Sunday, September 2, 2012


I know A. since she was 11 and I was 12. Being very bright she had been schooled a year early, so we ended up in the same secondary school class, both having chosen Latin and Greek. She remembers whom and how I was in the difficult years of puberty and the fear of a stepfather. I remember her 'normal', yet strict family. We followed each other's lives and marital turbulences. We knew about each other's jobs, crushed longings, unfulfilled expectations and moments of joy and happiness. We are friends, even if I fall often short on being there for A. when she needs it. She knows that I know and thus we get together every so often to exchange, to tell about the latest episode of our lives's road. She is ebullient and talkative, I am a good listener. While listening I recognize old patterns, habits, griefs, resulting for me in a sense of peace stemming from familiarity. The normality of our encounters is also the glue that keeps us in each other's life. She is adventurous and does volunteer work in the field of alternative cultural events. She is brave, yet needs a structure which grants her her freedom without making her feel lonely or isolated. 

I once wrote a poem for her:
Ach A,

Ik wilde komen
maar voor ik zo vertrekken
moet naar nieuwe straten
ander licht en vreemde bedden
koester ik mij in stilte
het alleen zijn thuis
en vergeet dan
dat om 11 uur
zondag de wereld
nog bestaat

Ik wilde komen
maar nu bij koffie
wachtend op de pendelbus
is het te laat.
Oh A,

I wanted to come
but just before I have to leave
for new streets
different light and strange beds
I cherish my silence
being home alone
and forget
that at 11 o'clock
on Sunday the world
still exists

I wanted to come
but now with coffee
waiting for shuttle bus
it is too late

(on the road to Strasburg, France)

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