After decades in a concentration camp, this man finds love in kindness. After being released from the clutches of the gulag, he rents a room in the flat where she lives with her son. Over time, he sees her kindness, and in it, beauty, and finds a period of love, tenderness and mutual succour. She too is able to tell him her story.
And the man is also kind. He makes little animals for the boy and to the boy’s amazement, lets him keep them and take them to school.
He saw something he had never before seen in the eyes of anyone. She was beautiful because she was kind. He took her hand … She was kindness, all kindness, and he understood with the whole of his corporal being that her tenderness, her warmth, her whispers were beautiful because her heart was full of kindness towards him, because love is kindness.
A first night of love.
‘Because love is kindness’, the man discovers something that was already told to us by a 12th century troubadour.
Source: Vasily Grossman, Everything Flows, trans. Robert and Elizabeth Chandler with Anna Aslanyan (London: Vintage Books, 2011), pp. 123-24
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