Poland First Place – The Circle


Klaudia Bulzacka

I’ve woken up in the morning with a big headache, I looked on the watch and it was 10 o’clock. I couldn’t recall what I had done and where I had been yesterday in the evening. Suddenly my wife came into the room and she definitely wasn’t in a good mood. I knew at once that something had happened.
– I will come for you at 6 p.m. Please, don’t go out anywhere. We will go there and they will help you.
I looked at the big, purple track on her chick.
– Who has done it to you? – I asked.
– It’s not important Olivier. Wait for me at home, please. I hope you realize that you can’t do what you want to do.
I got filled out with a remorse. I didn’t believe that I could have resorted to do something like that. I love my wife so much. I couldn’t have done any harm to her. I didn’t pay attention to what she was saying to me, I was all the time thinking whether I really was the author of this huge bruise on her chick.
– I’m sorry honey, I didn’t want to. – That was all that could come out of me.
– Olivier… – she sighed
– I don’t know how it has happened. I don’t remember anything.
– Be at home at 6 o’clock, and I hope you realize that if you will do something against my will, then it’s over between us.
When she said it, I trembled because of the thought that I could lost her. I started to cry, I got up from the bed, I hugged her as hard as I could. I felt as she was crying already.
– I will prove it to you, I’m not going to touch the alcohol anymore.- I said through the tears
We were silent for a longer moment, then Jessica looked deep into my eyes with an expression in her face which I want to forget about. Afterwards she came out of the home. I felt a strength inside me. I knew that it’s this day when I will definitively cut out of it. I started to imagine my life without her, all alone, without my beloved family.

In the house there wasn’t any alcohol at all, so there wasn’t any temptation. I made a big breakfast and I sat in front of TV and I was thinking about what my wife said. I couldn’t even focus on what is going on in the TV
So I decided that I would go out to the park to relax myself. I was walking down the small path nearby my house, when suddenly I saw a group of men, who were drinking vodka. I was trying to walk indifferently next to them, but the smell of the alcohol made me feel the will to drink. I hurried up and I was trying to focus on the surrounding area, trees, this path, the birds singing.
I went throughout the whole park to come out on the street. I was walking a bit more till I saw that an accident had happened out there. It seemed rather serious so I came a bit closer. There was a bunch of people around the broken car and a puddle of blood underneath. I didn’t have any idea what had happened so I decided to ask around
– I’m sorry madam, what has happened out here?
– Oh sir, a horrible accident! An elderly man has hit a woman by car on that pedestrian crossing. She died at once and it turned out that the man was under the influence of alcohol so the police has apprehended him immediately – she replied.
When I heard about it, I walked away quickly. I had an impression that everything connected with the alcohol is haunting me. Why did this woman had to point out that the man was drunk? Was it so important? I got really irritated by this situation. I kept on walking down the street, trying to get rid of any thoughts about my addiction.
I was thinking about it for a while until I decided to simply forget about it. I sat on the bench far away, when on the other side of the road there was a man walking down the street. He looked rather normally but I thought that he was saying something quietly.
– Go on, drink it, there is nothing wrong with that. – I heard at once in my head. – You’ve been drinking for so long, one day later won’t make any difference. – I couldn’t understand why I heard what was that man saying. He was so far away though.
– Come on, get drunk, your life will be easier and you will forget about all those things that have happened to you today.
In that moment I got terribly fearful, so I screamed and ran away from that area. My hands started to shake and all the faces on my way got me scared and angry. I stopped for a while. Suddenly, I felt an awful pain in my head. I didn’t know what was going on with me. I tried to calm myself down but it didn’t work out. After a while a young man was walking past by me, he was probably around 15 years old.
– You! Young man, come to me for a moment. – I called after him.
– Yes, sir? – he replied. I could see that he was scared of me even though I didn’t want to do anything harmful.
– Tell me, where can I find some pub out here?
– They are all over the place but the closest one is just behind the corner. It’s called “White Eagle”
– where is it again?
– Just out there – he pointed with his finger
Without any hesitation I went the way shown by that boy, I stopped just in front of the door, took a deep breath and came inside. The place looked rather normal, one could feel a smell of beer and cigarettes in the air. I sat by the bar.
– One shot, please. – I could feel my heart running faster, I was stressed, as if I was to come out in front of a big audience. The waiter gave me a shot of vodka quickly and I swallowed it so fast that I didn’t feel any taste at all. The pain in my head finally went away. I was feeling much better, so I asked for another shot and another and I stopped for a moment. I started blaming myself, I started feeling bad for what I did because I had promised that I wouldn’t drink anymore.
– One more – I said so quickly that the vodka was already in my mouth before I could think about the consequences.
– Jessica doesn’t have to come back at 6 o’clock, it’s not necessary, I will start again tomorrow. – I told myself.
I drank another two shots, and smoke a cigarette. I realized that my hands weren’t shaking as before, I felt relieved.
After a while a bodyguard kicked me out from the bar. With a big effort I stood up, lit a cigarette and kept on walking down the street. I felt blood on my forehead, but I didn’t care about it. I sat on the ground in front of some houses. I looked on the other side of the street and there was a café where I had a first date with Jessica. I started to cry, trying to find a way back home to apologize my wife. However, on the way I came across another pub. I had a strong need to come in and drink a bit more to forget how much I disappointed my wife. I didn’t have any money left so I was trying to find another way to get what I wanted. I noticed a whole bottle of vodka on the table, with nobody around, probably they were dancing. I told myself that if they were having fun then they wouldn’t realize the lack of that bottle. I looked around to be sure that nobody is looking, I took the bottle and ran away from that place. I was so proud of myself, like a champion who just won the marathon. I was holding the bottle closely to my chest and went to some dark place. Before every sip, I was telling myself : “for daddy, for mammy, for my beloved children, for my beloved wife” and after each of them I smiled. I felt that I was finally losing myself.
I woke up in the morning with a big headache, I looked on the watch and it was 10 o’clock. I couldn’t recall what I had done and where I had been yesterday in the evening.
Suddenly my wife came into the room and she wasn’t in a good mood. I knew that something had happened.
I looked at the big, purple track on her shoulder.
-Who has done it to you? – I asked.

The short story in Polish : The circle (Klaudia-Bulzacka)