The Ghost of Christmas Presents

Whenever I get away from the book, it reminds me to come home. I am currently sitting in the Orient Café, a tourist spot on the eaves of the central train station in Budapest. I love train stations, especially the gorgeous old ones littered around Europe. With the checkered tiles, welded green metal, and fogged glass, it feels like the trains are still steam engines. The only steam spitting out of machinery is from the espresso machines at the coffee shops, but the sound is the same I imagine.

I am here with my love. Lucy spent today kissing me at all the stoplights, which is a proper way to give city tour. We are headed home after a Christmas vacation to visit her family. The trip was nice, and comfortable, but somehow socializing with one’s family can still feel exhausting. We were in a small city outside of Budapest, at her aunt’s house. Her extended family speaks only Hungarian, so it was an easy opportunity for me to make a good impression: I was literally unable to talk to them. When I completely lost track of the conversation I just thought: Smile and nod, darling. Just smile and nod.

Lucy’s cousin said she had found the perfect woman. It pays to be quiet, I guess.

I knew Lucy’s parents already, and we get along well. So, I wasn’t too stressed about the whole thing. Lucy’s mom is always really sweet with me, and very affectionate. She gave me a bunch of kisses and then she asked me (in German) if it was okay for me. I answered her (in English) that it was totally fine by me: my mother was also super affectionate with me and my friends. Honestly, it was all I could do to keep my mother from pinching my friend’s bottoms when they were around. Perhaps this part got lost in translation because now Lucy’s mom pats me on the butt every time I greet her. But, it’s sweet, and it reminds me of my mother, and it makes me laugh.

I spent a lot of time thinking of my family this past week. All the ghosts got invited to Christmas. It was very Dickens of me.

It makes sense, it’s normal during the holidays. Plus, my Opapa was from Hungary, and my grandparents are buried here, in a city we only passed by on the train. Just long enough for the guilt of not visiting their grave to hop aboard the train car. On the way here, I sat by the window facing away from the direction the train was moving in, staring at the Ghosts of Christmas Past.

The ghosts crave marzipan. I bought a package and absolutely inhaled it.

Two nights ago, I had a dream I got a literary agent. I had to go to London in June for an appointment with her. I certainly hope that was a meeting with the ghost of Christmas future.

I think it was.

Give me validation.

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