TE20 Migrant Mosaics

Taddeusz. Period

knocking the beer out of his hand, and before he knew what had happened, had floored him with a punch in the face. The three women got there so fast that Pia was able to fling herself between Tadeusz and an approaching foot, which she not only stopped but grabbed hold of, while the other of the two bewildered attackers got belted by Berit’s leather handbag. Before the cancer Silvia had done judo, and though it was a very, very long time ago, the memory of a simple Osoto Otoshi throwing technique flooded back effortlessly. They soon had the two young yobs in armlocks and pinned to the ground. They had handled it as a team, with Silvia and Berit now continuing to hold the men down while Pia took care of Tadeusz and got the bar-man to call the police, for whom they didn’t have long to wait. Tadeusz was back on his feet when the policewoman asked him his name. He should have answered, as always, Taddius Geissler , but a tooth had become dislodged. In a gush of blood he spat it out. He could enunciate neither Taddius nor Geissler; instead it hissed from his mouth, sounding ugly (or that’s how he heard it at first). He uttered it a few times with what Pia had always described as a ‘broken accent’ whenhefirst started learningGerman, hissing Geishh-ler , Geishh- ler and Taj, Tajashh ... But as he spoke, it sounded more and more like the Polish pronunciation – Pia looked at him in surprise. Period! she added emphatically. And arm in arm, with Tadeusz in the middle, the three girlfriends departed from the town square with their heads held high. The police were staring after them in such bafflement that the yobs, seeing their chance, scarpered into the crowd. Tadeusz , he said loudly. Tadeusz. Tadeusz!


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