Travel notesIssue 09 | May 2010

Getting Away With It

by Margaret Foley

This time, Tomasz noticed me at the back of the tram (get a good look at). Our eyes locked. I crossed my fingers, hoping my face did not betray the recognition his did. Anxious, I glanced out the window, calculating the distance to the next stop. The tram was at a stoplight (get stuck). A woman crossing the street was frantically grabbing her spilled groceries (get a move on). Not only did I not have a ticket, I didn’t have the fifty or so thousand złoty on me for the fine.

Tomasz quickstepped toward me (get caught). Proszę, bilet.

Nie mowię po polsku, I replied. I rarely admitted I spoke no Polish. I enjoyed people’s compliments about my fluency and their surprise when they discovered I was American.

Paszport, Tomasz smirked. I handed it over. He carefully scrutinized its visas and entry and exit stamps (get clues). Dziwno, że pani jest tak długo w Polsce i nie rozumie ani słowa, he said. Under other circumstances, I would have agreed it was odd that someone who had been in Poland over a year could not understand any Polish.

When the tram came to the next stop, Tomasz yanked me and a ticket-less middle-aged man onto the sidewalk (get pulled over). Tomasz asked him for identification. As the man reached into his bag to retrieve his wallet, Tomasz turned, gave me back my passport, and began, with a flourish of his ticket book and pen, to write out my fine (get revenge). The man began to run down the street. Uwaga!  Tomasz yelled as he dashed after him. I instantly fled in the opposite direction. Tomasz whipped around, but the man and I had given each other enough of a head start (get lucky). I looked over my shoulder to see Tomasz throwing his cap and fine book to the ground (get a grip).  I turned the corner, then slowed to a walk as I approached the consulting firm. I smiled thankfully at the man who held open the door.

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About the author

Margaret Foley tries to pack light when she travels, but she always ends up bringing one too many pairs of shoes. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is an editor at Oregon Home Magazine. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Ilya’s Honey, and Opium Magazine. She would like to go back to India someday, but doesn’t feel the need to repeat a train trip she took in 1991 from Warsaw to Moscow in February in an unheated train compartment.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok