Trafika Europe 2 - Polish Nocturne

the newcomers shiny new furniture, big wide beds, plus sofas, armchairs, wardrobes, tables, stools, bookshelves, bedside tables, night lights, lace curtains in the windows, drapes. There weren’t many private homes that were as nice as those rooms. Also, in each room there was a radio, a rug on the floor, a mirror on the wall. When we lived in that barracks, we had iron bunk beds and one wardrobe between six of us. The most you could do was hang your suit in there if you had one. You kept the rest of your things in a suitcase under your bed, or in old cookie boxes or cigarette cartons. No one would have dreamed of putting drapes on our windows, let alone lace curtains. It was difficult enough to get your turn at the soap or the towel. We bought a piece of calico and hung it over the window on nails at night. Or a mirror. The only mirrors were in the shared bathroom, nearly all of them cracked. Most of the time you had to use a cracked mirror to shave, brush your hair, or for example to squeeze your zits, or tie your necktie on a Sunday. And if you just wanted to take a look at yourself, you looked like you were made of broken pieces like the mirror. In the cafeteria they gave the new guys a separate area by the windows – that was where they had their tables. However late they came, those tables were always free and waiting for them. No one else dared sit there. There were times when all the other tables were occupied, and however much you were in a hurry because you were in the middle of an urgent job, you still had to wait till someone finished eating, even though those other


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