While waiting to see my doctor I stood in the small courtyard outside the building to avoid catching the plague. A thin man who turned out to be 50 years old as of today emerged from the building and fiddled with the lock to his bicycle attached to the metal railing of the short staircase fronting the infirmary.
“Is your bike made in China?” I asked.
“Probably,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. The bicycle isn’t sick .”
Then he told me the story of his life. He was an Israeli who spent most of his adulthood in foreign countries, including Japan, Mexico, Iceland, Finland, Turkey. He could speak all the languages involved. He married a Christian woman in Iceland and had a boy with her. Then he married a Finnish woman who converted to Judaism. Afterward he married a Turkish woman and lived with her for many years in Istanbul. In Mexico and Japan he just did business but did not marry anyone there, though Japan was his favorite country by far. Now he was back in Israel and had an Israeli girlfriend.
“Marriage is not for me,” he said, and showed me photographs on his cell phone of all the women in his life, as well photos of his Icelandic son now 28, and a photo of a Japanese newspaper article about his saving a dog from drowning in a lake.
He was still showing me more photos when the doctor emerged from his office and pulled me into his room. He knows that I always cling to strangers.