A Sepia Coloured Photograph


I remember my grandparents' house like a sepia coloured photograph. The time of the summers we spent there stayed with me like memories of a child and later a teenager, even though I visited the house many times later, when times changed. I still observe those memories through the warm yellow summer air when everybody prayed for rain that wouldn't come and when the warm wind carried dust among tall acacias. Then the house was full of people. I remember it's cool rooms with rows and rows of books: Plato, Hegel, Spinoza, math textbooks, Dostoevsky. Years ago my mum brought Dostoevsky home for me, but others are still pretty much there. There were two book cases full of bottles of juice and jars of marmalade my grandma made.

The house stands on the main street, facing away from it. I remember one afternoon when my mother put me to bed and I didn't sleep because I would jump out of bed and run to the window every time I heard a horse drawn cart out in the street. Every now and then you could hear people passing, speaking different languages. As a child, I liked listening to them speaking Hungarian, totally incomprehensible to me. There's a manor house on the other side of the street and a little away. It's an elegant big house, home of counts Karácsonyi till after the big war. My grandparents' house was part of the estate and the legend says it was built for the count's mistress. I don't know if there's a grain of truth in this story, but I like it anyway. I used to imagine her wearing a white summer dress walking slowly through the rooms reading poetry, while Andor, the count, lazily reclined on a sofa listening to her voice. In my fantasy she had blond hair and her name was Margit. There's a garden in front of the house, remains of an old park. I didn't like sleeping in the rooms facing the garden. When the lights went out, all you were left with were silence and darkness. And the sounds of the house. As a city child I never got used to it.

Things started to change when my aunt married and moved out, and later my uncle. He didn't move far, just to the city nearby, and he still came every day, but it wasn't the same. And then grandad died, leaving grandma alone in a house too big for one person. Nevertheless she refused to move out. It was her home. The house changed mercilessly. Perhaps people are right when they say a house can feel when people leave. Last month my grandma left as well. The house is not as it was anymore. There's a faint musty smell and cold air filling the rooms. I still have my sepia coloured photograph and this is how I want to remember.



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Hiše mojih starih staršev se spominjam kot fotografije v sepiji. Poletja, ki smo jih tem preživljali so ostala v meni kot otroški in najstniški spomini, čeprav sem hišo obiskala tudi kasneje, ko so se časi precej spremenili. Še vedno se je spominjam skozi topel rumen poletni zrak, ko so vsi molili za dež, ki ni hotel priti in ko je topel veter nosil prah med visokimi akacijami. Takrat je bila hiša polna ljudi. Spominjam se velikih hladnih sob in neskončnih knjižnih polic: Platon, Hegel, Spinoza, matematični učbeniki, Dostojevski. Pred leti mi je mama prinesla Dostojevskega, druge knjige pa so bolj ali manj ostale tam. Dve knjižni omari sta bili polni steklenic soka in kozarcev marmelade, ki jih je vsako leto pripravljala babica.

Hiša stoji na glavni ulici, obrnjena stran. Spominjam se popoldneva, ko me je mama dala spat pa nisem zaspala, saj sem skočila iz postelje in stekla k oknu vsakokrat, ko sem z ulice slišala konjsko vprego. Tu in tam si lahko slišal ljudi, ki so hodili mimo hiše in se pogovarjali v različnih jezikih. Kot otrok sem rada poslušala meni popolnoma nerazumljivo madžarščino. Na drugi strani ulice in malo stran je dvorec, velika in elegantna hiša, ki je bila do konca prve svetovne vojne dom lokalnih posestnikov grofov Karácsonyi. Hiša mojih starih staršev je bila takrat del posestva. Obstaja zgodba, ki pravi, da je bila zgrajena za grofovo ljubico. Ne vem sicer koliko resnice je v tej zgodbi, a mi je kljub temu všeč. Predstavljala sem si jo v beli obleki, kako se sprehaja skozi sobe in bere poezijo, medtem ko Andor, grof, lenobno poležava na kavču in posluša njen glas. V mojih predstavah ima svetle lase, ime pa ji je Margit. Pred hišo je vrt, kar je ostalo od starega parka. Nisem rada spala v sobi, ki je obrnjena na vrt. Ko so ugasnile luči si ostal sam v tišini in temi z zvoki hiše. Kot mestni otrok se na to nikoli nisem mogla navaditi.

Stvari so se spremenile, ko se je teta odselila in potem še stric. Ni šel daleč, samo v sosednji kraj, vendar ni bilo več isto. Potem je umrl ded in pustil babico samo v hiši, preveliki za eno osebo. Kljub vsemu je ni hotela zapustiti, saj je bila njen dom. Z leti se je hiša brez milosti spremenila. Morda imajo prav ljudje, ki pravijo, da hiša čuti, ko ljudje odidejo. Prejšnji mesec je odšla tudi babica in hiša več ni to, kar je bila. V sobe se je naselil mrzel zrak z rahlim vonjem po vlagi. Še vedno imam fotografijo v sepiji in tako se hočem spominjati.



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