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those days. Building sites were like hiding places. So if

they’d wanted to get rid of all those of one kind or another,

there wouldn’t have been anyone left to do the job. Not to

mention the fact that there’d have been no tradesmen

whatsoever. And he was one of the best welders. Maybe

even the best of all. All the other welders would go to him

for advice. Plus, he was hard-working. If there was some

urgent job that needed doing he wouldn’t leave the site till

it was done, even if he had to work through the night. He

didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t go to dances. He kept

away from girls. In his spare time he read. In that respect he

was an exception, because everyone else drank in their

spare time. Even before he went to sleep, however

exhausted he was, he’d always say he had to take up his

book and read at least a couple of pages. One time when I’d

climbed the scaffolding to where he was, he said to me that

books are the only way for a human not to forget that he’s a

human. Him, in any case, he couldn’t live without books.

Books are a world too, a world that you choose for yourself,

not the one you’ve come into.

He kept trying to persuade me, till in the end I started

reading too. I thought to myself, it’s no skin off my nose, I’ll

give it a try, especially because I liked him. He’d asked me

one time if I wouldn’t like to read a book. I was reluctant,

said I had to do this and that, I didn’t have time. In the end,

just to please him I told him to bring me something. He

had a few books, he kept them in another suitcase, that one

he didn’t keep locked so no one looked in it. And that was