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from the August 2010 issue

Lou’s Last Letter to Feri’s Wife

See here Christine,

don’t you give me that crap alright? Don’t go telling me what you told me Christine, ‘cause I’m not buying it, the thing about Feri going to T-Mobile and having them tap the voice mail on your cell phone. Don’t give me that. Feri’s not like that, alright? Feri’s got a head, but he ain’t got no fuckin’ brains to go with it. He’d have never thought of it and I’m not buying it. That, what was it, that he’s got a buddy there, a microtechnician. What’s a microtechnician anyway? A midget-size technical man at T-Mobile. A fucking midget, a fucking midget taking a risk giving out information, risking his lucrative two- hundred-thou job like that? I’m not that gullible, Christine. You went to Feri and said, there’s this Lou and you feel you gotta let him know that you love this Lou, then you’re agog with amazement when Feri says it’s either me or the kids. Right? Feri’s no fool neither, except he hasn’t got no brains, but he’s no fool. I told you not to go do it, not to go and not sleep with him, ever, and you telling him all the time that you can’t, not now, and also, that you’re tired and got a headache. Right? Even Feri’s not that moronic. He’s not gonna believe that crap about you bleeding all the time. You thought if you use up a package of Always maxipads every two days, Feri’s gonna think there’s something wrong with you. That you’re bleeding, and that’s why. And not ask, isn’t it high time you saw a doctor, just wait for you to smell the daisies from below because of cervical cancer, in the apartment in front of the kids? ‘Cause death’s more humane at home? Is that what you thought? That Feri would think that?

The way I see it, Feri was on to you, and you spilled the beans, hoping he’d forgive you. That Feri would say, that’s alright, Christine, I understand, Christine. Is that what you thought Feri would say? So don’t you go blame me now. Like on the weekend why must I call you every hour. Like why must I leave a message on your cell phone all the time. Well, it’s because I missed you, that’s why! Understand? Besides, how the fuck did your cell phone end up with Feri in the first place? Shit, a cell phone, it’s like underwear, it’s private. Or did the two of you wear it by turns? You came to screw me in Feri’s underwear? And why did I have to go leave a message to the effect that Feri is an asshole? Because for one thing Feri is an asshole, and for another, who’d have thought that Feri reads text messages from your cell phone by way of amusement. Didn’t you say he’s a big fan of Attila Hazai’s disheveled anti-text, Budapest Schizo? In which case, why would he be interested in my text messages? Well?

And him spotting my car in front of your house, I’m not buying that! You got any idea how many dark-blue Audis there are in this town? Don’t try selling me on Feri’s noticing such things, when he had an alarm installed in his Dacia specially so he could find it by going after the sound! Don’t try to sell me that, Christine. Besides, he couldn’t have seen me from the kitchen window, unless you lean all the way out. But Feri’s not like that, Feri’s no athlete.

In short, you wanted out and now you won’t even say into the phone, sorry. Sorry, Louie dear, it was good while it lasted, I swear, but now I want Feri again. Or the kids. Now there’s nothing, you just go push the red fucking button when I call and cut me off. Which can get to a guy, if you know what I mean. They all think an aerobics instructor hasn’t got a heart. That he’s that sort of a guy, ‘cause physically he’s alright, and that’s enough, he doesn’t have to feel. That he’s just muscle. That’s what people think and they don’t realize how sensitive a guy like that can be. How sensitive great sportsmen are. And not just the swimmers and the épée fencers, but the weightlifters. Even the Bulgarian weightlifters. They got the feelingest hearts of anybody. There’s them two tons over their head, understand, and that’s when their feelings are most acute. Their feet practically under the ground, their bodies about to buckle under, they’re holding those tons with nothing but their willpower and their feelings. Well, I’m like that too, understand? And Feri, he can’t go say to me, Lou, who gives a fuck, understand? ‘Cause all you were after was my body. Why did you have to tell Feri you just wanted to see what it’s like with another guy? I got feelings too, you know! And that you took me for a ride all along. And when you loved me so much, it was just a charade and I wasn’t your sweetie, your cutie, your bunny ears that you’re never ever gonna leave and who saved you from that unhealthy environment that he, Feri, made for you, and you could sit in a proper car at last and not a jalopy that’s got the wind whistling through the floor boards. Ain’t I the one that saved you from thinking of yourself as an old woman that’s no good for nothing any more except washing the kids’ dirty clothes and cooking dinner and that gets her bottom smacked only because she’s blocking the way in the hall? Was this all a lie? That you think I’m interesting? That I’m such a great guy and everybody likes me and knows who I am? That you’re dying of boredom at home? That Feri’s a schizophrenic maniac counting his coupons at the lottery place and in his free time he reads Nietzsche at home ‘cause he thinks it’s got the winning numbers coded inside? And now you’re staying with Feri and I can go fuck off?

Doesn’t it mean anything to you that it’s you I want? Doesn’t it mean anything to you, me choosing you from the class when there was that Ibike, for instance, she didn’t have a husband and had the hots for me? And also Annette, that little brunette whose parents own a knit shop, understand, and they go vacation in the Bahamas, or one of the Bahamas, anyways. Doesn’t it mean anything to you, damn it, that I chose you, when I start a new class every other week? But all I wanted was you?

Love’s a piece of shit, ‘cause you turn everybody down. This was the last time I’m gonna be in love. All those women I let slip through my fingers when they all wanted me and me saying, sorry but I don’t want to do it with you, and you, you’re not my type, and you, you got a boyfriend. And I turned them all down ‘cause it’s you I wanted. And you go replace me with Feri just like that. What do you think I am? You think I’m like a bottle of 7-Up you can pass back and forth like this then return to the supermarket for a refund? You think I’m gonna stand by and do nothing?

I called Feri, understand? I called him up to the effect that to be or not to be, that is the question, and he shouldn’t bother his head about it, ‘cause as far as he’s concerned, it’s already been decided. Me and my buddies are gonna wait for him in front of the lottery place and roll his insides up on a spool. And also that I’m gonna squash his eyeballs, then he can go count the coupons on the basis of feel and look at the sun with his ears. Then he can go to you but his prick’s gonna stand up only from memory, ‘cause he’s not even gonna see you on the bed, understand?, he’s gonna mix you up with the gas heater, that’s what I said to Feri. And Feri fucking shit in his pants and said there’s the children, understand?, that’s what Feri said, and that he’s a college graduate and his life is so fucked up, he’s got nothing but you, and that he took a chance on you, that this is his whole life, meaning Feri’s, while I can find myself somebody else in one of my classes. That’s the sort of moron Feri is, understand? He didn’t dare say to me, fine, Louie, fine, if that’s what you want, I’ll be there and may the best man win. He just fucking cried into the phone that I shouldn’t hurt him. He was so repulsive I told him, go to hell. Understand? I told him I don’t give a shit. Besides, I couldn’t touch his clammy skin anyway, I couldn’t kick in his pathetic face anyway. Feri, he’s a yellow prick. But him having your cell phone tapped, I won’t buy that, and don’t tell me how it’s been like that for months, that there’s a secret customer service like that at T-Mobile, like a lover for a married couple, no, I’m not buying that.

Well, that’s it, I guess,


Translation of “Lajos utolsó levele Feri feleségéhez.” Copyright János Háy. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2010 by Judith Sollosy. All rights reserved.

Read more from the August 2010 issue
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