‘Summer’s End’ by Paweł Kowaluk

Ivan was sitting by the pool, watching the sun set slowly over the buildings of the country club. All the towels had been put away and locked, as were the folding chairs, and he was off the clock. The cool air was trying to bite his skin, unaware he came from cold regions far away and this feeble frost meant nothing to him. Nevertheless, he noticed and greeted it with a smile.

The end of the season meant he had to move on. Perhaps east, deeper into the great continent to find work at a diner, a construction site, or a slaughterhouse. A man like him could do anything in this land of opportunity. He was ready, but still, he felt nostalgia as he prepared himself mentally. He planned his next steps: back to the shabby cabin, pack up his backpack, go to sleep, wake up tomorrow, hitch a ride into town, get a bus ticket.

He thought about summers in the old country when he was a boy. His aunt had a beach house, so his whole family would take the train and leave the hot, smelly city to visit her among the grassy dunes. His father would hunt for butterflies with a net on a stick, and his mother would serve apple pie. The old kind, with crunchy crust and powdered sugar on top. And his sister would sing, that is if she was not out there in the world chasing boys. But that was all history.

He saw Ben and Tina, an American couple who worked their summer jobs here. Normally, you could see them argue, but not today. They were walking hand in hand, their silhouettes perfectly vivid against the white panels of the hospitality building, their young heads together as they spoke sweet promises softly. The summer was ending, as must all things.

(More of Paweł Kowaluk’s work can be found at kwlk.pl)

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