utasok,
akárcsak te. De tudod, hogy mondják… mindenki a saját útját járja. Gyerünk,
nyújtózkodj ki. Lazíts. Olyan szép az élet, élvezni kell minden percet. Nézd
csak, éppen most telt el egy újabb. Vegyél egy mély levegőt. Tartsd bent, még,
még… (hosszú szünet) Ne feledd el kiengedni azért, jó? (nevet) Gyerünk…
nézzünk kicsit körül. Elárulok egy titkot. A Józsefvárosban, az állomáson van
egy portál. Onnan ágazik el a párhuzamos város összes vonala. Látod őket?
Adok egy tippet. Nézz
balra. Most jobbra. Mi van ott? Két part. Helyes. Két vonal. (suttogva) Máris a
Párhuzamos Városban vagy. Hát nem varázslatos? Hogy ilyen különleges dolgokat
láthatsz? Ma sok ilyet látunk majd. De ne feledd, a kettes szám a kulcs, amely
megnyitja a történetet. Addig, amíg a párhuzamos vonalak között haladsz, jó
úton jársz. És ez a gondolat aktiválta a portált és választott el mindattól,
amit eddig ismertünk. Máris a túloldalon vagyunk. Már nincs visszaút. Ami
elmúlt, elmúlt. Ami lesz, lesz. Látod, hogy sodor a víz? Mi csupán
tükröződései vagyunk. Most pedig: figyelem. Megpróbáljuk megtalálni azt az
Utast, akit követni fogunk majd.
Minden utasnak, akit
a közeledben látsz, van egy története. Mindannyian a két part között állnak. A
létezés két vonala. Mindenki vagy nyúl, vagy kutya. A nyulak menekülnek a
kutyák elől. A kutyák nyulakat fognak. Menekülünk: valaki elől, vagy valami
elől. Megpróbálunk elkapni valakit, vagy valamit. Kitalálod, ki a nyúl és ki a
kutya, itt a hajón?
(gyengéden) Te mi vagy? (szünet után)
Te ki vagy? (szünet után)
Igen, klassz vagy, de
nem te vagy az utas, akit keresünk. Menjünk egy kicsit közelebb a célponthoz. A
középső sorban ott van egy lány, aki nyári kalapot és napszemüveget visel, és
éppen újságot olvas. Ágnesnek hívják. Mellette, Hawaii ingben, az a barátja,
aki most a legújabb generációs telefonjával van elfoglalva. A neve Bence. De
csak egyikük az az utas, aki bennünket érdekel.
És itt kezdődik a
történetünk. Ágnes és Bence éppen megérkeztek a városba, Budapestről. Kéthetes
nyaralásuk egy rövid megállója ez. Ágnes röviden meg akarta látogatni a
nagynénjét, Irént, aki annak a negyednek a Református Központjában dolgozik,
ahol ő felnőtt. A Gyárvárosban.
You’re finally on the Vaporetto. I’m glad we can hear each other. You don’t have to tell me anything. Just relax and enjoy the view. As you can see there are other travelers like yourself here. But you know what they say: we all have our own way. Come on, stretch a little. Unwind. It’s so good to be alive and enjoy every moment. Look, another one’s just passed. Breathe in deeply. Hold, hold, hold… And now breathe out. Let’s look around. I’m gonna share a secret. In the Iosefin neighborhood, at the station, there is a portal. All the parallel city lines branch off from there. Can you see them?
I’ll give you a hint. Look to the left. Now to the right. What do you see? Two river banks. Two lines. You’re already in the Parallel City. Isn’t that magical? To have the power to see unseen things. Today we will see a lot. But don’t forget that Number Two is the key that opens the gates to our story. As long as you follow the path between parallel lines you’ll be on the right track. We’re already beyond. We can’t go back. What has passed, has passed. What is to come, will come. See the flow of the water? We are the reflections in it.
Now pay attention. We will try to spot the Traveler we will follow today.
Each of the travelers you see next to you has a story. They are all caught between two riverbanks. Two lines of existence. Everyone is either a rabbit or a dog. Rabbits run from dogs. Dogs catch rabbits. Either we are running away from someone or something. Either we’re trying to catch someone or something. Can you guess who’s a rabbit and who’s the dog here on the boat?
Are you a rabbit or a dog? Who are you?
Yeah, yeah, you’re really cool, but not the traveler we’re looking for. Let’s get a little closer to our target. Up ahead, you’ll see a girl reading a newspaper. Her name is Agnes. Beside her, now busy with his smartphone, her boyfriend. His name is Bence. One of them is the Traveler.
