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his soup, as if he couldn’t tear his eyes away from her as she

stood over him, or maybe he’d lost his appetite. She

couldn’t take her eyes off him either. Even though she’d put

his soup down in front of him and she should have gone

away, the way she’d go away from each of us after she put

our soup down. She only snapped out of it when the cook

leaned through the kitchen hatch and shouted:

“Basia, don’t just stand there! These bowls need taking!”

She said to him:

“I hope you like it.”

She’d never said that to any of us.

He said:

“Thank you. I’m sure I will.”

And he watched her walk away, right till she reached the

hatch. He ate his soup, but it was like he wasn’t eating. It



, barley soup, I remember. Do you like krupnik?

Me, I can’t stand it. Ever since I was a kid I’ve hated it.

Eating a bowl of krupnik was torture for me. Then she

brought him the main course, and he didn’t so much as

glance at the plate. He took her braid in his hand, but not

the way the others would grab hold of it. Rather, he lifted it