Until then I had only looked through glass at people like Borko. Through the shop window when I was standing behind the counter and they were coming out of the station building. People who came here for the holidays with colourful rucksacks and a variety of anoraks. Who used to go skiing on the slopes outside the town and took photos of each other at the station with a view of the platform. Then they would buy wafer biscuits from me for the journey and ask where the buses stood. People from the capital who were always smiling. I had never touched any of them. Until Borko, who had everything. More than Gregor, who was, after all, one of us. Gregor was Borko from many years ago. He still had to make an effort. Borko didn’t need to any longer.
That’s what I was thinking about when he undressed me. And his grey hair, like in a black and white photo. Dark hair that is the first to go grey. Not Janut, but that Borko’s world was now within my reach. Which Janut could only ever wait for. We met one day when I came to see Janut at the building site. Borko spoke to me when I was leaving. Said he was curious about me. About the woman who had had such an impact on Janut and had forbidden him to smoke. He laughed and said I could be sure of Janut. Apparently he didn’t even light up in secret. While all the others were standing in front of the caravan with cigarettes between their fingers, Janut hung around inside listening to the radio. To a broadcast he didn’t understand a word of. He looked at me and said that now he understood why. You don’t see women like that around here, he claimed. Beautiful women come from across the border. He asked me if he could give me a lift. He was going for some material and he pointed to the van parked near the gate in the fence. He opened the door in the wire netting and let me go out first. The van was standing in the sun and the leatherette upholstery was as hot as sheet metal. He opened the window and turned on some music. He asked me where I wanted to go. From the vehicle a different world opened before me. Through the rolled-down window on the passenger’s side I saw the city as I had never seen it before.
As it is seen by people Janut and I will never get closer to. By hiding banknotes in tea tins we shall never catch up with them. Eating marked-down yogurts the day before the use-by date. Bread fried on pork fat instead of oil. Not even bills for the telephone that delusively connects us to the world. A world we don’t live in, not even on the outskirts. A world that is moving away from us and we have no hope of catching up with it at the pace we’re going. And suddenly I was riding along with it. In Borko’s van, right to the heart of it. Along the highway that flows into the town like a river. We were one of many cars speeding towards the centre and each of them had its own goal. A goal that I and Janut could not see even with a telescope. Hair waving in the wind and music playing. Borko’s confident hands on the steering wheel. He knew where he was going. We drew up in front of the house in which Janut and I lived. Gregor had moved out only a short while before and his room was still vacant. The bed without sheets and shelves full of other people’s things. Those no one thought worth taking away.