The Polish Experience by Nicholas Westerby - HTML preview
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So after McDonald’s-ing Kara or Clara or whatever her name was I headed to the train station and bought a big bottle of water and paid for my copy of The Times in the honesty box.
I always wondered if it really worked, if people stole out right or maybe dropped in small change when paying for more expensive items. I imagined that I’d do that but every time I paid the right amount. I was never really sure why I did but I did.
She strode through the rolling barriers and her big smile lifted my gloomy hangover. When she smiled it took up all the bottom half of her face and her nose seemed to disappear as only her white teeth and blue eyes remained.
She was carrying flowers. That probably should have been the other way around but I never saw the point on spending money on something that died so quickly.
I liked cacti.
You could get some pretty ones and if you put them in your garden the cats wouldn’t dig them up and dogs wouldn’t piss on them. I had read that in the desert they create some kind of drug in their centre, why not in Leeds?
I didn’t have any though. Even they were too much responsibility for me.
“Hi.” She said as we kissed cheeks.
“Hi.” I said taking a swig of water as if that would hide the stench of hung over morning breath. “Can I take that?” I said motioning to her bag.
“Take it where?” She said rehashing an old joke that we shared nearly every week. I had said it to her once and now she liked to repeat it. I thought it was witty at first but now it was tired and I felt it reflected poorly on me.
“Come on.” I said swinging my arm around her. “I need another shower.”
“You sure do.” She screwed up her nose and opened her mouth pretending to gag.
It probably shouldn’t have aroused me but it did.
Hell, every time I looked at her big mouth and full lips I felt a funny tingle. It made walking through a packed train station a much more self conscious experience than normal.
We got home and I peeled off my clothes and jumped in the shower. When I got out Cathy had slipped into my bed and was watching the PowerPuff Girls. She loved anything with CGI or animation.
She had told me that she learnt English from watching the Cartoon Network but I don’t know if I believed that.
“You should wash sheets.” She said kicking out one of her long legs.
“These sheets.” I corrected. “Or your sheets.”
“Ok.” She said.
Did it matter?
I dropped my towel and got back to work. Thank God for the renewing powers of the McMuffin and vanilla shake.
We didn’t really have any plans for the weekend but we did like to go to the park and watch the dogs and dog owners. We made up back stories for the other people in the park. I liked playing that game and she liked me playing it too. We sat there not getting cold on a mild Saturday.
“Oh.” I said remembering I should tell her about our invitation for the following weekend and Minkins probable job offer. “I have booked us a little trip for next weekend, you’re free aren’t you?”
God damn am smooth.
“Yes.” She snapped back. She didn’t move. Didn’t think about the offer. Didn’t even ask about where, why or who was paying for it. She just lay wither her back resting on my chest, legs up, spread out on the bench watching the dogs walk by.
“Actually my boss invited us.” Still nothing. What would she say if it was a swinger’s party. “I think am going to get a promotion.”
Now she spun around to look at me. “Great.” She said and as quickly as she had spun around she had eased back into the groove that she’d been working into my chest.
“Yeah, I think so.” I really did.
Well it seems innocuous but that was the beginning of the end.
On our way back to the flat we stopped for fish and chips. She couldn’t get over the fact that I hated fish, all seafood in fact, except for cod from the chippy. I drowned mine in vinegar and added a little salt, by contrast she hated vinegar and poured the salt on until every chip was thickly covered in white.
We ate and walked not saying anything but I could see the cogs turning behind her blue eyes. Cathy wasn’t very talkative about her feelings or thoughts, even though she talked endlessly about crap it rarely was about what she thought or felt.
She didn’t like a dress, actress or hairstyle but when she told me about people she worked with I could never decipher if they were her favourite colleague or a nemesis. I joked that she had a work husband because a guy called David Kipling was always lurking about in her anecdotes.
I joked because from what I gleaned from her, she saw him as a helpful asexual lump. I am sure he saw things quite differently. I had my work wives though and a little flirting went along way. It was easier to dine with secretaries than other sales staff as well. I got so bored of sales talk.
I was good at my job but I was not my job.
“I could move with you.” She offered.
“Move with me where?” I said surprised.
“Where ever your promotion is.”
“What about your job?” I said deflecting.
“I don’t need a job.”
Not I’ll find another job.
I don’t need a job. Had she won the lottery?
“We can start our family.”
And that was the end of the end, well the end of whatever we were and I knew I had to finish it. Well first we’d have some goodbye sex. Should I have told her that it was goodbye sex? Probably.
I didn’t though and selfishly wanting my Sunday to be uncontaminated by a break-up I did it after the sex.
Am an asshole, or at least I used to be. You can make up your own mind but I don’t mind being an asshole, it can be extremely useful.
A few things were thrown, tears were shed and then she left cursing me only to return a few minutes later to ask if I’d accompany her to a wedding later in the month. I refused and she cursed me again and finally left for good.
As I slouched down onto the couch Royce couldn’t keep his laughter in anymore and it burst out of him in a loud cackle.
“Good fookin riddens my son.” He said.
“What are we watching?” Ranieer said coming in with a burger. “Where is Cath?”
“She is gone.” I replied.
“For good.” Royce added swiftly.
He wolfed down his burger and grinned at me with mustard staining his teeth.
“Are we going out to play then?”
I shook my head and flipped through the channels until I found a Red Dwarf re-run, smegging what I needed to recover my day.
I thought I’d made the right move. Hell I wasn’t ready for kids and I certainly didn’t want a fully grown dependant weighing me down and siphoning my earnings. No, it was the right move.
Well until I talked to Minkins PA on Monday morning.
“I have booked you into the Courtly Lodge.” She said. “I didn’t know your girlfriends name so I just booked you in under Mr and Mrs. Williamson.”
How fucking insane would that shit have been.
“It’ll just be me.” I replied.
“It can’t be.” She reeled back in mock horror. At least I hope it was mock horror. What did she care about my romantic involvements anyway?
“You need to take your Polish girlfriend.” She said very seriously. “It is very important. You will thank me later.” She said handing me an itinerary.
I certainly didn’t see the need.
Maybe it was a swinger’s thing.
I spent the rest of the day musing on how far I’d go for a promotion. Would I do a three way with the Minkins? If there was tequila, probably yeah. Would I do her? Yes. Would I do him? No. Would I let him do my girlfriend? I didn’t have one. Shit. Maybe I should get back with her and let Minkins fuck her, she was planning on fucking me.
I don’t need a job.
When I got home I was in a panic and explained my situation to the Fin. “What the fuck am I gunna do?” I asked him.
“Relax bro, just call her.” He answered.
If only it was that simple it would have been done. I needed Royce and his sage advice. Where was that beautiful clown?
I tried to text him again and again but it was no use. I was on my own.
Think. WWRD? What would Royce do?
Easy, have a drink.
“Nag’s Dress?” I asked Ranieer knowing full well that he loved swaning down to the queer joint.
“I’d love to.” He replied. I also knew what his next question would be. “You’re buying?”
“My treat.” I said as he was putting on his coat then we were out the door.
When we got back we stumbled into Royce furiously going at it, with himself.
“I gotta sleep on that.” Ranieer protested.
Royce ran into the bathroom. Am not sure if it was out of embarrassment or to finish off but he emerged a few moments later fully dressed and didn’t mention a thing. While he was away I took a look at his inspiration and it truly was inspired.
Royce was whacking away to an escort site and while I calculated the price for a weekends work and weighed it against my possible returns with a promotion I searched for a Polish beauty who could convince Minkins that he needed me at the big boy table.
Also, if it was a swinger’s thing I didn’t really need to explain anything away.
She’d probably love it.