Things I want to remember from this 1500 km crossing of Europe. Ta and Ra playing strip poker in the back seat. Ra down to his underwear, Ta, at age 8, not wanting to expose her chest saying “It’s different for me.” Then later looking back at her incredibly beautiful smile, une vraie espiègle, as she has Ra’s straw hat perched upon her head. They are incredibly beautiful. Ra, the big brother who loves her so deeply it aches to watch sometimes. And she just simply returns the expansive love back. Her incredible smile lighting up the entire room. They are a miracle in themselves and I am blessed. What else to remember? No jagged syline in the Alps. Nothing but rain and fog and tunnel exposure therapy, from 2,5 km to 5,6 km to 8,4 km to 10 km long tunnels. Tunnels so long you felt you lived underground, the mountain on top, not even sure you ever wanted or needed to get out. A whole world of tunnels, endless tunnels, dark and long, few lights, the music pacing the rythmic lights of exodus. As we cross through Austria and I contemplate road signs in German, F tells me of Nacht und Nebel – Night and Fog. The power of words and how their semantics can fill up or empty out, depending on us and our lives. Nacht und Nebel fill the night and fog with man’s evil.
The crossing was intense. Now in Zalakaros, Hungary, we’re surrounded by Hungarians. Incredible. They’re all Hungarians, talking Hungarian, laughing, dancing and singing in Hungarian. A very jolly people it seems, wide, wide smiles in round faces. We’re in Hungary surrounded by Hungarians and yet across from our window the pot-bellied tank-topped father reaches out to caress the hair away from his daughter’s face in a universal gesture of love and caring. His eyes warm with love, his hand surely soft with caring. I am brought to tears at the scene. Ta awakens with her soft smile, looking out at me with a love I could never have hoped to find anywhere else. Ta has a princess smile. Her smile lights up the whole kingdom. When she is sad or cries, the sun fades away behind the clouds and tears. The whole kingdom must get her to smile again if they want the sun back. Yes, Ta has a princess smile.