Finding Happy…Letting Go in Budapest

A young man in a black jacket hops on his white Vespa and speeds away. Two school boys rise from their perch after being too shy to chat with the cute girls next to them. They stroll across the square toward the yellow trams and a group of friends. A older gentleman enjoys the autumn air, the sounds of the city, and the smells of the cafes as the wind gently lifts his thinning grey hair. He is wearing a camouflage jacket with black pants. This man intrigues me.

His name is Domokos or Atilla or Istvan, or maybe Charlie. His legs crossed as he leans back, his hands clasped at his knee to balance himself on the cement perch that adorns this side of the square. He gazes at the sky, at the treetops, and at nothing at all. Domokos is enjoying the moment doing absolutely nothing. A couple becomes my view, but only for a moment. They are holding hands but seem a bit hurried. The man sees something to his left. He doesn’t break stride as his head tilts in that direction for a split second. His wife continues to look straight ahead not knowing that he is checking out the cutie in the short skirt waiting for her afternoon latte. They both continue toward their destination. I can see Domokos again. He is paying no attention to the boisterous woman smoking a cigarette and yapping to two guys about something that even they do not care about. He continues to enjoy the day, as do I. I am sipping on a no-frills cappuccino at a café in Lyon, or Florence or Vienna. The city doesn’t matter.

This whole scene (unedited video above) is an answer to a question that my wife asked weeks ago, “What do you want?” Perhaps everyone on earth has asked this question to someone, and sometimes it’s an easy answer: funnel cake, candied apple, a new watch. But sometimes, it is hard. This was one of those times, yet I had an answer that just rolled off my tongue. Today, that answer played out before my eyes by pure happenstance. We got lost in Budapest, but you are never really lost here. You can’t be. It’s too beautiful. You can only be on a different stretch of the Danube, or a different street corner with a different view of lovely. That was us. That was me. And my happy.

We thought we are at the right location for the Budapest Info Point Center. Who goes there? We do when they give us free stuff! 1052 So Utca Budapest V. Well here we are, but we aren’t. The building was no where to be found. Finally convinced that we needed more directions, we decided to stroll into Amber’s Café to use their wifi. It was here that I found my answer in more than words and a sentence. It was like a picture show. I ordered a cappuccino, and had a seat looking out the spotless glass window front. My wife had nothing and studied her smartphone for directions. Me? I met Domokos.

“I want a café that I can walk or bicycle to, every day if I want, have a cappuccino or a chaud chocolat, and just enjoy being.” That was my answer. And this was the scene at Amber’s Café.

Domokos continues to sit on his bench as I scan the landscape. The castle shaped building coupled with the near cloudless sky provides the perfect backdrop. The people move about at different paces. Some scurrying, some walking, and others, like Domokos, just being. The trees are experiencing autumn, their leaves changing from green to gold, and showing us all how great it is to just let go. That’s me. That’s my happy. Just let go and, be.


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