Chapter 16: Immature Love
Lolek had become part of Lilly’s family. Every evening on his way home from high school, he would stop at her house, supposedly to help Ida with her shopping and to play with Izio. Everyone knew of his real intention; to see Lilly. Nevertheless, they kept quiet and just smiled. Wolf, who was not very fond of Lolek, did not like the fact that that nine-year-old Izio had a friend seven years older than he was. Wolf, however, did not find the time to discuss it with Izio, since he was always busy at work and came home very late.
Sometime later, he had a suspicion that Lolek was interested in Lilly. He hoped that she would reject him and that he would finally disappear. It did not happen.
Lolek began to openly woo Lilly and even began bringing her little gifts. He once brought her a red knitted sock filled with a variety of sweets and chocolates tied with a green ribbon on top with a red heart attached to it.
On another occasion he bought her a live white rabbit which he purchased in the market. Once, while they were strolling along the Pilica River, he bought her a striped swimsuit.
Lilly willingly accepted the gifts and was happy with her good fortune. Although she confided in her uncle Stanislaw that Lolek was wooing her and buying her gifts, she immediately dismissed it as puppy love.
“I am not interested in him. I am flattered that he buys me gifts, but it is only out of friendship,” Lilly said.
Stanislaw pleaded with her to refuse any more gifts.“He’s in love with you, and it will be very difficult for him to accept a rejection. Do not give him false hopes,” he said.
“Uncle Staczek” she said, using the name affectionately, “Do not worry, I’m a big girl and know what I am doing.”
In school, Lilly told her Jewish friends that she had a Polish boy friend, something none of them had. She walked around like a proud peacock with her head held high and showed off her small breasts like a flirtatious woman. At times she would put on lipstick and rouge on her cheeks. The girls were jealous of her and saw her as a leader worthy of following.
Once in the middle of a lesson, she wanted to pass a note to a friend sitting in the next row. Unfortunately, the note fell on the floor and the girl behind her picked it up and read it out loud.
“Yesterday Lolek hugged me,” she began to read. “He kissed me on my lips while inserting his tongue into my mouth.”
Lilly blushed as everybody stared at her. The teacher approached her and in a loud voice said, “What is going on here?”
Everyone fell silent, as Lilly got out of her seat and ran out of the classroom. She locked herself in the bathroom and burst into tears.
After the embarrassing incident, Lilly stopped walking around in a flaunting manner and became completely introvert. She hardly spoke to any of the girls and would stay in the classroom during recess reading a book that she had borrowed from the library.
In fact the incident with Lolek had never really taken place. It was all a figment of her imagination to look “cool” and “hip” in the eyes of her friends. However, once she was perceived as lewd, she could not erase the incident.
For the Easter holiday, the entire family was coming to Warsaw for a family reunion. Moses had invited everybody to his villa in Michalin. Adam was coming from medical school as was David, who had just completed his second year of university.