— The truth is that we all once lived on a similar level, says Marek. – Most of our friends had an apartment in an apartment building, no more than 60 square metres. There were no others or they were smaller in size – up to 50 square meters. Some cars, usually Fiat or Polonaise, then some foreign cars, but there was no “madness”.
After the wedding, Marek and Ella lived with their parents. Fortunately, it was short-lived, because the Marek family had already prepared a housing book for Elie. A year later they had their “nest”.
– It was a wonderful period in our lives – says Marek. – The end of the eighties, everything had to be put on a waiting list.
I remember standing in front of the store for two nights buying furniture. We were able to purchase a wall unit, sofa bed and kitchen set. Oh God, how much we enjoyed it! Our friends came over, shook their heads with joy, and envied our furniture.
They also bought a lot of things for their home from a thrift store. Used but in good condition.
“In those years, our apartment was comfortably furnished,” Marek says. — Thanks to our contacts, we also managed to acquire a color TV and a Polish automatic washing machine. We didn’t need anything else to be happy then. They even reached us by phone. At the time it was a very salable product. Some had been waiting for this for up to twelve years.
Marek works in a large company as a sales manager. He will retire in five years. On the other hand, Ella is a teacher.
They are in good condition. The 32-year-old son works as a doctor. He lives on the other side of Poland
“We still have our first apartment,” Marek says. — For many years, Ella pressured us to buy a piece of land and build a house. We almost broke up over that.
However, the marriage survived. They’re still together. But it wasn’t easy…
“We have achieved everything we have through our work,” Marek says. – Our parents helped us as much as they could. And for that I am grateful to them. In the late 1990s, some of our friends started making money. It was visible to the naked eye. Many of them started doing business, created companies, and had their own stores. They thrived. They stood out from the rest.
Then Ella began to convince Marek to change his job.
She accused him of barely earning enough money compared to his colleagues.
– Our close friends have already come forward – admits Marek. – They bought new apartments, changed cars, started traveling and investing in real estate. Private schools were established and their children were sent to them. These were the years when a lot began to change in Poland. It smelled like Europe.
Marek seriously wondered several times whether he should follow in their footsteps and start his own company. He had extensive business experience, contacts and knowledge of the trade. He didn’t have to learn anything except running his own business.
“But I was afraid,” he says. – I knew that many of my business friends took out large loans and overinvested. I felt safer in my work. I received offers from other companies, offering much better wages, but I declined. I stayed.
That’s when the crisis in their marriage began. Ella has changed a lot. I became materialistic. She also envied her friends who were doing better and better.
“It got to the point where I was reluctant to go to some of my friends’ parties,” Marek says. —Ella and I usually argue after that. And it’s always about the same thing: that other people have nice villas, new cars, a cleaning lady, a garden man. And of course I compared it to our small apartment and the old Opel.
They couldn’t build a house. He did not want to take out a loan.
– I explained to Elle that the loan installment would be approximately her teacher’s salary – explains Marek. – We will repay this loan until we retire.
— What if inflation rises or I lose my job? I thought this argument would convince her. – But where is he? She claimed that those who do not take risks do not drink champagne. I didn’t want to risk it, and I could still buy champagne, even though it was cheap. Besides, we didn’t plan to have more children, so why would we need a house? I lived well on that first floor, and I never liked the plot and the flower beds.
Ella walked around the house angry for a long time. She resented Marek because of his simplicity.
— It was not a good time in our marriage, says our hero. —One day, Ella discovered that Josiah, our dear friend’s wife, had received a new car from him for her birthday. It was a surprise. He was standing in the hallway, tied with a large ribbon. And a bouquet of flowers on the seat. Eli was very touched by this. She said maliciously that I couldn’t even afford a bouquet of roses. Then we had a heated argument. Ella is overrated. Too many unnecessary words have been said. I didn’t recognize her in this argument. This was not the Ella I married. Standing in front of me was an upset and bitter woman, who blamed me for not being as resourceful as my colleagues. She started listing the fur coats her friends had and where they were going on vacation this year. Of course, to Mallorca or Cuba. No arguments convinced her. Suddenly it became clear that money had become the most important thing in my wife’s life. Nothing else mattered to her at that moment.
Over the following years, little changed in their marriage. Yes they actually changed the car, bought another one. For Ella’s sake. No, it’s not new. Why are you exaggerating?
“A friend of mine was selling a two-year-old Volkswagen,” Marek says. – He had less than 20 thousand. kilometers miles. Excellent Condition. Ella was happy, but she once said sarcastically that new was new. I ignored that.
She still dreamed of one thing: to be as successful as her friends. To those who have money. Against this background, disputes and disagreements continued between them.
“I still don’t understand why this was so important to her,” Marek says. -We were not poor, and we could barely cover our expenses. We lived normally, and did not have a penny of debt. Or even the opposite: saving on deposits. I explained to Ellie that we don’t have to prove we can buy a new, “fancy” car from the showroom – even if it’s a top-of-the-line model. We will get the loan without any services. but why?
Over time, the tide turned. Some friends went bankrupt, others closed their businesses before the sheriff arrived.
Loan payments increased, competition arose, and no one paid another. As in business.
“I wasn’t happy about it at all,” Marek says. – I’m not the envious type. Many of these people have worked hard for their businesses. But the market is unforgiving. The weakest falls. Sometimes you also need to be lucky at work, and this is not available to everyone.
Gosia – whose husband bought her a car with a ribbon for her birthday – now drives an old Opel. They also sold their impressive house and the sheriff took their cars. They still have debt. Their partner cheated on them. closest friend. He ran away with the money. He’s out there somewhere.
“I feel sorry for Gosia,” Marek says. -I recently borrowed money from Ellie. She promised to return it within a few days. They were short on their gas bill. I feel sorry for them, because when they were left in the lurch, they also lost many friends. Especially those with fat wallets. Gosya is very bitter. She says some people no longer answer her calls. They are afraid he might ask for help. And sometimes you just want to talk and complain.
Ella no longer envied Marisia. This is her friend from high school, and her husband had a chain of clothing stores in several cities in Poland.
There was a time when they didn’t know what to do with money. The work was excellent. Everything sold out after that. They could only afford a weekend in Paris for dinner and sleep in a luxury hotel. They then bought a dilapidated clothing factory near Warsaw and employed one hundred workers. Within one year, the local market was filled with cheap clothes coming from China. They had no chance to compete. They went bankrupt. Maricia’s husband now sells vegetables in the market. They live in a rented apartment, and Marisia has returned to her old job. She is the school librarian again.
Some time ago, Marek noticed that his wife had stopped complaining. He also smiles often. I also stopped criticizing him for any reason a long time ago. Maybe because he decided a month ago that it was time to think about changing the apartment.
– If we sell the old apartment and make some money from the deposit, we will buy a similar apartment, but with a big balcony and on the ground floor, so that we don’t have to climb stairs when we get older – concludes Marek. – We will still have some left. Definitely some good champagne. And not just one.
Echo Richards embodies a personality that is a delightful contradiction: a humble musicaholic who never brags about her expansive knowledge of both classic and contemporary tunes. Infuriatingly modest, one would never know from a mere conversation how deeply entrenched she is in the world of music. This passion seamlessly translates into her problem-solving skills, with Echo often drawing inspiration from melodies and rhythms. A voracious reader, she dives deep into literature, using stories to influence her own hardcore writing. Her spirited advocacy for alcohol isn’t about mere indulgence, but about celebrating life’s poignant moments.