Fiction | June 01, 1989

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The soldier stopped by the gate to the house and stood for a moment. A rank smell of garbage, urine, and boiled cabbage seeped out from the tenement house in Angyalfold and, like a familiar motherly voice in his consciousness, insinuated itself into the soldier’s nose and lungs. He swallowed hard and blanched with joy. It was exactly the same odor he had left behind six years ago when he went out through the gate to join his regiment. Neither in the Ukraine, nor late as a prisoner-of-war did he encounter it. The closest to it were smells in the homes of more or less distant relatives, but they barely stirred his memory; none spoke to him in his mother tongue. But this…this smell was the smell of home; this smell was his country.

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