vodka on the rocks
I remember the first time he came in for his paper for two reasons, one it was Valentine’s Day and secondly Lizzie fell instantly in love with him. He was shy, nice looking and very tall, well over six-feet. When we found out his first name was Piotr, we knick-named him ‘Two-metre Peter’, behind his back, of course.
We discovered his name and that he was Polish after he had a parcel delivered to our collection service – he said it was a present from his mum, in Krakow. These details however, were the only thing that we found out about him for quite a while. As I mentioned he was shy, very shy to the point that his eyes diverted away from me the instant our gaze connected on the odd occasion that I was able to serve him, which was not often, due to Lizzie all but wetting herself to get there in front of me. I didn’t mind really being as how I had a steady boy-friend and at four-feet ten, me and him would look rather like the monkey with the giraffe as Lizzie put it when she thought I also fancied him.
It was the week that Lizzie called in sick that I got a chance to observe him a bit better. Firstly he was very polite even though his English was a bit strange sometimes. He didn’t smoke, or at least didn’t buy his cigarettes from us. He read the Daily Express. When I asked him if enjoyed it, he made a slight tilt of his head, looked at me for a split second and said it was okay and bought it because it was the cheapest. He explained he really only read it to practise reading in English. The content didn’t really interest him.
He always wore a blue coverall that looked immaculately clean unlike the majority of local workers who came in to the shop. When it rained he wore a bright red waterproof jacket which again made him stand out from the local men who never seemed to alter their dress to suit the weather conditions.
He had a shock of strawberry-blond hair that looked like he had trouble controlling it as it constantly fell over his right eye causing him to brush away with the back of his hand. His hands and fingernails were clean and he didn’t wear any jewellery or have any tattoos as far as I could see.
I would never confide in Lizzie, though, for fear of her thinking I was competing for his charms; in reality I just felt kind of sorry for him because he seemed – I don’t know -not just lonely but adrift in a foreign place. He was different but in such a nice way.
Strangely enough he did seem to open up just a little with me, which to be honest was probably because he sensed that I was not trying to flirt as Lizzie always did and enabled him to accept friendliness at face value. I was dying to know if he was married but instinct told me that question would be a step too far.
I found out he worked at a local boat-builders as an electronic technician which accounted for, I assume, why he managed to keep so neat and tidy.
There was no question about it; for all the moaning about the number of Polish immigrants in our city this guy certainly was a bonus.
But no sooner had we got used to Piotr’s face lightening up our drab shop every morning, he stopped coming in, just disappeared and we never saw him again.
For Lizzie it was Love’s Labours Lost I guess, (and me a bit, if I was honest). But guess what? Lizzie’s booked a holiday in Krakow – can you beat it?