I had awakened among the corpses. Dead men everywhere. It stinks, unbearable stench. I had thrown up bile. Clotted blood and buzzing insects on everything and everyone. That had been a battlefield, sure. But I didn't know it. I didn't know anymore. Because I didn't remember who I was, where I was, what had happened ...
I don't even know now, but in these long years I have looked at life from the lowest and dirtiest corners where I stop, and I have learned something. Again. I made connections. But to say who I am… no, I can't. Because I do not know.
In certain places, at certain street corners, they allow you to ask for alms. In others they just hunt you. Being curled up in the rotten, dirty and smelly as I am, people hardly see me: sometimes a gentleman throws me a coin, some good woman a piece of hard bread. More often I get kicks, wherever it happens. I learned to sleep with only one eye, and even though I walk and run like a wasted frog, I'm quick to disappear.
I have not wondered for a long time now if I had a family, if I was rich, a soldier, an officer. The wounds on my body tell me that I have fought many battles. And I survived. Perhaps it would have been better to die.
The years almost always turn with the same trend: rainy springs, hot summers full of fruit, if there is no famine ... (I heard it from a high prelate, charistia), and then the windy autumns and mushrooms ... But winters with snow, ice, that wind that whips like a leather whip, just make me hope to fall asleep and never wake up.
In my wanderings I ended up at the gates of Ambianum. It was one of those periods of intense cold, I already had the tips of my toes blue and I didn't feel the earth as I walked. I just wanted to sleep and feel less cold. For this I crouched on the walls, protected in a corner under a turret.
I must have dozed off, because all of a sudden I heard slow, rhythmic footsteps and my heart thumped: the patrol was about to pass and the soldier on guard, the circitor, would have beaten me, at best, knocked me down. walls or put to the sword for the worst. I closed my eyes: I didn't want to see. It would have been what it had to be. I had already lived too long. And that wasn't living.
The circitor stopped right in front of me. I was shaking. Not just for the cold. I was a pile of rags covered in snow and ice. He touched me. I felt the warmth of his hand on me. He didn't say anything. A rustle and I opened my eyes: the young soldier had taken off his beautiful military cloak, the one that is soft on one side and warm fur on the other, and was holding it with one hand. In the other he had the sword.
"Here, he kills me and does not want to soil his beautiful cloak"
With the sword he separated the two parts, put the cloth back on and wrapped me in fur.
It was then that I looked into his eyes: like a hug, he made me remember something I no longer knew ... That I too had been loved once, that I was a man in spite of everything. His fur coat didn't just warm me: it made me rediscover my dignity as a human being.
From this moment I could, and had to, start living again.