On the Seriousness of Tourists #3

“We could go to the Museum of Contemporary Art,” he said.

“I’m fine,” his wife said.

She doesn’t hold up well in the heat, he thought.  And now it’s going to rain.  “We’re probably in people’s vacation pictures,” he said.  “We could go to lunch.”

On the Seriousness of Tourists.

“I said I’m fine.”

We could go back to the hotel and fuck, he thought.

I’m watching, she answered, although she didn’t utter a word.  I’m watching all the beauty: the castle, the tiled roofs, the people.  The stone column cooled her back.  She watched the younger women with their shiny skin flouncing into selfies.  They didn’t even seem to notice the castle.  How could they afford this trip?  Hostels, she supposed.  Where they probably met boys and had sex.

Her husband, he wouldn’t want to waste their day in Budapest having sex.  She sighed. “Lunch is fine.”

On the Seriousness of Tourists #1

Where was he?  He said he was just going to the bathroom.  How long did it take to pee?  People were staring and thinking she overpacked.  She feigned looking in her purse; she glanced up occasionally at the board to see if the train’s track had come up.


He wasn’t anywhere in sight.

For a moment, she wondered if he abandoned her here in the train station alone. He had their passports in his man purse.  He was angry that she called it a man purse.  He was angry she wanted to buy their children presents.  “They’re adults and anything here, you can buy at home.  There’s the plus side of globalization,” he said.

She ignored him and bought each of them a handmade ceramic tea cup.  The man behind the counter wrapped them carefully in newspaper.

“Now, the newspaper, now that’s probably something you don’t see at home,” he said.

“Then you keep the paper,” she said.  “Frame it for all I care.”  She made him carry the bag, too precious to pack in their suitcases.

She waited.


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