But then, the situation changed. I looked at him, and said, “Mr Thompson, you are such a pain in the neck sometimes!” I winked to show him I was kidding, but I wasn’t, not really. He smiled.
“That is what my wife used to say.” That was the first day he offered me a cup of tea.

After that, we became friends. I would visit him twice a month, accepting tea and biscuits, having a chat. He told me about his war, the boring waiting in the officers’ mess and the exciting but dangerous action.

“It sounds a bit like a job of an anaesthetist,” I said. “Too little excitement most of the time, too much excitement occasionally.” I worked in anaesthetics for a while, I hated it.

One day, I was wearing a long skirt and I tripped over his oxygen tubes. It was as if he was on a long see through leash, the long plastic tubes trailing from the oxygen cylinders in the kitchen all over the apartment. He shuffled around with oxygen plugged in his nostrils. “I often wondered if women wore long skirts because they have horrible legs,” he said.

Well, that was a challenge. When I spoke to my husband Honza, who was in London at that time, he did not see the joke. “That is horrible and rude, he shouldn’t talk to you like that!” Honza seemed morally offended. Coming from him – a married man with a mistress — it was a case of double standards at least. He was not only judging Mr Thompson, he did not like men flirting with me. He got jealous. I thought the new Mr Thompson was fun.

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