Henryk Ochorowicz Steps Across the Threshold
Illustration by Katarzyna Szybka
Art + Stories, Fiction

Henryk Ochorowicz Steps Across the Threshold

Tomasz Wiśniewski
time 10 minutes

Is time stronger than love? Some say it is not. But is love stronger than time? An answer to this less-frequently-asked latter question is offered by the story of Henryk Ochorowicz and Queen Marysieńka.

Henryk Ochorowicz’s origins alone appeared enough to foretoken his bland existence. His father was a pedantic jeweller, fairly wealthy yet unbearably lacklustre, and his mother was the long-suffering wife of a pedantic and lacklustre jeweller. Henryk remembered very little from his formative years save for solitude and silence; the period of World War I was neither easy nor silent, but it went by eventually. Anything Henryk saw, heard or felt seemed to have gone by anyway (and nothing interesting ever came of that seeing, hearing and feeling, either). He finished university with poor results. He did not attract the interest of women, nor did he take any interest in anything. Finally, after the death of his parents, which did not affect him to any particular degree, he quickly sold the business he had inherited and continued his life, loitering here and there, dressed in a well-worn coat and a wrinkled hat, his only companion in life being a ginger cat. Everything indicated that he would never appear in anyone’s recollections.

In 1935, in a small bookstore in Warsaw, this man’s life


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