Swiatkiewiez

8e Régiment d'Infanterie, Noyon, France 1981.

Swiatkiewiez was the greatest guy in our platoon. He could be your best friend -that included the rare quality of seemingly limitless generosity- and at night, after downing a couple of drinks together, he would clap you on the back with laughter or tears depending on what dramas had occurred in our life as conscripted soldiers. But, when he got up in the early morning, Swiatkiewiez was capable of punching you in the face for no good reason. His knuckles would then turn as white as his inner ire was black. Not until he had had his first cup of coffee could anyone go near him. But then, after those first sips of his black fuel, he would once again become your best friend for the next 24 hours. In times of war, I wouldn’t have placed my bet on any attacking enemy at dawn, before Swiatkiewiez’s coffee.

Swiatkiewiez était le plus chouette type de la section. Il pouvait être votre meilleur ami -cela comprenait une générosité comme on en rencontre peu- et le soir, boire des coups et se taper dans le dos et rire et pleurer des drames de la vie d’appelé. Mais au réveil, Swiatkiewiez vous aurait mis son poing dans la figure sans raison ou presque. Ses phalanges devenaient aussi blanches que son regard était noir. Et jusqu’à son premier café, personne n’osait l’approcher. Après les premières gorgées de jus noir, il redevenait le meilleur camarade de la terre pour presque vingt-quatre heures. En temps de guerre, je n’aurais pas donné cher de l’ennemi qui nous aurait attaqué à l’aube, avant le café de Swiatkiewiez.

This image is related to : Last Service.


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