Folyosó Spring 2020 - Page 2

Changing Roles

Dorottya Turza

As a nose I didn’t have much to do. I was just a part of a face. With or without me, a person could go about his life. I had plenty of time to think about my importance. As Kovalev’s nose, I could experience upper-class life and all its glory first-hand. Apart from that, I didn’t feel like I was really enjoying that life, that inertia. I wanted a life that was mine. Really mine. So one day I left him.

My new life didn’t start as I expected. To my unluckiness, a familiar figure desperately tried to get rid of me. So he threw me into the river. As soon as I got out of this unfortunate situation, I started thinking about how I was supposed to go on. That’s when I got an idea. Over the years, I had watched Kovalev closely. I had witnessed his arrogant and uppish personality and also his obsession with social status. I hated how he considered himself better than anybody else. In addition, Kovalev unwittingly showed me the path that leads to success.

So I disguised myself as a senior government official. Who would think that people would look up to me just because of my appearance? I hadn’t done anything yet, but despite that, I found myself in a carriage. At that moment I felt free. I could do whatever I wanted. I had gathered quite a lot of knowledge in the past, but there was much that I had still never seen. And then something caught my eye. It was a church. I had never prayed before. At least not by myself. So it was decided. I walked in. It wasn’t long before a familiar voice disturbed me. It was Kovalev. When he first accosted me, I reacted automatically with a rude question. After the words left my mouth, I realized I almost fell out of my role. So I tried to be as polite as I could. That fool wanted me back, but I pretended to know nothing and left quickly.

I really enjoyed being on my own. But we all know that nothing lasts forever. A police officer recognised me. In the blink of an eye, I found myself again in Kovalev’s hands. I felt awful. My intention and ambition were all in vain. This new life was quickly over before it had even begun. Kovalev raised me to his face and was about to put me back where I used to belong. So it was the end of the story. But not for me. At that very moment I didn’t want this to be my first and last adventure. I wanted to experience more of life. So I fought. I stubbornly left his face again and again. My stubbornness seemed to succeed. He gave it up.

After I won the battle, he stopped trying. He just avoided me. Several days passed this way. I was relieved, but as I watched Kovalev I became uncertain. He looked so sad and pitiful that I unintentionally felt sorry for him. At first I attempted to avoid this feeling, but it became greater and greater. I tried to imagine myself in his position. No matter how I considered it, I just didn’t understand why he was so broken. He could live his life just as before. I was just a part of his face, so why? Than I realized it didn’t matter why. He really needed me. So maybe it was the purpose of my existence from the very beginning. It wasn’t a significant role, but it was of enormous importance to someone. From that day on I became Kovalev’s nose again, and I haven’t regretted it ever since.

At least that’s what everyone would think. Unfortunately it isn’t the case. When I returned to his face, he was so happy. He even tried to be a little nicer to others. Just the thought of this warmed my heart. But after that week, he returned to his normal self. Once again he became the same arrogant and stuck-up person he had been before this ‘incident.’ Maybe I had overestimated him. Nothing has changed. It seems no one is really able to overcome his true nature. But now I think it doesn’t bother me as much as before. Even though I don’t always go along with his conduct and actions, it’s still my job, which someone has to do anyway.

This is an interior monologue based on Nikolai Gogol’s story “The Nose” and told from the nose’s point of view.

Pages from the Footman’s Diary

Gréta Tóth

March 25th:

Today Major Kovalyov woke up early in the morning, about half an hour later than I did. I was humming in the kitchen while helping the housemaid with the preparations for the Major’s breakfast. We didn’t really talk (I guess it was still too early for that); we just did the regular chores: she was making coffee and I was setting the table. This is how it went every morning, but today it was different.

The Major didn’t come to eat breakfast, not even to drink his coffee. Instead, we only heard quick footsteps and the opening of the front door. He simply ran away and didn’t even close the door after himself. It was not like him, not at all.

We were left there speechless. We couldn’t do anything but wait. It seemed like forever. He didn’t show up, not until late afternoon. That’s when I realized what the problem was. The Major did not have a nose. It had simply disappeared. He was really mad, furious some would say. Later that night, a police officer came by to talk to him. I didn’t hear anything, but I suppose it was about his missing nose.

April 7th:

Weeks went by and the Major still had no nose. A lot of people said it was walking around the city (the nose, that is), but he couldn’t find it. One morning, the housemaid and I were doing the usual morning routines when we heard happy crying. I ran upstairs and couldn’t believe my eyes: the Major’s nose was again on its place, between his two cheeks. I’ve never ever seen him so happy in his entire life.

