To be continued…
Led by the shuffling attendant, Antoni and Orsola walk down a seemingly endless stretch of hall, the same sickly pale green, studded by a series of closed doors, with frosted glass windows, many of them interrupted by shadows of the people inside.
Echoes of these conversations, and faint suggestions of cries, accompany them as they walk.
The doctor’s office has an examination table, a wooden school desk, and little else.
It is clean, but well-worn; brick peeks through the paint.
The walls boast two posters.
One, an admonition against drinking while pregnant, and the other, a propaganda-style image of grinning, robust Soviet children cavorting around a Soviet flag.
Orsola sits at the desk, pulls out a pocketknife, and adds a second scratch mark under her name, which she carved in the desktop on her previous visit.
The desktop is full of carved children’s names, some with many more scratch marks than others.
Antoni presents an open palm to Orsola, expectant.
“We talked about this already. No knives allowed. Not now.”
Cut to Antoni and Orsola’s apartment, seven tears ago:
Antoni opens a kitchen cupboard and deposits the knife into a box brimming with knives.
Repeatedly, his hand returns to the box and adds other instruments to a growing pile of contraband-knives, BB pellets, rope, razor blades, candy,a toy rifle.
After this final repossession, an eight-year-old
Orsola gazes up at the cupboard, scowling.
You have no reason to own one. If a day comes when you do-then, we will talk.