Mystery girl, part 5

The road to the ribnik

The road to the ribnik

This is material that I have cut from my memoir in progress, Six Years in Slovenia.

11 December 2009

Brestanica train station.

A scowling woman with Kool-Aid hair sits outside.  I didn’t greet her because she looks so mean.  I step inside, mystery girl is there. I greet her, she says “dan” back to me, her voice is a half-congested gurgle plus she doesn’t seem all that keen, or maybe it’s just my imagination.  Nevertheless I am sitting outside, it is cloudy but bright, not raining but grey steel sky to the southwest – might mean rain, so I brought an umbrella – I walked fast; 15 minutes to spare before train.

So now I wonder why she sounded reluctant and why she didn’t smile as brightly as before – Maybe I’m just being oversensitive, but then if I don’t trust my intuition, I might miss out on some subtle message.  Birds are having casual irregular conversations in the trees; now the train is coming.

Mystery girl comes out of the waiting room, chats to the evil looking woman outside, their incomprehensible words are like the birds chirping – then she crosses the track to platform 2. I follow, keeping my distance because we are waiting for the same train.

The cleaning lady comes also, a little later.  I greet her and she greets me back in a friendly way but we do not chat; but she walks down to mystery girl and there is a flurry of chatter between them.  Cleaning lady asks mystery girl something to which she answers “Na vem” – I don’t know.

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Mystery girl, part 4


This is material I have cut from my memoir in progress, Six Years in Slovenia.

December 3, 2009 – Dobova

There is ten minutes to the train so I should go…we will see whether mystery girl takes the Brežice train on Thursdays.  I bet not.

I was wrong:  she gets out of the front of the train (a whole other train) she looks at me sidewise, I know she is surprised to see me there, because I did not get on at Brežice.  Ha!  I went to Zagreb!  So I got on at Dobova!

The walk goes much as before, same route: she goes up into the Trg, while I do not; she paused a little at the end of the Trg, but not so long this time because I was not so far behind as last time, after this she walked a while on my side, same irregular way of walking in the road/walking on different sides, she crossed away at the same point as before, but when I turned at Cesta na ribnik, she was close enough to see.  So she knows where I turn.  I glanced behind:  she did not follow.

What an oddly pleasant little intrigue this is.  It’s almost like having a friend, only one that doesn’t corner you with tiresome chatter: in this pattern of walking, of swinging movement in the matrix of road and night and falling leaf and running water, that is more eloquent than words.  It is like a kind of dance where we each play our part, and nature too, and we react to one another and it, all improvised and wild.

If I ever got to know her, this could be ruined entirely.

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Mystery girl, part 3



This is material I have cut from my memoir-in-progress, Six Years In Slovenia.

I am at the Brestanica train station with 15 minutes to spare before the train to Brežice comes.  She is actually here.  I thought it was her when I came in, but I had my sunglasses on so it was impossible to be sure.  Then I went out to the WC, when I came back I looked and it was her.

So here I am, sitting in my usual spot, ten minutes to the train, sitting here with her, but it’s impossible to say anything, it would be awkward, I don’t really know how I feel about her.  I am repelled by my own traits in another, and ashamed of this fact.  She sniffs, but doesn’t sound so congested as previously; she is wearing tights and skirt and the same boots and the same jacket.  I feel like avoiding her, but not entirely.

Brežice train station, 7:12 pm.  She is here, standing somewhat farther away.  She keeps dabbing at her face; I wonder if she is crying or just wiping her nose.  I wonder what little drama will play out on the train.

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Mystery girl, part 2


Brežice train station

This is material cut from my memoir-in-progress, Six Years in Slovenia.

Today is still Friday, November 20, 2009, and I am at the Brežice train station where she has just walked around the corner as I took out my journal to write.  I hear her sniffing slightly and the scrape of her boots.  She is standing about ten yards distant from me.

Conductor: train will be ten minutes late.

She is wearing an A-line skirt.  I don’t know what to do, nothing probably, I feel like an idiot even now.  She only takes the seven o’clock train on Fridays from Brežice.  She did not go the same route as I did or I would have seen her.

When you actually meet someone in the flesh everything that you have been imagining about them seems absurd.

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What it’s like to be an unattractive woman

I googled “What it’s like to be an unattractive woman” in the hope of finding other women like myself to befriend, and among the results was this article by Tracy Moore called “Will Women Ever Have the Freedom to be Ugly?

It begins on a promising note, as Moore describes her personal experiences of being called ugly and pointing out that if beauty were not expected of women, it would free up a lot of our time, resources and energy.

But then Moore goes on to say:

Second, what do I mean by ugly? Like all things subjective, it’s arguable to infinity. I think when women are called ugly, they are not actually ugly — they are simply noncompliant. They are not willing to spend the time, money and energy it takes to live up to a cultural beauty standard that says skin tones must be evened out, eyes must be enhanced, cheek bones accented, weight managed, desirability advertised, and so on. (Remember, pretty is a skill set.)


Some of us cannot be pretty no matter how compliant we try to be.  Spackling makeup on an ugly face will not turn it into a pretty one.   Moore seems to be one of those idealists who think there is no such thing as an ugly woman, but the real world tells us otherwise.

Sometimes I really think one of the most radical things a woman can do is simply not brush her fucking hair.

There are many more radical things a woman can do than not brush her hair.  For example, she could recognize that she is a member of an oppressed class, and work together with other members of the same oppressed class to dismantle the system that oppresses her.

Reddit is a cesspool of misogyny, but this thread is worth reading:  Do Unattractive Women Really Feel Completely Ignored/Invisible?.

“You’re not unattractive!” “You’re not even that fat!” “Someone finds you beautiful!” “Beauty is subjective” OH MY GOD FUCK RIGHT OFF.

Just accept that the world is a mean place sometimes. You telling me my struggles don’t exist makes me feel more invisible. Like you can’t even comprehend the life unattractive people lead so you have to blow smoke up my arse to make yourself feel better? It’s not like people are flinging shit in my face but can we please accept the fact that not being attractive impacts my actions and the actions of others?  — commenter sehrah


And my own related piece, Feminists Are Ugly.

So readers, if any of you are conventionally unattractive, I want to be your friend.



The mystery girl, part 1


Stolovnik, 2008

This is some material I have cut from my upcoming memoir,  Six Years in Slovenia.   The reason I’ve cut it is that it doesn’t really advance the story forward, but it’s kind of interesting on its own.

August 5, 2009, Brestanica train station

It is raining again.  Only lightly, but that makes me happy because it is cool enough to get things done.  I am going to Brezice again to finish what I started yesterday; that girl I sometimes see is here, the one I have an odd little story about that I don’t want to tell right now.  I was a little freaked out by that but I still like her.  She is not one of the fairy-like Slav beauties, but there is something graceful about her silhouette.  I avoid striking up a conversation, though.  I fear intimacy.

Friday November 6, 2009

Tonight Friday, 7 o’clock train from Dobova, I get off the train and the girl is there, walking up the platform and up the steps to the road.  It’s her.  I only see her from the back but I recognize the line of her graceful figure at once, and her boots.  Impulsively I decide not to go to the WC as I usually do when getting off the train, as Krško’s WC is never open, but to follow her instead.  She followed me one day, all the way to the end of the Trg, stood looking after me as I walked on then turned back.

She must live somewhere on the Trg; I am curious to see where she goes.

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