This is an interior monologue—a diary, rather—based on Nikolai Gogol’s story “The Nose” and told from the footman’s point of view.

Lilla Kassai: The Lonely Castle

Lilla Kassai, The Lonely Castle (acrylic and glowing paint)

Will It Be Unfamiliar?

Kázmér Kaposvári

Let’s think about the fact that we go to school every day, we learn, we do some sports, and most of us are just eager for summer to begin. These are familiar actions, feelings, and thoughts that we have every year.

For those people who were really just waiting to be home at last, I have good news (and bad): all of the students will have to stay home (we know why…), and let’s say that it is really unfamiliar for people to think they finished school already at the end of March. But the most unfamiliar thing for all of us is that we are going to learn till the end of the year without going to school. The lifestyle we are going to have in these rough few months is far from ordinary. Most people wouldn’t have ever thought that a crisis like this would happen, just because we all think these things only happen in history books and films and that we, humans, have developed so far in technology and medicine that we are able to solve anything. This will be the moment when people realise that the life they were planning is changing in ways we don’t know yet.

Personally, I still can’t put this anywhere, but I have some thoughts about what is about to happen: I think that this is going to unite humanity or else destroy it. If we are about to be destroyed, it will be because everyone will steal food and medicine from each other. But there is a really outstanding idea about what I think may be in the future. I believe that the virus is going to evolve and become more deadly and kill more people at a higher rate. This is not a great problem at a global level because this wouldn’t destroy nations, it would only cause big casualties. Most nations are able to withstand this pressure over the long term, and if some of them need aid, then other countries might come into the picture and help out.

Well, this is nice, and this way we are happy that we don’t all die out, but there is an exceptional country called North Korea. I believe everyone is aware of how things usually go there. Sadly they live in a communist dictatorship; furthermore, they keep their borders closed all the time. So they don’t really accept any help or even request any. Still, a few months into the pandemic, we don’t know much about their situation, as their official statements are not reliable. From what we can see, their economy and health system are not ready to fight off a pandemic like this. Of course, they also take precautions against the virus, so when  the first man got infected there, they immediately ordered him to stay in quarantine, but somehow he managed to ignore this and went to a public spa. When the local forces found him, they reportedly executed him. This act sent a message to all people in North Korea not to ignore the situation, as the country has a very strict legal system. But this is just the beginning, as there will be more infections they won’t be able to stop, and the president (Kim Jong-un), as we all know, likes to play the role of king. The minute he sees his empire tremble (the death of many people and also the army), he might use his little secret card that he has played so much with over the last few years: nuclear bombs. I know this sounds unfamiliar and unimaginable, but because there will be a lack of medicine and masks, he might use this threat to gain some help from neighbouring countries. Also, if this day comes and he is about to lose everything, or even worse, about to die, well, in this case he will not care; he will press the red button and destroy everything, only because if he dies, why shouldn’t he die with the rest of the world?

If not this extreme scenario, then the worst case will be wars, which are likely because of the supplies that the world needs. In that case, many countries will fight each other to survive. In such a world, learning at home would already be a luxury. The life that once seemed unordinary would now look distant.

Let’s just face it, as far as imagination goes, these are the worst and most unfamiliar scenes that I can come up with: nuclear aggression from North Korea, or fighting all around. Yet we know that these would not solve the problems. For this reason I personally think and believe that neither of these extremes will happen, and that we as countries and nations will all be able to help each other out.

Fear of Darkness

Lili Galics

Imagine a person whose worst awe is the dark, and then replace him or her with yourself. Think about it: if you have that fear, how will you see common things around you?

For example, you are in your own room, maybe it is nice and clean, maybe it is a bit messy and untidied, but it is your familiar room. You know every single part of it, even the little “dust bunny”under the table or the laundry on your chair. Now imagine  the whole room at night. Believe me, it won’t be the same.

Obscure light enters the room from outside, the willow tree in front of your window transforms into a million-armed monster who wants only you. The congested laundry on the chair also looks like every other thing and creature except what it actually is. Now you are watching your door and telling yourself, “it is just a door, nothing special,” but your imagination starts playing with you. So what you see now is still a door, but once it starts to open, you see a person’s shadow walking by it. And you are just sitting or laying in your bed, waiting for the next morning, and hoping no one is looking at you in the dark and waiting to catch you.

If you deeply think about it you are the person who ruins every night; moreover, you do it with your own imagination. What do you think now? Your biggest fear is in your head, and you are fighting with yourself over it. Darkness isn’t a bad occurrence, until you turn into it.

