My apartment is on the second floor. There is no elevator, so I have to climb the stairs. The view from my living room is supposed to make up for this inconvenience. It faces the street and fountain on the opposite side, somewhat higher up, at the foot of the hill. However, this is all I can list off as an apartment amenity. The small kitchen and an even smaller bathroom render the place unfit for families to live in. And by family, I mean only one kid and a parent.
Whoever designed these apartments should really try to live in them. I am alone now. My kids have all moved out. Yet I still can’t find the room for my stuff. I remember when my children were little and they needed help in the shower. I always had to tell them to only go to the bathroom one by one. With two kids in that small room, it was just impossible to reach for the towel without bumping into somebody or something. When my ex-husband still lived with us, it was even worse. In retrospect, it was a mistake to move into such a small place with him. Or to move in with him at all. Our everyday struggles left their mark on our marriage. After a few years, I just couldn’t handle it anymore and told him to leave.
It wasn’t until he finally found a job abroad that he left us. He got one in Manchester, as a warehouse worker, but it was better than nothing. In fact, this idea seemed so much better that I even paid the fee the agency ripped us off on just for arranging the job and, allegedly, accommodations. When he got to the address in the middle of the night, of course nobody was waiting for him, and when they let him in after a few phone calls, the situation didn’t improve much either. For a couple nights he slept on a bed without a mattress, in a mildewy little hole, but then, with my initial financial support, he finally found his place – both literally, figuratively and job-wise. Although he did dump the warehouse after a week or so for a better position, and went on from there. Following a few escapades, he managed to continue his career in aviation.
Meanwhile, my struggles, instead of disappearing, only materialized in a different form. In one way, it became much easier; in another, a lot harder. There were no more fights between us, and fewer with the kids, and even financially, things improved. The whole situation unfolded at a time when I was still enthusiastic about teaching. Besides school, I gave private classes to children, sometimes even adults, in various subjects, which I actually enjoyed a lot. But it came at a price. My own kids started to grow wild, and by the time I took notice, it was too late. One morning, when I realized my little teeny-tiny boy not yet in his terrible twos had started to use the four-letter word, I fell into despair. I took it as a sign. I knew I had to act before they got out of control, or later, when they grew even wilder, would end up incarcerated for some stupid petty crime. I was most probably overreacting, and in retrospect, it was a little stupid of me to even think of such a possibility. When your kids are young, you just don’t know anything about parenting.
I dropped some of the private classes, picked the little bastards up earlier from pre-school and nursery, and tried to pay more attention to those little things that made them happy, however silly they were. I actually did my best to patiently explain what was right and what was wrong, and it started to show, but then my income dropped. Not much time elapsed before we found ourselves in a financial predicament. I started to have trouble keeping up with everyday expenses, food, bills, toys, extra classes. As the years went by, this constant struggle turned into a sort of part of my existence. When it became obvious that, without private lessons, I wouldn’t be able to afford their skating and soccer lessons, I gave more private lessons. I worked hard at home, and hard at my job. Balancing the two wasn’t easy, but I put on my iron helmet, and fought day in day out.
(…to be continued…)
Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent
January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)
February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)
March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)
May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)
June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)
July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)
August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)
September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)
October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
November: Nine Days – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
Background – Context
Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)
Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)
Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Credits (left side, middle – top to bottom, right side)
1. Budapest, Hungary – The doorway – Durjay Sarkar (Unsplash), 2. Szenna, Hungary – Free – Gelefin (Shutterstock), 3. Budapest, Hungary – Széll Kálmán square 2 – hbpro (Shutterstock), 4. Budapest, Hungary – Kids in primary school – A great shot of (Shutterstock), 5. Budapest, Hungary – Underground – Nelson Wong (Unsplash)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed