I took a liking to him from the very first moment. His grey eyes were sad with bags under them, but in a second they would twinkle with merriment and a smile would appear on his lips. He was not a bitter old man who awaited death but a person bubbling with life for whom this stay at hospital was just a short break before he continued his escapades. We closed the door of our room and lay on our beds, shut off from the heat outside and the patients' shuffling and the nurses' scampering in the corridor.
I understood that he was eager to talk with me. He told me he lived in a little town where he had a two room flat. Unfortunately, his wife had died some years before and since he loved women more than anything, he dedicated most of his leisure time to hunting for lovers. It was an easy "chase" because there were hundreds of women his age who were alone and yearned for a man. His method was always the same. Before every visit he would buy a package of coffee and some cakes, and when she, his victim, opened the door and as he stepped across the threshold, he knew the chase was finished. What followed next was just the implementation of his effective and sophisticated technique. Many of the women sat alone in their flats and they were eager to share their meals with someone, so he was always welcome no matter the weather or time. He already knew where he could find the best pies or soups, and the woman who knows how to cook fish and where to find the best cakes and bread. His eyes gleamed when he described all the delicious food he ate in the last years, and I felt the enzymes starting to work in my stomach.
When I told him I was alone, he almost jumped from his bed. Slapping the palms of his hands on his knees, he said, "You must come with me and visit my hometown! Within minutes I will find a woman for you! You cannot just sit in this cold city wasting your life! When you come to my little town, you will see that people are more friendly than they are here."
He wanted to know how it felt to be in the war and see people around you dying every day. I took off my clothes and showed him the scars from the shrapnel wound. Then I stretched out my leg so that he could see another scar which stretched almost the length of my whole thigh. He got up and walked to my bed, not for a moment shifting his eyes from the scars.