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window would just happen to look out onto the site. But

she never glanced up to see who’d come in. Not many

people visited the library. So the librarian loved it when

anyone appeared. But her, she didn’t look up. She even

seemed to sink deeper into her book, so as not to draw

attention to herself.

So I would not notice her. Or God forbid I should ever ask

what she was reading. That might have embarrassed her,

turned her against me, hurt her even. And what for? I knew

she was waiting for him. And who cares what she was

reading. It was better she was in the library than standing

or pacing to and fro in the rain. You know, I often felt more

sorry for her than I did for myself.

It goes without saying that people told all kinds of stories

about her. I don’t even want to repeat them. For instance,

there were rumors that she cleaned his room, did his

laundry, washed his shirts, darned his socks. That she spent

the night there. See how her eyes are all puffy, what do you

think that’s from? It never occurred to anyone it could be

from crying. It was like that love of hers was the property of

everyone. Like anybody had the right to walk all over her

love the way you walked about the site, trampling it, even

tossing down your cigarette butt. All because she served in

the cafeteria.

No one said anymore, You look nice today Miss Basia, or

Basieńka, she couldn’t look nice with her eyes swollen.