The burly comrade came banging at the door. There was something terribly Romanian about his banging on my door: an Englishman would have rung once, perhaps twice and after a few moments, seeing that nobody answered he will have left. I had no need to find out who it was, in order not to open the door: the Comrade was banging solidly at my door… I thought:
– This was his visiting card, the physical muscle of the uneducated, the pressing need of the apparatchik, whose mission was, come what may, to bang at my door, regardless, until somebody would respond. He should be so lucky! But what if the door gave in, under his brute force, which he might have applied at Lubyanka? These modern doors were so flimsy…
I never felt so insecure. Still, I had enough courage to tiptoe upstairs and look down from a rooftop terrace, several floors above the door. It was early afternoon and hardly anybody about, who might put him off his rude behaviour:
– Not a very good PR, Comrade, doubtless this was a textbook behaviour aquired in Moscow, with very little currency in the West!
Eventually he left:
– God bless him! He gave up on me, for the time being!
I waited long enough to make certain he had left. I went straight to the Head Porter and related the story.
– Next time he comes, you should call the police!
– What a good idea! Why haven’t I thought of it?
It took time to absorb the new rights to which I was entitled, as a free citizen. It felt like an animal born in captivity, which lived in a cage, for most of its life and now that the cage door was open it did not understand the benefits of Freedom…