Going Home

Lili Forgács

I have a secret that nobody knows. What is more, nobody knows me exactly. I left my village a few years ago because they chased me away. They never let me alone. I couldn’t hear silence at all; this is the reason why I moved away. What are they? They are other people’s thoughts. I can read others’ minds. No, this is not the proper expression for it. I can’t read them, but I hear them. I hear what others think and I can’t turn it off. Believe it or not, it’s very annoying.

I wasn’t always like this. Something happened when I was ten years old. I was at school, playing with my bestie, Sarah, when I heard McKanzie, the rich and cool girl, say something rude about Sarah. I got very angry and stood up for my friend. Well, in the end it turned out that she hadn’t said a word, and I became the one who hears things that are not true. More situations like this happened over time, and I realised that there was something wrong with me. I tried to talk about the phenomenon that I was experiencing to my parents and friends, but they didn’t believe it. I don’t blame them; I wouldn’t have believed it either.

Over the years I got used to my so-called ability, but I became fed up with it too. I always felt that I didn’t belong to the community. Now I live alone in a small house, which I rent from an old couple, in the mountains. Here everything is peaceful. I can hear nothing and it’s wonderful. I spend a lot time in nature, read books, and paint pictures.

I am watering some vegetables in the kitchen garden next to the house, when I hear some whistles. It means that somebody is very close to me. I become anxious; I don’t want to meet with anybody and hear his or her thoughts. I am not ready for that. The whistle becomes louder and louder, I hear the stranger coming. One more step, and I will spot him or her. A man my age appears. He is handsome, wearing dark clothes and a black trenchcoat.

‘He can’t be a tourist,’ I think. ‘Tourists don’t look like him.’

‘Are you her?’ he asks me as he glances my probably terrified face.

‘Who?’ I reply. ‘I am sorry, sir. I don’t understand your question.’

‘Are you Kate Lightwood?’

Oh my God, he knows my name. ‘Maybe,’ I answer and start thinking about escape.

‘You don’t need to think about escape,’ he says. Great, he can read my mind. ‘You are safe now’—wait a moment, he can hear my thoughts, just like me. It’s strange, I can’t hear his. Maybe it’s because I’m too scared.

‘OK,’ I answer although it is absolutely not OK.

‘Look, you need to trust me,’ he says and starts walking towards me. ‘I promise I will tell you everything you need to know. But now, how about if we drink a cup of coffee?’ At this moment he grabs my arm, and the world blurs around me.

Now, ten years have passed since this incident. On that memorable day Kyle, the stranger in the black trenchcoat, changed my life for good. He brought me to Molyland, a secret city where only Hearers live. He told me everything, as he promised, and taught me how to live a normal Hearer life. It was so easy to learn; I just needed to be myself.

The Future’s Expectable Horrors

Kázmér Kaposvári

In the not-so-distant future in 2100, there is a young man named Joe. He has had a very difficult life so far, but he is used to it, and now he just fears that it will become much worse.

Our world has become more industrialised, as people could not reverse global warming; in the past fifty years we tried to escape to higher grounds and to regions far away from coastal cities. Because of the great pollution and the extreme heat, people moved underground and established new cities there, and this made life possible. There were some expeditions to Mars; some people claimed that this planet was colonisable, but we ran out of time and had no way to complete this idea. We knew how great the problem was, as scientists had already predicted this decades ago. Due to the amount of rubbish people were generating every day, as well as the demand for improved technology, more and more factories were built. We had already used all of the earth’s natural resources, like gas and oil, so we tried to build solar panels, but we were already late for that act too, as our atmosphere didn’t let enough light through, so this idea was also dismissed. During the last decade our lives became miserable as two major societies separated from each other: the wealthy ones and the poor. The poor had to mine in the underground cities for a living and lived in the most disgusting places with scant hope of seeing even a little sunlight in their lives ever again. The wealthy layer had normal flats and most of the things they needed to stay alive in this situation. Yet they were fearful too, as the end of humanity was nearing. They also knew that the earth had nothing like its former ecosystem, as 80% of the animals had gone extinct. This is a crisis which cannot be reversed; now we have to solve this problem on our own, as the blue earth that our parents once knew has died and abandoned us forever. These are the greatest consequences that have already happened, and now people worry about how they will even survive the next day; will they have enough water, food, medicine, or even breathable air?

Joe is living in a nice flat, but his everyday life is getting more and more difficult, and the news from the radio is not promising. Lots of people are suffering from stress. Joe often prays to God and wants to reverse lots of things; most of these are things people did in the past that got us here now. “We are here because of the greed and laziness of the seven billion people on the planet. They could see that it was already turning bad, as they had small signs from Mother Nature, but nowadays I fear that only 2-3 billion people can survive these natural disasters. Now I just hope that in a distant galaxy where people are struggling with this greed and laziness from the beginning, they will be able to see this as the greatest threat of all. This is like when the dinosaurs went extinct, with just a little difference. Now the decision lies in our hands. From this distant dead planet I am sending this message to all in the galaxy, so that you might learn from our mistakes.”

Anna Mészáros: Three Pieces

Anna Mészáros, The Squirrel of the Tower

Anna Mészáros, Staring Angel at Oxford

Anna Mészáros, Hold My Lamp for a Minute!

The Snow Globe

Bernadett Sági

Emily was a very ordinary girl. Her parents were divorced, and she lived in Michigan with her mother. It was December, the last week of school before the break. Emily was going home; when she got to the door of the house, she was surprised. In front of the door, there was a little box with her name on it. She picked it up and went inside.

“Mom! I’m home,” she said while putting down her bag and the box and taking off her shoes and coat. She went to the kitchen and found a sheet of paper on the table.

I went to do the shopping, I will be back soon.

She dropped it back on the table and went to her bedroom with her bag and the ‘secret gift.’ When she got to the room, she threw the schoolbag down next to the desk and lay down in her bed with the box. She stared at it for a few seconds but was too curious, so she opened it. It was a snow globe, with a tiny but peaceful city inside. She shook it a couple of times and then just looked at the small snowflakes falling down. Emily thought that it was beautiful, and it really was. She put it on the shelf opposite the bed, and it occurred to her that maybe her father had sent it. While she was starting to write her homework, her mom came home.

She couldn’t sleep that night; she kept staring at the snow globe and thinking about it. Who had given it to her and why? Finally she fell asleep. When she woke up, she wasn’t in her bed, not even in her house. Emily got up, scared; she didn’t know what to think or do. She ran downstairs, went to the door, and stopped there. She hesitated but finally opened it. Snow was falling and everything was white, and maybe Emily would have found it wonderful if she hadn’t been so frightened and exhausted. She slowly stepped out of the house and gazed at the narrow roads and friendly houses. Everything was so quiet and calm, contrary what was happening in her head. Emily knew that she had never been in that place before, but she found it familiar.

“What’s happening?” she asked herself and slowly turned around, taking a look at the house out of which she had stepped a minute ago. It was quite large and homely. Everything was so confusing around her. What was she doing here, and what was that place? She went step by step toward the centre of the town, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the sky. It was really strange. It was light blue and it sparkled, but not in the usual way. It was as though there were a glass cap above the world. And then she realized. She was in the snow globe. She couldn’t breathe. She looked at the city around her again and again.

“It can’t be real,” she whispered, but she knew that nobody would hear her. Or what if she was wrong? At that moment she saw somebody behind a house looking at her. She froze, but that somebody stepped out from behind the wall. She was a girl of about Emily’s age.

“Who are you?” she asked Emily and looked at her. Emily couldn’t answer; she couldn’t even find the right words. And then the girl asked again.

“Emily,” she said so softly that she thought the girl wouldn’t hear. But she nodded, and that was all. They stared at each other for a few seconds.

“Where am I?” asked Emily. To her great surprise the girl started talking.

Her name was Chloe. She had lived in this city since her birth, but of course she didn’t know that this was a snow globe, and Emily didn’t want to tell her because Chloe wouldn’t believe her and maybe because Emily didn’t want to believe it either. That morning, Chloe had got up and seen nobody in the town, just Emily; that’s how they had met. Emily also told the girl her story, and when she came to the end, she saw that Chloe was staring at the sky and thinking. “Does she also see the glass cap up above?” thought Emily. But when Chloe looked at her again, Emily knew that she didn’t see it. Chloe had a plan.

They started walking in the city; and according to Chloe’s thought, there had to be something strange that didn’t fit in the city. And maybe this strange thing would be the key for Emily to go back home. After a half an hour they surely found something strange. When Emily saw it, she stopped in the middle of the street. It was a house, and not just any house. It was Emily’s home. When she asked Chloe about it, she said she had never seen this house before. They looked at each other. So this house was the key. They went inside. Emily looked around and realized that it was really her family’s house; all the furniture, even the color of the walls, was the same.

“You slept in your room before you got here, am I right?” asked Chloe beside her after a few minutes. Emily nodded silently; she was still shocked.

