The tummy-tug rush of the sky scraper escalators whirls and twirls as I descend into the stomach of the Kalvin Ter metro in Budapest. I always breathe in and wait for the sensual recognition that free surfing the underground brings. I learned it first in Moscow and my mind returns to those turbulent days. For me, the metro is a scent, a feel, a quality of air married to subterranean travel that takes me back.
Lost in my reverie, I almost missed her when she tried to abort her approach.
When you have lived your years and your feet are unfaithful, those stairs threaten to snatch the earth from its firm foundation. I watched her step and hesitate too late. She was on but she was unsteady and then she was summersaulting. A little grandma taking a tumble like Humpty-Dumpty and my mind grasped for words that played a macabre game of Hungarian hide and seek. Screams of ‘help’ but they were silent screams that could only flirt with the trauma unfolding.
A woman behind me ROARED an emergency call in decibels that ricocheted off of the storied ceilings. The young man in front of me stretched his body across the chasm and punched the red emergency STOP button. And we all rushed off of our escalator and ran to help. In the midst of blood, and topsy-turvy bags and fine gray hair, she was okay. Shaken. Bleeding. But, okay. Continue reading