I knew nothing about him
I knew nothing about him — beside the single poem published in “Kwadryga”. It was titled ZOO. I even can't say if I liked it. Anyway, that was a time for graduation from my secondary school, and the poem completely went out of my head. My family decided, that it was too early for the next stage of my learning. That year after my graduation I spent in my small town on reading poetry. Just for myself, I were discovering Yesienin, Rimbaud, Baudelaire; I didn't heard about Gałczyński at all. All those “Dragons”, “Red Lions” with his poems never came to my town.
And finally came the Spring of 29. My family sent me to Warsaw with an undisputable order to enlist the Romanist Department. Although I was very young, I had to be independent, so I took the first job I have found (n.b. it was quite good) and then I enrolled the Warsaw University. However it was still long time to Autumn, to start my studies. Together with my school friend, Mary, I rented a room in her aunties' house. In some May morning, Mary introduced me to her friend Lucjan Szenwald in the “Ziemiańska” cafe. And then Gałczyński came. I saw his dishevelled black hair and big green eyes, as if cat's. I remember, that Szenwald went away to meet him and they talked for a while on a side. And then, suddenly, Gałczyński approached our table and instead of typical greeting, he asked: “How the thing are going on Caucasus, Miss Nata?”. I was surprised, that he knew my origin. And suddenly, he cited Yesienin:
И вновь вернусь я в отчий дом,
Чужою рaдостью утешусь.
В зелëный вечер под окном твоим
На рукаве своëм повешусь…
(Back to my native place, I'll return
To comfort my bitterness by a distant glee.
When green dusk will enter my window pane
I shall hang myself on my sleeve. )
Withou any hesitation I said “Oh, that's Sergey”. And I remember exactly his words: “One must love the poet so much to talk about him in his first name”. And suddenly he ordered: “Stand up”. I did it immediately, however after a moment I groaned: “Stupid things, what is it for?” He was staring at me constantly. I asked him: “Why are you looking at me?” He answered: “Because you have such a small face and your eyes are so big. The whites are blue as if from glaze.“ Certainly I was delighted. For the first time adult man turned his attention on me, not some teenager in love! I think he said goodbye and left after these words. Later, he told me that when he saw me in “Ziemiańska” he instantly asked Szenwald about me. And he felt in love with me in that very moment, when I was standing like a soldier at attention. One of the loving nickname he used to call me later, came from that moment: “Little knight”, “Little soldier”.
He came next Sunday at nine o'clock. He was abashed, and asked for a glass of water. My room was decorated by Mary's terrible paintings, who was studying in Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. We were watching them with consternation. He barely spoke. He stammered out that for the whole week he was waiting for me like mad in “Ziemiańska”. Szenwald finally gave him my address.
Doves were flying under the windows, a big acacia tree was growing on the yard and my room was overspread by a green shadow. For the first time I saw him in the real, and for the first time I called him “Kot”. Then we went to “Łazienki” park. And we couldn't leave each other. I remember he was singing a song about some mandarin and we were drinking milk in theh “Nadwiślańska” cafe on the Teatralny square.
That evening met us on the Poniatowski Bridge. We were wandering on the streets of Powiśle under gas lamps. I asked him to tell me one of his poems, the one he likes the best. He said Ulica szarlatanów [A Street of Charlatans].
And later, under the bridge, I helped him to push down some old board. We sat on it, right by the river. And later he used to say that our whole life begun from that board…
I came back home at dawn. I felt my life has changed. In my home I was raised very rigorously. And now I spent the whole night with some unknown man… New day came, everybody was still sleeping in the house. I heard bell ringing. Kot flew into the room as if the air wave and embraced me so tightly that I shouted. He said “I gone mad by you. I gone mad for you…”.
[KIRA GAŁCZYŃSKA, Srebrna Natalia]