I cannot forget the first man I killed. That instant is trapped in my memory, as if in jagged-edged crystal.
I was eighteen and manning a machine gun. He emerged from the morning mist, searching the ground for something.
I killed countless soldiers later, but I only remember him. He was British, so I named him Oliver Twist.
I kept wondering what he was looking for.
After the war, I went to London. I stopped a woman and said, in halting English, “I am sorry for Oliver Twist.”
She stared at me, but I felt absolved.