Chapter 28 – Mészáros utca – and its Girls
Tales of a Teenage Spy - The Life and Times of Gábor Rimner
Everyone was very kind and sweet to me in the early days at my new abode. After all, I was the little brother of the owner. In turn, I was very polite to all, and we made friends, sort of.
I knew that with the family of four, there was nothing I could do. They had moved from a house which had since been demolished, so they had nowhere to go. In the flat, they were separated somewhat from my part in any case.
But the two girls and I were practically living in one flat. There was no door between our two rooms, just a curtain covering a hole in the wall. To leave the flat, they had to come through my room, and I had to go through theirs to get to the bathroom.
So it was, from the start, a little 'cosy'. I also quickly discovered they had a, well, let's say an interesting relationship. In the evening, I would go to the bathroom before going to bed, and they would be sleeping quietly in their separate beds. But in the morning, if I was up first, they would usually be together, in one bed. They obviously liked each other a bit 'more than average'.
Well, for me, a 19-year-old boy, it was a big story to live together with two lesbi girls. And of course, I decided that, ah-ha, they must be bi-sexual.
And they were. It took a month or so to prove that both liked boys too, and not just each other.
Except that led to a problem: I don't know who said what first, but one morning a mighty row broke out as they each discovered that I'd been to bed with both of them.
There they were, in the bathroom, the window open, screaming insults with the whole house listening. “You dirty fucking bitch!” “What about you, you slut!” And so it raged on for a good few minutes.
It might have all blown over, except Vera was engaged to the son of Aunt Katie, who lived in one of the other flats in the house. Poor Aunt Katie was thus privy to, as she later put it, the “moral disaster” going on in flat 2.
In truth, of course, it was. But I didn't care. I had two girls living in the same flat as me. They weren't ugly. They weren't stupid. They were average looking girls in their twenties. I was an average-looking man, nearly 20. I didn't really believe in the big love story and monogamous life. So why not screw them if they let themselves?
Whatever, Aunt Katie's family found some other place for Vera, and she moved out. That left Mária alone, with me.
Except, by then, I'd started taking 'maths lessons', sort of. I should explain.
I had returned from Khartoum with my Sudanese school-leaving certificates, but the Budapest authorities refused to accept these. They were “not compatible with Hungarian standards”. To get my school graduation certificate, I would have to resit all subjects, and that included maths.
Even if I resat the exams, I would fail maths - I could never fathom anything beyond two plus two. But mother was dismissive of my concerns. She had a friend who had a very clever daughter, a student at the college of catering, who would become my paid, private tutor to ensure exam success. (To this day, I've never quite understood how a catering student was the ideal mentor at maths, but never mind.)
Andrea arrived to give her first maths lesson on November 7, which, as any good Marxist-Leninist will tell you, is the anniversary of the Great October Revolution – when the Bolsheviks wrested power in Moscow in 1917. Naturally, in Hungary's communist era, it was a national holiday to boot.
Whether she came prepared to teach Pythagoras or algebra, I know not, but in terms of maths, it was the first and last lesson that we ever had. Not that I'm condemning Andrea as a bad teacher – because we never really got to try. It was more a case of love at first sight.
And within a week or two, Andrea would quite often stop over – much to Mária's discomfort.