“I got my Metal of Honor.” He smiled, sliding the beer over. And before I could correct him he knocked on his head. “I have also the other one, there.” I opened the drawer. “Gulf. Iraq. Afghanistan. Went there to protect ours, not to kill theirs.”

“And this one?” I pointed in awe to a fourth medal cased between the bottles.

“My wife’s. We married in Afghanistan. Died. I couldn’t protect her.”

“Married again?” I asked, eyeing his ring.

“Married still.”

My beer got a sudden tang of salt to it. He kept mopping the bar long after I left.

Yossi Faybish was born in Romania, where he spent his childhood absorbing a rich cultural heritage seeping through the imperfect seals of an oppressive system. He finished his higher studies in Israel, and then wandered away with his job and his family, finally ending in Belgium. He works in and is passionate about the high-tech industry, though writing is a serious runner-up; or maybe it’s the other way around. Yossi writes prose and poetry in a variety of styles and languages, mainly English and Romanian. “I want people to know not the what but the way I think,” he says.