Trafika Europe 2 - Polish Nocturne
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12

table, she was just passing by. The tray wobbled in her

hands and all the plates crashed to the floor. They were

going to fire her on the spot. Luckily the guy did the right

thing and paid for all the plates and all the food. After that

the men were more careful, they only tugged at her braid

once she’d put the plates on the table, otherwise every last

plate would have gotten broken, and not through any fault

of hers. Unless you could blame the braid. If you ask me,

girls or women who work in cafeterias, especially on

building sites like that, they shouldn’t be too good-looking.

Nice, polite, of course, but not too good looking.

Sometimes she’d wear her braid up on her head in a bun.

Maybe it was for self-protection, because how else can you

protect yourself when you’ve got the kind of braid that just

begs to be grabbed and held for at least a moment. Or

perhaps she wanted to look nicer, who can tell. Though in

my book she had no need to look nicer. Without the braid,

though, she looked quite different, she became kind of

unapproachable, haughty. When she put the bowl or the

plate in front of you, she seemed to be doing you a favor. I

didn’t like the bun. I thought to myself, when she’s my wife

I’ll tell her I prefer the braid. With the braid, when it swung

back and forth behind her back she looked, I don’t know

how to put it, like she’d only just risen into the world.

You’re smiling . . . my imagination’s a bit old-fashioned,

right? But that was how I felt back then. Though if you

think about it, don’t you reckon we continue to imagine