“I’ll be here to pick you up for dance class. You have English in the afternoon and rhythmic gymnastics in the evening, don’t forget,” said the woman with the teased, reddish-blond hair as she parted from the little girl; she was attractively dressed, though slightly provocative. “Then, afterwards, we’ll celebrate your Dad’s birthday. There’s a snack in your book bag,” she called.
The girl nodded, waved to her from the gate, and entered the three-story elementary school in the Óbuda district of Budapest. She had math first period. She hated mathematics; this semester they were learning sets and numeral systems, and she wouldn’t have understood a word of it if weren’t for Rose, her private teacher, who helped her with math assignments twice a week. She started yawning halfway through the period.
“Don’t fall asleep or she’ll pick on you again,” whispered Enikő, her deskmate, nudging her.
Enikő always dressed like a tomboy and had made it clear several times that she would have rather been born a boy.
Teri heeded the warning. She decided to prop her eyelids open with her fingers. Maybe that way she wouldn’t fall asleep.
Last night’s training had lasted longer than usual, and though she had changed back into her street clothes quickly, her mother had spent a long time discussing something with her coach. In the meantime, Teri sat on the bench waiting for them. She hadn’t gotten enough sleep because they’d stayed so long.
Next period was true horror: Russian class. Teri mostly hated this class because of the teacher. Otherwise, she had a good ear for languages and didn’t need extracurricular help with her homework.
“Zrastvuytye,” said the teacher, as she stepped into classroom 5B, and the kids chimed their greeting in unison:
“Ztrastvuytye, tovarish uchityelnitsa!”
Teri forgot to join in the greeting, and the teacher noticed immediately, turning to her jeeringly:
“Guten morgen, Fräulein Schmidt. I suppose German comes easier to you than Russian.”
Teri blushed. She was sick of Mrs. Piros constantly encouraging certain boys to taunt her by calling German shepherd, Heike, and Fräulein Schmidt. When she told her mother about what went on in school, she just waved it away dismissively and said:
“Just ignore them, honey. You can already speak German and soon you’ll be fluent in Russian and English too. Just think how jealous they’ll be when they see you on TV and in the papers!”
Teri had recently found an article in her mother’s favorite weekly magazine about the lives of female factory workers in Csepel. She’d read it and didn’t understand why her mother wanted someone to write such things about her. She didn’t want to be in the papers or on TV. All she wanted was for Mrs. Piros to leave her alone, along with the idiot boys led by Zoli Kiss, whose front tooth still hadn’t grown in, even though he’d lost all of his baby teeth last year.
“You should eat more. Your growth spurt has made you incredibly thin,” said her gym teacher, patting Teri’s head during recess. “And you’re pale. Are you getting enough rest?”
Teri didn’t answer. She looked at herself in the locker room mirror before gym class. Her mother had braided her flaxen-colored hair into a ponytail, and she saw dark circles under her blue eyes. She wasn’t hungry, but she thought that maybe her gym teacher was right. She took out her snack. It consisted of two crackers, a slice of ham, and thinly cut peppers. She ate a few bites, and then started changing. She liked gym class because she felt successful. She was always asked to demonstrate exercises which seemed too complex for the others.
That afternoon, before training, when her mother drove off in their yellow Wartburg car and Teri had finished waving her goodbye, the coach called the girl into her office.
“One day you will grow up to be a very beautiful girl. The boys will go nuts over you,” she began.
Teri looked at her, puzzled. Why was Mrs. Varga telling her this? The same Mrs. Varga whom the others called “Killer” behind her back.
“I’m sure you know that boys are especially keen on tall girls. You’ve got a pretty face: pouty lips, big, blue eyes, long lashes… And you’ll be tall. You’ve grown a lot over the past year. Did you notice how much taller you are than the others?” she said, gesturing towards the locker room.
Teri nodded. This was the second time in one day that someone had pointed out her height. She didn’t understand why. Her coach fell silent, arranged some training supplies on the shelf, and then continued:
“Well. You can excel in several branches of sports and in many things. You are among the best of your age group in rhythmic gymnastics. You won the Budapest Cup last year. But it won’t always be this way. You’re too tall, and this will hinder you from staying among the best,” the coach finally blurted out, without meeting the girl’s gaze. “I told the same thing to your mother, who asked me to give you time to prove yourself again. And I would gladly give you all the time in the world, but I don’t see the point in deluding you. You know too that you’re still growing, and in a few years you won’t be able to join the top ranks in rhythmic gymnastics anymore. The reason I’m telling you this is because I know you and your parents have your hearts set on you joining the national team, and I don’t want you to be disappointed. Right now, you’re free to choose another activity, like athletics, maybe high-jumping. Or ball sports. Anything. You’re only ten; you can still be part of the best. But not in rhythmic gymnastics. Or artistic gymnastics either. I find it pointless to torment you at training, or to see you suffering by constantly dieting and calorie-counting. Choose something else instead. Or take a little break,” she said, looking into the girl’s eyes now. “In a few years, you’ll be happy things turned out this way, happy to be a grown up, willowy girl not hurting so much from sports injuries.”