Agnes and Bence had just arrived in town from Budapest, on a short stopover on their two-week holiday. Agnes was going to stop by to say hello to her aunt, Iren, who was working at the Reformed Center in the neighborhood where she had grown up. Fabric.
Agnes was reading an article, underlining it with a pen, while her boyfriend Bence kept asking her whether to make the booking or not. If he didn’t book the room in two minutes, the price would have jumped. Agnes asked Bence if he wouldn’t mind waiting. She hadn’t spoken to Auntie yet. Maybe she’d need to stay one more day in Timișoara. Bence looked at his phone again. The price had jumped a lot. Agnes suggests he books it for the day after tomorrow. She hadn’t seen her aunt in three years. Bence checked but the day after tomorrow wasn’t cheaper either. The only affordable option was the day after that. Even better, Agnes rejoices. Well, in that case, we might as well spend our holiday in Timișoara, Bence snapped. We’re losing out on a beautiful mansion. He looked disappointedly at the banks of Bega River: this place looked like after the Russians bombed it. Agnes tried to cheer him up. She promised to take him to really beautiful spots. The Water Plant. The old synagogue. The Millennium Cathedral. The Brewery. But Bence kept starting at the riverbanks, frustrated at how these people mocked the old buildings, leaving them in ruins.
Bence looked at the paper. Who is this painter? he asked Agnes. The girl could only reply she was studying for her master’s exam. The name Barna Zoltan sounded familiar to Bence. Well, you probably heard about him on TV… They also made a documentary…, Agnes told him. Wait, wasn’t he the same painter who had been involved in a scandal with female Art students? The one who had painted her mother? Can you believe he has an exhibition at the Reformed Center? Maybe I can talk to him, she innocently said. Bence paused for a second, suspicion in his eyes. Why talk to him? For my master’s exam, Agnes continued innocently. An exclusive interview. Bence sharply noted that maybe she should have told him they were here so she can write a paper. Maybe he wouldn’t have taken all his days off this year. I see we won’t make it to Harghita at all. You did the same last time. On our European road trip. Although Agnes tried to deny it, Bence reminded her how they stayed in stupid Bielefeld to look for her mother. Now Agnes was again promising it was just a vacation. When in fact she was seeing a dubious painter, alone in his room. A dubious man who dedicated his career to the great love of his life. Which also happens to be your mother. Who of course you are not looking for. Auntie is there, Bence, I’ll be alright, Agnes said. Bence continued to read the article in disgust about how female students had accused the painter of harassing them. And you’re still trying to convince me that it has nothing to do with your mother, Bence reproached her.
The girl confessed she had a dream about her mom. A very clear dream. In the dream, her mother smiled at her. Then she stepped out of the painting barefoot, leaving her shoes behind. She headed for the Reformed Center. But by the time Agnes caught up with her, in the dream, her mother had disappeared inside. And now this article comes out. Don’t you see what’s happening? the girl asked Bence. See what? That you have an obsession? His therapist, Maria, had been begging Bence for months to tell Agnes to go see her. This whole thing with her mother was not healthy. Bence hoped his girlfriend had gotten over it. Agnes had dreamed of her mother for the first time in three years and this was important. And in her dream, whenever Agnes wanted to take one direction, her mother would show her the opposite. What if I’m wrong, Bence? she found herself asking out loud. Bence was puzzled. Wrong how? Like, if I get everything wrong. Absolutely everything, Agnes replied. What if she shouldn’t apply for the master’s degree? What if she didn’t really want to be a journalist? Who the hell would want to be a journalist in Hungary when the press was fully controlled? Wouldn’t it have been better for her to learn to make documentaries, for example? Agnes admitted that she had lied. She was dreaming of her mother every single night. She just couldn’t remember her dreams very well. All she remembered was her mother looking unsatisfied. As if Agnes had done something completely wrong.
Geez, I think you’re dreaming too much, Bence remarked. Even if investigative journalism didn’t work out for her, he could’ve helped her. He now worked for the Budapest City Hall. He was getting a big raise this fall. And his colleague, Matyas, had even heard a rumor that they were going to put him in the biggest European project. Maybe we’ll move to Brussels. You can be free there to write what you want, Bence said proudly.
You want us to move? Agnes wondered. I don’t know. I mean, it’s possible, Bence said. Nothing was set in stone. But the position came with a huge salary. At least 15 grand a month. Agnes, we could buy a house with this money, Bence continued enthusiastically. In a year or two – – What about my master’s? she stopped him. There were master’s degrees in Brussels too. She could’ve maybe transferred. If needed. Agnes couldn’t believe Bence was serious about moving abroad. I mean, in case things work out, he calmed her down. Agnes remembered seeing a map of Europe in her dream. Germany, Holland, Belgium… And her mother had walked in the exact opposite direction.
