Trafika Europe 2 - Polish Nocturne
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tables were free. And often it wasn’t just one or two of us,

there’d be a dozen or more guys hovering over the ones

who were eating. We’d even tell them to get a move on, eat

faster, as a result of which some of them would deliberately

draw out their meal. It was infuriating, here your stomach

was rumbling, here there was work to do, and right in front

of you there were empty tables, almost taunting you. On

top of that, often they only showed up when the last men

were eating, any number of us could have eaten at their

tables in the meantime. It sometimes happened that

someone couldn’t wait and went back to work without

getting their lunch. At most they’d grab some herring or an

egg from the snack bar, or a bit of sausage, though they

didn’t often have sausage, and they’d go back to work still

half hungry.

And just imagine, she fell in love with one of the guys from

those tables. In front of everyone, on the very first day. He

came in, sat down, and she served him his soup. He looked

at her, and she didn’t blush, she just looked back at him.

For a moment they looked at each other like that, and the

whole cafeteria stopped eating for a second. Even if

someone was lifting a spoonful of soup to their mouth, or a

fork with potatoes or meat, they froze and watched. All the

time they’d been grabbing her braid and saying, You look

nice today Miss Basia, or Basieńka, and here some complete

stranger had shown up and she wasn’t even blushing.

He was holding his spoon also, but he hadn’t yet put it in