Teri dashed into the locker room. She didn’t know what to do; she struggled to hold back her tears. But a powerful feeling of responsibility triumphed. She changed into her leotard along with the others. That day, she performed better than ever during training.
The birthday celebration that evening didn’t go too well. Teri was tired and in a bad mood. After she helped her father blow out the candles on the cake, she burst into tears. Her father lifted her onto his lap.
“Let’s eat the cake together!” he said in German.
Teri turned her head away when her father jabbed the fork into a piece of cake and offered her the morsel.
“I told you not to force sweets on her. She has to maintain her weight.”
“But I’ll never be a champion!” the little girl exclaimed. “Coach said so. I grew too much.”
Her mother’s eyes flashed angrily.
“Just ignore what your coach says. You’re the best, and that’s how it always will be!”
“We can talk later, sweetheart, and you can tell me all about what’s making you sad,” her father said, hugging her. “But now you have to go to bed. You’ve got school tomorrow.”
Bangkok: a sizzling, all-embracing, exotic city where the past and the present intertwine. It’s a place where anything can happen… and anything really does happen. The paths of seven people cross in this metropolis. Seven seekers, for whom this city might be a final destination. Or perhaps it is only the start of a new journey? A successful businessman; a celebrated supermodel; a man who is forever the outsider; a young mother who suddenly loses everything; a talented surgeon, who could not give the woman he loved all that she desired; a brothel’s madam; and a charming young woman adopted at birth. Why these seven? Why did they come to Bangkok now, at the same time? Do chance encounters truly exist?
Bangkok Transit is a Central European best-seller. The author, Eva Fejos, a Hungarian writer and journalist, is a regular contributor to women’s magazines and is often herself a featured personality. Bangkok Transit was her first best-seller, which sold more than 100,000 copies and is still selling. Following the initial publication of this novel in 2008, she went on to write twelve other best-sellers, thus becoming a publishing phenomena in Hungary According to accounts given by her readers, the author’s books are “therapeutic journeys,” full of flesh and blood characters who never give up on their dreams. Many readers have been inspired to change the course of their own lives after reading her books. “Take your life into your own hands,” is one of the important messages the author wishes to convey.
Try it for yourself, and let Eva Fejos whisk you off on one of her whirlwind journeys... that might lead deep into your own heart.
About Eva Fejos, the author of Bangkok Transit
- Eva Fejos is a Hungarian writer and journalist.
- has had 13 best-selling novels published in Hungary so far.
- Bangkok Transit is her first best-seller, published in 2008.
- has won several awards as a journalist, and thanks to one of her articles, the legislation pertaining to human egg donation was modified, allowing couples in need to acquire donor eggs more easily.
- spends her winters in Bangkok.
- likes novels that have several storylines running parallel.
- visited all the places she’s written about.
- spent a few days at an elephant orphanage in Thailand; and has investigated the process of how Thai children are put up for adoption while visiting several orphanages.
- founded her own publishing company in Hungary last year, where she not only publishes her own books, but foreign books too, hand-picked by her.
- Her books published in Hungary thus far are:
Till Death Do Us Part (Holtodiglan) | Bangkok Transit | Hotel Bali | Chicks (Csajok) | Strawberries for Breakfast (Eper reggelire) | The Mexican (A mexikói) | Cuba Libre | Dalma | Hello, London | Christmas in New York (Karácsony New Yorkban) | Caribbean Summer (Karibi nyár) | Bangkok, I Love You (Szeretlek, Bangkok) | Starting Now – the new edition of Till Death Do Us Part (Most kezdődik) | Vacation in Naples – the English version will be published in summer, 2014 (Nápolyi vakáció)
To be published in spring of 2014: I Waited One Hundred Nights (Száz éjjel vártam)
Bangkok Transit (English version): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HDIT4UY
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Genre - Women's Fiction, Contemporary
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
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