We met S. at my neighbor L's house. A tranquil, portly man in his late 30's with a neat beard and a penchant for guzzling vodka, S. works as an architect. He nestled on the leather couch cradling his drink and said very little for most of the evening. After the first few minutes of animated chatter (I haven't seen L. in months), she introduced S. "This is S. by the way. His house burned down two days ago!" M. interrupted her, grabbing my arm. "Burned down, you say? He lost everything! Every last item he owns! You won't believe it, man. He sunk 20,000$ into that house in renovations. He had just moved in four days before the electrical wiring caught on fire." M.'s laughter rumbled; S. nodded. A jovial grin spread across his plump cheeks. Then, as if it had just occurred to him, he added, "You know it's funny that 25 years of civil war couldn't do to my house what the fire did in 3 hours." Laughter all around.
My friend D. asked if S. was sad about the loss of his house. He thought about it for a while. "You know, once I had a friend who died. And I only started to miss him a year later. Perhaps it will be the same with my house."