Tales From The Chalkface: Walking Away

Summer days make me more inclined to take a stroll home rather than jump on the tram, so last week, with the sun shining, that’s what I did. A change of routine is always a tonic.

Heading for the Rynek, I pretend I’m a tourist and indulge myself by eating out. I head for The Dorsz because what self-respecting Brit wouldn’t want fish and chips, even if it hadn’t been a week since she went to her very own local chippy? Besides, this is my local chippy when I’m in Krakow.

The first thing I see as I come through the door is an ex-student in the company of two workmates, all heartily tucking in. He greets me warmly and I remember he’s shy, so I smile and move on. Good to know he’s still around.

After some fabulous fish, I leave, mouth tingling from the taste of malt vinegar (why can’t you buy that here?) then saunter to an outdoor café to do a bit of people watching. Everywhere is full. In this weather, the waiters are really working up a sweat. I spot another ex-student. She’s too busy to notice me, intent instead on getting beers and plates on her tables. I admire her energy and move on.

Further on in the Mały Rynek it feels like party time, a crowd has gathered to enjoy a salsa band. Among all this festivity I find I’ve walked into a current student from my class. Smartly dressed and with a group of Polish friends from his previous school, he seems to be showing them the sights. We make eye contact and although we’re both smiling, I can’t help but wonder why he’s here.

He’d been absent that morning when I checked the register, nor did he sign in at any time later. He’s certainly an unlucky truant to bump into me on the only day I decide to walk. After exchanging pleasantries, he introduces me to his friends (they’re amazed I can speak even minimal Polish). It’s then I ask the uncomfortable question.

“Why weren’t you at school today?”

He shifts uncomfortably, wishing himself elsewhere. His friends titter. He mutters something about a doctor’s appointment. No one, least of all me, believes him. I leave, suggesting we’ll pursue the matter tomorrow. Roars of laughter erupt from the unfortunate lad’s friends.

Finally, I find a quiet table and sit down for a coffee. A woman stops by my table.

“Oh, you were Anna’s teacher, weren’t you? I must tell you how well she’s been doing since she left school. She’s just got a place at Guildford to train as a stage manager. She loves it. I thought you’d like to know.”

I sip my coffee, delighted I decided to walk home today.

(Visited 50 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close