Wherefore Art Thou, Emajean?
László Tímár had grown up in Budapest, the only child of a minor official in the government and an intensely dedicated mother. He started school at age four with a local convent school. The nuns who taught the children were from many parts of Europe and it was quickly discovered that the boy had a gift for languages. He picked up the various languages of the sisters, so with the assistance of the priests, they searched for foreigners to bring in to speak their languages to the young prodigy. At the age of twelve his education moved from the sphere of the nuns’ influence completely to that of the priests. It was then that another of László ’s gifts began to shine. There was simply no mathematics or science class that he couldn’t breeze through. By the time he was eighteen he spoke ten languages and had mastered advanced calculus.
With the blessing and financial support of the Church, his parents decided to send László to get a higher education in the United States. Because the Church was helping, it was to be at a Jesuit institution and when it came to choosing a school, they relied on geography and family connection. László’s father had a brother, Teodor, who had emigrated to Chicago ten years earlier. This brother cheerfully welcomed the prospect of his nephew coming to live with him. There were several wealthy Hungarian immigrant families in his circle of acquaintances who had marriageable daughters. Teodor was the consummate bachelor so wasn’t interested in any of them for himself. But for his nephew, Teodor was optimistic that one of the girls would give László a good reason to stay in the United States.
But wealthy Hungarian Catholic families did not send their daughters to study nursing at Loyola. Further, László’s hours were such that he was constantly at the campus surrounded by young women from many backgrounds. With his gift for languages, he quickly found a new community among the other students and made arrangements to move into a dormitory. His easy nature and academic ease made him a favorite study partner for men and women alike.
It was in one of the study sessions that László met the young Irish-American nurse from Michigan. He was explaining a procedure from organic chemistry to one of his male colleagues one day when a young nurse walked into the study area with a cup of hot cocoa. The smell took László back to his early days in Budapest, when he shared hot cocoa and the stories of his day with his mother in the afternoon after school. The aroma made him smile and look up at the girl holding the source of the chocolate bouquet. His dark brown eyes met her lively green ones and it was as if an electric current ran from his body to hers and then back again. Her fair skin blushed dark red and her step faltered. The cocoa teetered in her hand.
László jumped up and steadied the mug by gently cupping his hand beneath it. “I’m a good doctor, but I don’t think I could heal a burn on such perfect skin,” he said.
The girl stared at him a moment longer and then dropped her eyes. “I’m sorry, I’ve disturbed your studying,” she said. “I’ll leave.”
“No, it is fine, we were just finishing, weren’t we?” he turned to his colleague. Aware that something magical had happened, the other man could only answer, “I’d say finished is the word for you, yes.” He gathered his things, nodded at the oblivious pair, and left the room.