Challenging Times

Sándor Szakács

It’s a foggy and rainy day, basically a usual autumn day. I was in quite a good mood, as I knew I was going to meet my friends, who I hadn’t seen in a long time, as they had gone to other cities to continue their studies. We planned to sit in a café to have a chat, then roam around a little bit in the city. My day went just as usual. I got on the bus—which of course was crowded—then fortunately found a seat, so I sat down and plugged the earphones in my ears and played some music to which I could doze off until I arrived at the bus stop in front of the school. My day went great until I got a phone call. I looked at the screen and recognized my father’s number. I picked it up.

—Hey,why did you call me?—I asked.

—I have some bad news, as I can hear you haven’t heard it yet.

—What do you mean? What’s the matter?

—Your friend Barna had a car accident in the morning. He was badly wounded.—He stopped for a second, then continued.—He didn’t survive.

At first I couldn’t believe it was true; I thought it was some dark, naughty joke.

—What? If you’re joking,it’s not funny.—But somehow I knew he wasn’t joking; I heard it in his voice.

—I’m sorry.

For a minute neither of us talked; I just stood there in the hallway and tried to find an explanation for what I had heard. I couldn’t, I still can’t until this day. It’s impossible to describe what I felt. The feeling of helplessness and powerlessness.

—If you want to, you can come home and talk it over. Shall I call your class-master?

—Yes—I said slowly—that would be great. Thanks!

On the way home, on the bus, I was wondering whether Ákos and Ricsi—my other friends I would have met today with Barna—knew about the bad news. I hit them up on Messenger; they knew about it too. They were still in shock along with me. When I got home and talked it over with my parents, I felt a little bit better, but it didn’t really make a difference. I came to realize that we start to value our real friends after they are gone. Even after these years, it hurts to think about how many memories we could still have made.