The X Page: A Storytelling Workshop

KeyFinal copy

The Key Story

by Margit


This is the Key.

I am standing in the front room of our cosy condominium in Budapest.

It is a hot July day. The sharp sunshine is floating into the room from the window in front of me. 

I can see the trees of the Gellért Mountain dancing.

I slowly look around. To my left, I see a wall of books on shelves. In the shadowed corner, I see the piano. 

Everything in this room has its own story. 

How we put together our home, step by step, my husband and I.

I hear my daughter’s happy voice, outside: “We are going on holiday!” 

She does not know that we are not coming back.

I should go now, but my legs are frozen.

I make myself remember when they took my husband to the political camp. When he came home after three years of torture, at first he was not able to walk. 

This memory gives me the energy I need. 

I hurry outside.

I see my daughter and my husband waiting for me. 

My daughter has a little backpack, a teddy bear in it, with its head sticking carefully out so it can breathe. 

Beside my husband are two suitcases. We have packed just enough summer clothes for ten days. 

My husband has the passports, and only as much money as the government will let us take with us for a short vacation.

I stand at the front door, and watch them: my husband, and my daughter.

“Let’s go, Mama!” my daughter says with excitement.

She has no future here. I hear my husband say this in a sad, smiling voice.

Oh yes. I turn back. Finally, I force myself to lock the door. 

That was almost forty years ago.

I have this key even now.  

It means memory of my life at home and has a very deep, great meaning of freedom.