“And what if that is the way you can go back to your city?” continued Chloe. Emily turned around and looked at her. “Maybe it can work,” she thought.

“We can only know it if we try,” said Emily, and went toward her bedroom. Chloe followed her. They opened the door of Emily’s room and went in. Emily gazed around, and the snow globe caught her eyes. She went to the shelf and picked it up. Emily almost dropped it when she saw the city inside the snow globe. It wasn’t the same city that she saw before, the city that they were in. It was Emily’s city inside. “What does it mean?” she thought and went on looking at it.

“Emily,” Chloe disturbed her thoughts.”What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Nothing.” answered Emily quickly, putting the snow globe back on the shelf. “Let’s try your idea.” They said goodbye to each other and started laughing when they realized how unusual and unbelievable this all was. Emily went to her bed and lay down. She was tired and relieved to come back home, so it wasn’t hard for her to fall asleep.

She woke up, sat up in her bed and looked out the window but fell back after she saw the familiar roads and houses of her city. She looked at the snow globe. If it was a dream, why were the happenings so realistic? She stood up, went to the shelf, and grabbed the snow globe. Chloe’s city was inside it.

“What if it wasn’t a dream? What if Chloe is real and she is in one of these houses?” she thought aloud.

But she couldn’t think about it, because then she saw the clock on the wall. She put the snow globe back quickly, as she was late for school. Emily got dressed in a minute and grabbed her bag. She put on her shoes and ran to the bus station. The bus was just leaving when she got there, so she had to wait for the next one. Emily kept thinking about what had happened to her. Was it a dream or not? She didn’t know. She couldn’t rid her head of the picture of the snow globe with her city inside it. What if she were in that snow globe, what if she had always been in it?  She looked up at the sky, and she could have sworn that it was sparkling.

Inside the Miniature

Gergely Sülye

I was walking to the bus stop at the end of a school day. The Sun was high, but its rays were already getting orange and ripe, reflecting off of buildings or shining onto the grass on the field next to me, undisturbed. There was a building a bit ahead of me that caught my attention. It stood out because its featureless wall stared right at me, just at the right angle where I couldn’t see but that particular side. I had recently gotten into miniature building. It wasn’t anything big, not even a hobby, but as it comes to any other beginner I was good at distinguishing a good and a bad quality model. This house in front of me was awful. Something even a child would outperform if they had the chance. If you were to put this on your miniature landscape, then you certainly don’t have good taste. No, I don’t think you’d even have taste at all.

Thinking about landscapes, I looked around to see how severely this one building would ruin the surroundings. The field was beautiful, the huge water tower looking down on it filled me with a sense of security. What a shame, I thought. It was masterfully crafted. I could almost imagine myself admiring this scenery at some kind of exhibition. As I continued walking, I played around with the idea of comparing real-sized things to their miniature counterparts. Suddenly I was overcome with an odd sense of uneasiness. I looked at the featureless building again, now showing more of its walls at my current angle. It was in the distance now, being smaller than before. It looked just like a miniature. I looked back on the field. It was also far enough that I could barely see any specific details; the grass looked like a smooth green carpet. At this distance it really could have been made out of fabric for all I knew. Then I noticed the sky. There were no clouds, just a gradient which shifted from bright blue at the edges of the horizon, going gradually darker as it reached the darkish blue top of the sky. It was comparable to being in a big room, on a small miniature set. The further corners of the room appearing dark as they were so far, at least in the miniature’s proportions. I almost expected a big face to walk in from the big blueness and look down on me. But of course there was only space out there. The scale of proportions between the standard sizes and miniatures is nothing compared to the difference of scale of humans and the cosmos. Yet humans can shape both the miniature and large-scale worlds, with enough effort, that is. It’s only obvious, since only a lot of small details can make up something bigger. In terms of scales, there is always a smaller measurement, a building block. Even the featureless wall was made up of delicately placed bricks, measured amounts of cement, particles of paint and random specks of dust sticking to it. Of course this is not visible from far away, nor is it significant at our scale of the world.

Now thinking about abstract and faraway concepts, I made my way to the bus stop. The odd feeling I had was still so strange and new that I just had to go to the bottom of it. Having retreated into this rare state of meditation, I kept waiting at the stop, although no longer for my drive home, but for my answers. My bus paid no attention to me, just as I paid no mind to the bus. It slipped away in front of my nose and made its way further down the road, gradually becoming featureless as it eventually turned into a dot on the contrasting horizon of the blue sky and green carpet.