Bence couldn’t help himself any longer. OK, so Agnes was missing her mother. He also dreamed of his dead grandfather, from time to time. Your grandfather wasn’t killed! He died of a heart attack, Agnes snapped. And how can you be sure your mom was killed? Didn’t you say she just left to work in Germany?
Agnes suspected her mother had never made it there. In Bielefeld, she couldn’t find the slightest trace. No Job Center had her registered. And such a thing was impossible with the German bureaucracy. And why did she never hear from the mom again?! What if this painter had killed her in a fit of jealousy? The article said, plainly, he had drawn nothing but her mother during his tumultuous career. And now he wasn’t even leaving his room. What to do locked in a room for a year? A residency, Bence joked. But Agnes was serious. What if this is what her mother was trying to tell her in the dreams? That she had actually been killed?
If she focused a little, Agnes could even remember the painter. His scent. Tobacco and cheap brandy. He had been there with her when she was a baby. He had held her in his arms… Or was that her mom? She no longer knew for certain. But she perfectly remembered Zoli and Flóra were arguing. Something had happened back then. Something that was only now becoming clear in her mind. The only thing that becomes clear is what you want to believe, Bence ironically replied. Had he known his girlfriend was coming to solve a crime in Timisoara instead of going on vacation, he would have let her go alone. His therapist had already thought that maybe Agnes’ condition was something genetic. Agnes became very serious. Was Bence implying her mother was crazy? Bence tried to make peace. Agnes herself had told him that her mom was a little… special. That she lived hand-to-mouth. And sometimes she had dressed her up in gypsy dresses and taken her to gypsy weddings. So, if she took me to gypsy weddings, we’re clearly both insane? And I should start therapy with Maria? Agnes shouted. Do you think I’m crazy?! Bence was becoming more and more stressed. There’s two of us in this relationship, he said a little more gently. We’re a team. I want you to be well. And to go on a vacation, he added, holding her hand.
Agnes asked him for one more day. Just one. She had a unique opportunity to speak to the painter. Then vacation. Bence also asked for one day in exchange. A day of sex. From sunrise to sunrise. Be careful what you wish for. You might not be up to it, Agnes joked, striking a deal.
Bence pulled her toward him. Agnes kissed him passionately, stealing the newspaper from his hand. The girl got back to reading.
While being absorbed in her work, Bence got a brilliant idea. He took out the ring box he had carefully prepared at home and discreetly coughed. He imagined Agnes’ gasp of surprise and happiness. And how everyone on the ship would maybe cheer for the. So long, the ghost of Agnes’ mom! Knock, knock… Miss Investigative Journalist? Investigate this!
His dream was interrupted by her cold gaze. What was that? An . . . engagement ring, Bence said, confused. Was this nightmare really happening? Wasn’t she even enjoying his courageous gesture? Haven’t we been together for four years? Didn’t you give me all those hints? Didn’t you want this? Isn’t this why we came here for? To introduce me to your aunt? Ask for her permission?!, Bence continues. Ask it from her? Agnes exclaimed.
Bence was shocked. He couldn’t believe this was happening to him. Your mother is dead, Agnes. She died 20 years ago. She’s gone missing. I’m not sure if she’s dead, Agnes corrected him. That still sounds like “dead” to me. But I’m alive. I’m right here! the boy shouted, drawing the attention of the passengers on the boat.
You say you wanna be with me, when you’re not even here, in reality!? You’re living in a dream! A story! he bitterly said.
To be together, Bence… each of us must be complete. But I won’t be complete until I find out what happened to her. Can you understand this?
Bence was unable to say anything. He put the engagement ring in her palm. I hope you find what you are looking for. And when you found it… you’ll also find me in Budapest.
As Bence left, Agnes couldn’t help but wonder aloud: What if I’m wrong?
Agnes and her mother formed a number two, which was abruptly destroyed one day. Flóra had gone to work in Germany and never returned. No phone call, no letter, no explanation. Aunt Iren, or Auntie as Agnes called her, had raised her as her own child. And very soon everyone around had come to terms with the situation.
Everyone but Agnes. She had been waiting for her mother to return since then.
Agnes saw two parallel lines, very clearly. One with her mother in her life. And the other with her mother missing. She was stuck on the line where her mother was missing. But on the other line, her mother was present. Both lines were possible realities. Agnes would turn them into one. The line of her freedom. She needed to find out what happened to her mother. This was her last chance.