Polish Girls Don’t Cry

September 1

The Polish Ex-Couple


“You know they should make a film called ‘Girls don’t cry’ because I was the one crying!”   he bitterly quipped.


His ex-wife, also young, sat next to him, arms crossed, rolling her eyes. She was the beauty to his beast, in  skinny jeans and a trendy shirt while he seemed about 10 lbs overweight and had a slightly wrinkled button-up shirt and bore a few more wrinkles. He went off to buy coffee for her and their new friend they had just met on the airplane.


“You know what UPS really stands for?” the ex-wife asked, ironically proud of the fact she knew it. She and her ex-husband at met at the company “back when [I] was 19, and he was 23.” Judging from their looks, they were not much older. “UPS is full of druggies, we used to joke it was ‘United Pot Smokers!’ she finished her thought, giggling.


They seemed to like this new friendship–although it was merely temporary. The girl provided them each a patient listener, a captive audience, and emotional buffer between the two.


Tak, jaki kobieta….


The two had interrogated and mocked each other for the entire 10 hour flight from Chicago to Warsaw–and they were no way near finished. Typical questions would be “how many people have you slept with” were answered with the same question thrown back at the other one.


The ex-husband returned.


“I got a divorce in just 2 weeks!”


“That’s right” the ex-wife said, “he was very professional. We would recommend him to anyone!”


But the couple didn’t seem that  divorced. The ex-wife, as her former mate insisted on calling her from then on, preferred to speak in English while he would speak in Polish.




“No thanks!”




“Maybe just one, thank you!”


“3 zloty, proshe.”


The girl knew he was just kidding and smiled.


The girl appeared several years younger than her ex–no older than 23 although she was closer to 28.


Although they weren’t asked about why they got divorced–the couple nonetheless stumbled over each other competitively in explaining themselves.


“We were just too young” the girl said. The man, who appeared to be in his 30’s, griped in his thicker accent, “My best advice?! Don’t ever get married!”


They had bought the tickets months before they had expected a divorce–and had planned to “visit family.” Now, the girl was looking forward to seeing her family as a haven from the harassment of her ex-husband. He didn’t seem to ever want to leave her side, always hovering, helping her with baggage, and attending to her needs. She appeared annoyed and irritated by this.


Their difference could be observed superficially by their accent–she had a very soft accent, having had moved to the United States as a 3 year old–whereas he had spent no more than 7 years in the US–and not consecutively.


It seemed that she moved on from the status they had originally met in. As they waited for their next plane, he lamented, “I want to go home! I hate it here!” “Well, you’re in the right place then!” said the girl, embarrassed by her ex’s behavior.


They all boarded the plane. Their temporary friend sat several seats behind them, unaware of their conversation but read the Gazeta instead. There was an older woman who sat next to her, who could be not much older than her own grandfather. The cover of the newspaper said “NeoFaszisty”, “Jedobwane” and “Swastitkas.” These people were always going at it again–probably the biggest buyers of “This Day in History” calendars to ensure they never missed an opportunity. Jedobwane was a town infamous for the participation of the villagers in the anti-Jewish massacre. There was not one single survivor–or if there was, no one knew. Some Poles felt it was not fair for Jews to generalize their entire nation by this singular event when the Poles themselves risked more (the only country during WW2 that the act of knowledge of anyone/and or harboring a Jew was punishable by death) and had the greatest number of saviors on Yad Vashem.


An Indian boarded the plane–the only one of his kind on this miniscule Krakow-bound plane. The majority of the passengers seemed to notice this anomaly.


As the plane took off, the only positive aspect the outsider gauged from this distracting dramedy was the fact that the guy still loved the girl–and she didn’t seem to mind it–or why else would she get on that plane?

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