WHO IS THIS HANDSOME STRANGER? PODCAST #7
Vigaland Podcast #7 of “VOICE FROM AN URN” brings you the first half of Chapter 5.
Who is this handsome stranger who now enters Viga’s mother’s life and what role will he play in it?
“Can I get you a coffee?” the handsome stranger asks me.
“No. Thank you. I’m okay.” I’m sitting on a bench at the side of the big hall, waiting for Bogdan to return with his Visa. People are running around looking for someone or simply looking busy. Two year-old Viga is parked at my feet, trying to untie the laces of her little shoes. She’s frustrated, hungry and whiny.
“Your daughter doesn’t look happy,” he says, smiling at me. He crouches down to face Viga. “Do you want some help with that, little one?” he asks gently.
Frowning, she looks up at him, then smiles. She sticks out the shoe toward him, indicating he should help her. He begins to untie the lace, but I stop him.
“No. She needs to keep her shoes on. Thank you anyway.”
He stands up and Viga stands up with him, stomping her foot and pouting at me.
“Is she hungry perhaps?” the stranger asks as Viga slides her hand in his. He looks down at her as if she were his own child. “Would you like me to get you some cake, little one?”
Viga bobs her head in a “yes”, prepared to toddle along with him.
“No Jadwiga!” I shout. “Stay here with mommy.”
She plunks herself down on the floor again, and pouts, sending me angry looks.
“I’m sorry,” I say to the man, “but I can’t let her wander off with you. My husband would be furious.”
“Of course,” he reassures me, “and rightly so. Let me see if I can get her something to eat. It’s hard on children to be sitting around waiting for adults. I’ll be right back.”
He heads off toward the tables of coffee, water, and now dry cake that have been set up along the sides of the room. As I watch him walk away, I wonder why he’s being so nice. Who is he anyway? I don’t recognize him. Perhaps he’s one of the new arrivals from the other camps. Now that many of the immigrants are already on the boats heading for their new homes, the authorities are combining those still waiting to leave into one camp and closing down the emptied barracks. Oleg and Hanka and several others of our small circle of friends left for Canada last week. We’re the only ones heading for Australia.
“Here you go,” says the man crouching down beside Viga again and offering her a cookie. “All the cake was gone,” he tries to explain to her as she knocks the cookie out of his hand. He picks it up from his lap where it landed and smiling, offers it to her again. This time she snatches it and starts eating hungrily.
“So her name is Jadwiga, eh? Another little girl named after that beloved queen of Poland. It’s a popular name for girl babies right now. Why did you choose it?”
“I didn’t choose it. My husband did. He wanted to name the baby after me.”
I don’t add that Bogdan said she had to be named after the woman he loved so much: me. It would be hard to explain how someone who loves you so much one minute can be so brutal the next. Not that this kind stranger needs to know any of that.
“So this baby’s beautiful mother is Jadwiga too,” he says. “I’m Leszchek, by the way.” He extends his hand for a handshake. Our fingers touch briefly and I’m struck by their softness: not hard like Bogdan’s. “Where is your husband?”
“He’s in one of those offices over there getting his papers and Visa. He’ll be leaving on the next ship, the Protea, to Australia.”
“You say HE will be leaving? Not you? You mean he is leaving a beautiful woman alone here to fight off all the other men who find her attractive?”
Is Leszchek flirting with me? His voice is deep, seductive. I feel something odd stirring inside me that I know I shouldn’t feel. I am married, very much so.
But I am lonely. Even with a husband and child, I feel lonely and very much alone. I’ve felt this way for months now. I find myself unable to open up to the other women in the barracks. They’d just say I shouldn’t have been stupid and gotten pregnant by Bogdan. I made my bed; now sleep in it.
Nor can I talk to Bogdan about anything that matters to me for fear I might say something he doesn’t like and he’ll become enraged. Even when he’s in a good mood and making jokes about something, I can’t relax and laugh or he might suddenly see me as laughing at him. I can’t erase the memory of that morning not long before Viga was born, when things went from fun to tears in a matter of minutes…
What is the story that Viga’s mother is about to share with the reader? It will give critical insight into her relationship with Viga’s father and help explain why Viga’s mother became so incapable of helping her daughter in later years when her father began sexually abusing her. Tune into PODCAST #8 to listen to that story in the second half of this chapter. Or if you can’t wait to find out, you can purchase a copy of “Voice from an Urn” at http://www.vigaboland.com/store
If you are a memoir writer, or aspiring to be one, you might enjoy subscribing to the author’s other PODCAST for MEMOIR WRITERS, MEMOIRABILIA. Subscribe here:
Stitcher: Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=82277&refid=stpr