- What are you thinking about?
- The getting married feeling. There is nothing like it for a girl. It's sad that it is passing.
- How would you describe it?
- A dream coming true. Life beginning.
- Was I in the dream?
- You are happy with me then?
- Yes. But you know no one is ever completely happy.
- You have other dreams.
The dream fulfilled: the house to come home to, completed out of the proceeds of her previous marriage, the dog on the doorstep, the parents at the old house in the same yard. The American husband beside her, helping her study English syntax for the degree examinations she has to take for her much delayed college graduation. Look again, though.
The houses are mortgaged. The dog has grown old and unloving. Parents and brothers each hide within their own private lives, despite an unbreakable attachment they can't bear each others presence for long, and the husband, his life doesn't extend out of the dream at all.
If I let myself rely on anything in this dream I know I'll be in trouble. There is a calculation, a hope, a faith. I have decided I can afford it, that like a gentleman with gentleness mildly suggesting a gentle response, I can offer to be pleasing without relying on a return.
Now we almost didn't get married at all. The day before I had set out the condition: a real marriage. No visits to ex-husbands allowed. Otherwise it is off. She insists on her freedom to go where she wants and visit whom she wants. So it's off. She will be angry in a moment. She is angry, I jump up and get out of range, out of the room, the house, the village.
I know her. Her anger is the result of her putting on shows. She knows the image she presents is false, and is alert to signs she's been found out. She has a habit of looking out for doubts, considering the probabilities that she has been discovered. Anything someone says or does can have another meaning. When she's at home, what in fact is real, her home life, is subject to the same conditions of show-making, and at the slightest sign the home show is being questioned she's enraged.
Exactly the path her jealousy takes, where even the unsuspicious act is suspicious because that is how a deceiver makes his deceptive actions appear when he knows he is being watched. In the end, anything can be a source of jealousy, of anger.
So it's off. I leave for Budapest. But we both know everything remains open. Messages come and go. It is settled finally, an agreement I know I can't rely on, don't expect to rely on. We'll get married, but it is no more, no less, than a courtesy to fate.