Wires.

When I was maybe fourteen years old, my dad took me with him on one of the odd jobs he accepted from time to time outside of his day job at a company that had been just converted from state to private, dealing with implementation of measuring and weighing (and later dosing and packaging) systems. By the way, that company has changed addresses over time, taking up some space in successive buildings, at least one of which is no longer in existence. Going back to the odd job my dad took me to once, the task was to install and launch a small electronic device in the manhole of some sewer, in a place that was either a water intake or a sewage treatment plant. It would seem that the difference should have been clear and easy to remember, and yet I cannot recall it. The intake or treatment area was deserted; it was a very early, on a Saturday or Sunday morning. My share in the job consisted of assisting – carrying out instructions to bring, pass or pick up and put down something. A drill, a hammer, a screwdriver, and so on. It seems to me that my dad also let me drill one hole in the concrete with a drill, whose howling sound was truly hard to bear. Whether I drilled the hole myself or just watched my dad do it, to this day, whenever I hold a drill in my hand (which doesn’t happen too often), I still see that manhole in the wee hours of the morning. I don't remember many details of how that day unfolded, but I do remember the satisfaction of seeing the neat and functional result of our actions gradually emerge. I didn’t know how it worked or what it did or what the wires going in and out of it were for, but it all seemed very simple and pretty.


When I was even younger, I felt a different kind of satisfaction from looking at people’s heads from behind. I was moved and deeply sympathetic, at times verging on despair, but from which it was quite easy to turn away and walk away. I had a feeling of understanding and some kind of intimate knowledge of those people whose backs of heads I was looking at, while maintaining complete anonymity. I never noticed that they knew someone was watching them. I wished them all the best.


Alojs and Agnes are still talking. The work goes slowly and not without difficulty. At times a temptation appears to let go of a few details and move on to the end, which is not far away, and whose shape I already know, more or less. But I resist the temptation and keep going, often returning to what has already been written. I am a little tired.


(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)