Jacek: An excerpt from Polska, 1994

Author: • March 20, 2014 • Novel Excerpts

Hours and more drinks later, Jacek stood behind me—his hands on my shoulders.  He leaned in to say something to one of the guys and let his hand travel down my side.  His thumb passed over my nipple and I whispered in his ear I had to get home.  He grabbed his overcoat and held my parka for me to slip into.

The heat of the room condensed at the top of the stairs and when Jacek pushed open the door, the coolness of the night broke the spell of the evening.

“Can I take you home?”  Jacek held me by my elbow.

“I’m fine.  If you don’t mind walking me to the…the…the bus, I’ll be fine.”

“We’ll take a cab.”  He hailed one of the darkened Mercedes taxis parked half on the curb.  I couldn’t let him take me home, but I didn’t want to be on the bus alone with the flashers and drunks.  I rolled down the window to keep air on my face.

“Did you have a good time?”  His hand hovered above my knee.  I thought of what I would do if he put it there.  I wanted him to, earlier, but in the back of a cab in the dark…  “We didn’t really get a chance to talk.”  He brushed wisps of hair away from my neck.  It tickled.

“Your friends were interesting.”

He leaned in—hand on my upper thigh.  “I’d like to get to know you.”

“Can you drop me off here?  I told my family I was with a girlfriend.”  We pulled over and the old man driving glared at me like I was about to ruin his upholstery.

Jacek looked like he was getting out.  “Coquette.  When can I see you again?”  I told him he could meet me any day after school.  He closed the car door but kept looking at me.

I reeked of smoke, but I walked straight enough.  I only hoped everyone was asleep and Paweł would come in smelling worse than I did.  I stumbled up the stairs and into the dark apartment before the light timed out.



About the Author

Ilsa McKettaAuthor: Isla McKetta

Country of residence: United States of America

Nationality: American

Mother tongue: English

Isla McKetta is a novelist who has lived on three continents and traveled across four. Her first novel, Polska, 1994, was researched while she lived in Poland. She reviews books at A Geography of Reading.

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