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Hungarian Impressions

By Anaïs JEANNERET Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge

– Arnaud Milan! Hello. George Valenet. I thought you had changed your mind and decided not to come.

– I nearly missed the flight.

– Glad that you’re here. I thought I saw you tumble into the plane but I wasn’t sure, I was sitting all the way in the back.

The woman smiles at me. This woman first-named George. I must look like an idiot because an ironic spark flashes in her eyes. Evidently she is used to surprising those she meets for the first time. I had had her on the phone in August. Her voice composed and rather deep, then a few mails that I had received signed with this first name whose resonance is devoid of ambiguity had sufficed so that, in my imagination, George Valenet was a delicate man. My escort is the exact opposite. Long silhouette full of self-confidence, George is an elegant blond, – this is how to refer to pretty women when one does not desire them. Or when one has ceased desiring them. The adjective rang like an insult to my ex-wife. “You can keep for yourself your old husband’s compliments. Before, you found me sexy ! Now you find me elegant.” The divorce had closed the debate. But Elegant had become the novel to which I owe my new stature of a recognized writer, a stature all the more inhibiting as I didn’t think I had written, there, my best text.

 

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