Redefining Success on My Umpteenth Birthday:
Many years and many losses later, I now consider myself a complete success simply because my tears are genuine and I can still return a smile spontaneously. Beauty in any form still enthralls me. I still wonder at the blue of the sky, marvel at the flight of the falcon, and melt at the open-faced charm of peonies. I still can't resist touching chimes in passing or stroking the velvet of petals. My heart leaps in joy at the sight of my loved ones. My imagination still ventures undaunted into foreign lands and soars into delicious flights of fancy. I take pure pleasure in good food, good wine, and good company. The road less traveled is still the one I want to roam. My honky-tonk heart still misses a beat every now and then and delights in preferring the impossible. Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata still casts a spell over me. I still refuse to believe there is such a thing as a lost cause and continue to reach for the stars—the more distant the better! Having remained true to myself through all adversity, I have stood the test of time. And I still celebrate life.
On the afternoon of my last visit to Budapest, I walked gloomily along a shady allée on Margaret Island. At that time I still hadn't called Z but missed him so; knowing his nearness, I tormented myself: should I, shouldn't I?
An elderly woman called over to me from one of the park benches: "Stop tormenting yourself my dear and call that young man!"
She had deep-set eyes that glistened like polished black diamonds.
I stared. She nodded, offering a small smile: "That is right. This is a kozmik epizód." Cosmic episode. Universal language.
Budapest—hallowed ground, a passageway between metamorphoses. We continue to interpret each other, this ancient city and me; we evolve together, ambling along on the same planetary path.
And the old sorceress and I sat on the bench and talked for hours stretching into twilight, more like mother and daughter than strangers. She told me she considered herself fortunate enough to have been married to not one but two soul mates. At parting she coaxed me again, gripping my arm, "Don’t forget to call him!"
I didn't forget.