We have two buildings

Alicja Mackiewicz
17th March 2023

I came 30 minutes too early. Three ladies finished their shift. I'm sitting here too, in the room where we change.
I don't understand many things that they're saying because I haven't learned Dutch yet. I think they are talking about shopping for their families.
I don't know much about them. Only that one started getting tattoos after 50, and now she can't stop because she likes it so much. Two of them have tattoos and even though we don't have much interaction, they are my favourite people here.

When I was searching for a job this September, I wanted to earn money from something that will not take away my mind, but give me some kind of pleasure/satisfaction and somehow inspire me. Cleaning was on the top of the list, but my back doesn't allow me to do it. Two of my friends have a history with cleaning. One of them have worked in hotels and houses, the other one in the museum that I work for now. Both of them found it quite hard, but both of them also found pleasure and interest in it.

They both left these jobs now. One of them is studying. The other still works in the museum but only guarding the exhibitions. At first, I also applied for the position of a guard, because I was desperate and I didn't know what kind of work is worse for my back. The restaurant is where I ended up working, and where I work still now and where to be honest I am happy to be.

When my grandfather was still a proffessor, he had a profile on the university's website. I found out about it one day because I decided to meet him after a long time. I started thinking about him, so I decided to google his name.
There was that profile, and there was a picture of him and me. I never knew he put it up and that he thought of me so much to choose our picture together for the official website, as the only actual photo representing him in the online world.

The page was very simple and  old fashioned. It looked like the person who made it treated it like a document. It had a simple Times New Roman font (size something like 12). Name, academic titles, important works, subjects that he taught, and on te right top corner was the photo and under it a caption: "Professor Mackiewicz with his granddaughter Alicja. Alicja claims that one should eat first, and philosophise only after."

I was very touched when I saw it, but I didn't really know what to do about it. I didn't really know what exactly I was  feeling, and it wasn't only warmth. Now the page doesn't exist anymore. I still regret that I didn't at least take a screenshot. I think back then I believed in the 'here and now'.
After my grandfather died, my dad brought me a few things from his appartment: a telescope, an analogue camera Zorki 4, two articles printed on a weird format smaller than A4 but bigger than A5 held together by paperclips, and two photos. One of them was the one from the website.

On the photo, we are sitting on the couch in his appartment. I am about three years old, my hair is cut almost bald. I remember that time very well because I was extremely unhappy about it, and probably it was around the time I entered the society because I started going to the kindergarden. I am wearing a T-shirt that I don’t remember having and I am eating a banana, I'm looking into the camera while sitting on my grandfather’s knees. He is wearing a white shirt, and an ugly warm light brown vest, he is smiling and looking at me. On the back of the picture it says "please crop". That is how I know that it is the one he gave to the people working on the university website to put it on his profile. I have this picture on my drawerer, in a white frame.

On the second photo, we are also sitting on the couch in his appartment, I am sitting on his knees wearing a weird navy blouse with green sleeves and two bears on it. I look like a boy holding half of a peeled banana in my right hand and I’m looking at my grandfather. He is looking at me and making a funny face. I don't think I'm laughing, I look more like I'm trying to figure it out.


We have two buildings: the restaurant and the museum

and the greenhouses, that are I think
abandoned but I'm not sure, and I'm planning
to check that one day

and a forest, and they say there is a hole in the fence

a little girl was standing on my way, she just
learned how to walk. She
stood in the middle of the path, looking
straight into my eyes, here the eyes were blue
and without much thought
you could tell
she is Dutch, and her whole family standing
10 metres away

I looked into her eyes also, and I tilted my
head and I smiled with a smile that says
"I like you"
She didn't move, and I had my headphones
on but I heard her saying "mama".

I walked around her, because she wouldn't
change her position, and when I looked
back she was now walking the other way
than she stood before, as if she tried to
be a walking adult .


page 18
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well"*

*Virginia Woolf, "Room of One's Own"