This is material I have cut from my memoir-in-progress, Six Years In Slovenia.
I go to Brežice in the slush (I am there at noon, but it seems mystery girl no longer takes this train) go to the library until I am driven out by computer class at 5 pm.
I walk to the train station and mystery girl is not there yet. Another woman comes in, I greet her. She goes out and comes in again, I greet her again, not recognizing her. She asks me something in Slovene; I have to ask her to speak English. She asks me in English, do I have something to read? I have to tell her no.
Then she asks me all kinds of questions about myself and I have to answer them. This takes a while and during it, some other people come in and mystery girl is one of them; I greet her, but I don’t think she hears.
Pika, the girl I met, wants to buy a painting. At first I don’t really believe her, but it turns out she is serious. So she asks me the usual questions about what I am doing here in Slovenia and why I left California and so on, and I know mystery girl can hear everything. I feel exposed and I don’t like it, but I have to participate in this conversation. I am glad I met Pika, but somehow feel that I am at a disadvantage now with mystery girl, because she knows so much about me now and I know nothing about her.
I sit and talk with Pika until my stop, when I get down to the door and mystery girl is there and I greet her in Slovene but she answers “hello” in English, which means she speaks English and has understood our whole conversation.
We get out and walk up the steps, and she does that thing again, where she falls behind on purpose so I have to walk in front of her. It is slushy and wet, and I have to be careful not to slip, so I walk more slowly. She is behind me until the Trg when I am seriously slowed by slush and when I reach the end she is far ahead of me. She keeps her lead until the end. So now she has all this information about me but I have none about her. I feel unsettled by her, the angle at which her teeth project; I felt none of this emotional weirdness with Pika.
29 January 2010
Brežice. I barely make it to the train station in time to get the 7 o’clock train. I look in the čakalnica through the window but she is not there, then as I turn away I see her, she has just come around the corner of the building. We greet each other – “čer” but nothing else is said. We stand about 2 meters apart, I am looking down the track for the train she thinks I am looking at her. We get on the train, first car is too far up, second one is not good bet, it’s often locked. So I turn for the first one, she follows me. Inside it’s a half up/half down. I head for the down half. She sits a row ahead of me.
Longhaired ticket taker stamps without looking. She has to pay for her ticket, conductor slumps into the seat across from me. Now we are rolling toward Krško, I hear her sniffing. It is dark, so there is nothing to see outside the window.
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