Just a few steps from my university, an elderly lady steps out of the hairdresser’s saloon. The sun is playing on her beautiful grey hair on this gorgeous spring day. I can’t help but complementing how wonderful her hair looks! She is happy and tells me it was actually done yesterday and now she had her pedicure done as well.
We start walking together and Marika néni (aunt Marika) begins to tell me stories about her life. She was born in the countryside but brought to Budapest by couple and she’s been living in the same building on the corner of the square of the Hungarian Parliament building for many decades. She lost her husband in an accident in 1968 and has been alone since but loves being with people.
She says she has been working for 65 years. Stunned I inquire about her age. “I am 83,” she smiles and tells me about the different types of jobs she has done in her life, working at a youth camp, being a shop assistant, and right now helping out at the Basilica preparing bouquets for the altars. But what she loves most is being around young people.
We walk together about 50 meters, until we reach the Parliament, and she talks about many things, women’s fashion, her neighbors, her area where she loves to take a walk whenever she has a heartache. I tell her how much I enjoy taking a stroll in this area too, and it already feels as if we’d known each other for a long time. We agree and look forward to meeting again on one of our walks.