At first he had taken us for Poles, said the man
sitting across from Katrin and me on the bus. Before we sat down
in the bus we waited for a half hour on the main street in Elizabeth,
New Jersey. We find that’s how we fit into the general business
rhythm in Elizabeth. Later, Later, says everyone who we ask.
The man in the bus claims that he knows Poles very well. Most of
the employees where he works are Poles, and he learned Polish because
many of them don’t speak English. But then he didn’t
let himself be deceived and noticed that we were not Poles but Germans.
He himself emigrated from Brazil. Where we actually came from? From
Manhattan, says Katrin. Manhattan he says and nods. Manhattan. “I
have an ex-wife living there. Manhattan. That’s where my alimony
goes.” They supposedly were married twenty years. He should
remember the good times advises Katrin. There definitely must have
been many. He clucks his tongue contemptuously. He is ok, he says,
we should not worry about him. For three years he’s been with
a new girl friend. Good, I’m happy says Katrin. He clucks
his tongue contemptuously and says that we should watch out for
After three hours, we get to Ikea. With relief we eat cheesecake
and Tiramisu and look across the highway at the Newark Airport.
The thing with tables has turned out to be difficult. Everyone
who is there to help us raises their eyebrows. I am sure it means,
“Don’t dare to ask for anything else.”