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me. I’d go up there if I didn’t have anything urgent on. He

liked me, I couldn’t say why. I was just a kid compared to

him. He said it was a good excuse for a break when I went

to see him. No, it wasn’t like we talked about anything

special. He’d ask me if I’d finished the book he picked out

for me last time at the library, if I’d liked it, what I thought

about it. It wasn’t that he was checking whether I’d read it,

rather if I’d got it. He guided me in how to understand it.

He’d relate it to different things, life, the world, people in

general. And always in the course of things he’d say

something that made me think for a long time afterwards.

We didn’t only talk about books. He’d say that it was only

here, up at a height, that we can feel human. That was a

truth I only grasped much, much later. Especially because

down below people mostly didn’t talk, there the work

hurried you all day long, or you were driven crazy because

they hadn’t delivered some materials or other and the work

was at a standstill. Unless it was over vodka, but then you

had to watch who you drank with, because they’d

sometimes snitch on you. Actually, they also snitched on

you when you didn’t talk. Even if all you did was let out a

sigh. He said that on all the building sites he’d been on, he

always worked as high up as he could get. And since he’d

worked on so many sites, the high places were sort of his

territory, so it was no surprise that it was up there he most

liked talking. Down below, when he came down after work,

he read, fed the dogs and the cats, and he didn’t keep

company with anyone. Despite the fact that, like I said,