The Spa

In the middle of a pine forest an hour’s drive from Warsaw, is a spa. My old car, covered with bird droppings from Warsaw and dust from the road sticks out like a sore thumb among rows of polished luxury cars. A woman in an ill-fitting suit greets me at the reception. Her name tag is upside down, I cannot read it.
We have a lot of guests at the moment, she says. Is the economy room okay for you, madam? The economy room is just fine. Wobbling on patent heels, she leads me to the end of the hall. The lights are dimmable, pillows plump enough to break your neck. A housecoat and a swimming cap are laid out on the bed. Dinner is served until nine, she tells me. The pool closes at eleven. Have a wonderful stay, she says, then slams the door.

I am the only person in the dining room. The one solitary waitress gets up from a chair in the back and smiles vaguely. I order, and she disappears behind a door in the back where I see a solitary cook. She appears half an hour later with my meal: rabbit with roasted pumpkin, squash, and potatoes which I eat with thin white wine. It is one of the best meals of my life. While I eat, porcelain roosters stare at me with beady, painted eyes. Everywhere, elevator jazz plays. After dinner I go to the pool. There I am also alone. The jazz is here too, I can even hear it when my head is underwater.

Pine forests around the spa.