The Canadian years, 48 the ouch foot

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Wednesday 31 December 22:19


Safeways of the blue nuns

I limped with my crutches, into Safeways and Richard walked behind me with some of my books under his arm. Ron was explaining to a new fellow how shelves had to be filled, which according to him required a special skill. I nodded at him and waited until he had finished. ‘Gosh,’ he said, ‘what happened to you? ‘With hockey, I received a blow over my ankle.’’Yes,’ he said? ‘Well, I thought maybe you should know then you can take that  into account with the timetable.’ ‘Oh that's settled quickly’ he said. ’I'll take you out of the grid. Now and forever.’’Hey,’ I said, ‘but I like it here, it's nice working here’.’Yes, you and a lot more like it here,’ Ron laughed, or you come to work or  you’ll go off the grid’. ‘If you have some other work for me,’ I tried. ‘No, he said firmly, not here, in everything we do, you must walk or stack shelves, we have no sedentary work here.’ ‘Too bad, but it is no different’ and he spread his arms at his hips a little.’ Is that allowed’, I asked. ‘Yes’, Ron laughed, ‘everything is possible here as long as we stick to the law.’ ‘You get paid by the hour and you can leave by the hour, of your own volition or fired.

If you only had injured yourself here you could have stayed, but now you have done it in your own time and you can not show up at work. You’ll get paid for 1 hour and that's it boy. I’ll punch you in and after one hour I’ll punch you out, and next week you can pick that up. ‘You know what Ron’, I asked?’ ‘What,’ said Ron? ‘That two dollars and fifty cents, you know what you can do with it.’ ‘Well,’ he said? ‘You can keep it and donate it to the order of the blue nuns who founded this rotten business.’ He blushed. ‘Yes,’ Richard interfered, ‘then they can distribute it among the  poor and hungry in Mozambique, in equal parts.’

‘If Christ was standing here now, he’d kick your displays over, I'm sure’, continued Richard. ‘You can go now, both of you,’ said Ron, who had become awfully red. ‘I have been insulted enough’. ‘Bye Ron, thank you for all you've taught me’ I said. ‘Until never,’ said Ron  and turned around. ‘What has he taught you,’ Richard asked?’ ’Nothing’, I said,’ that you can not learn within 5 minutes.’


A cashier on the way to her break came walking past.’ Oh’, she said, ‘what happened to you?’ ‘Problems with my ankle and fired because of it, with the blessings of the blue nuns.’ ‘Oh,’ she said, a little held back because she did not know if, when they saw us talking, if it would harm her. ‘Are you  paid hourly’, Richard asked interested? ‘Because if so then you can be fired per hour, have nice day.’ I nodded at her and added that it was really true and I stumbled to the triple mode limp between my crutches, to the exit. Ron barred my way. ‘What is the matter now’, I asked?’ I have 2.50 for you,’ he said. ‘Gosh, have you already have spoken to the Pope,’ I asked.? ’You know what you can do with that 2.50.’ ‘Do not be a fool, 'said Ron,’ take it and go .. and he held out his hand, ‘no hard feelings.’ I shook his hand. ’My job is not super fun either.’ He turned around and the doors opened and closed again thanks to the electric eye. ‘Ron,’ I called after him, he turned for a moment, ‘thank you,’ I cried and I thought we are all prisoners of our own device.

‘That’, I said to Richard,’ is for tomorrow for Happy valley. At the garden path my book bearer stopped, wait here tomorrow, he said, a little after ten, then we’ll drive  along here to pick you up, I know your father does not like it when I come in.’ ‘I looked apologetic,’ but he continued,’ I don’t have that problem anymore, since my mother divorced my father, we have a nice life now.’ I nodded, ‘Do  you miss your dad?’’ Man! No’ Richard said. ‘he is in the army and was always drunk and aggressive. Now my mother always works night shifts and sleeps during the day.’ I said, ‘yes I suppose that is  how life goes sometimes’ and I stepped through the gate. ‘Until tomorrow’ he said, ‘bring a clean handkerchief, hey.’

My sister looked shocked when I limped in, ‘what happened to you’ she asked worried? ‘ A sports problem’, I said, ‘it looks worse than it is’ ‘Come tell me about it and I’ll make some tea. The little ones are already at home and playing’. I stumbled to my mother in the living room and kissed her on the cheek. She smelled badly out her mouth and I gathered it was her breath. That immediately set an alarm bell off. ‘ So mom how are you.’  ‘I can ask you that,’ she said. She was exceptionally bright and looked intently at my ankle.’ Does your leg hurt as well,‘ she asked? ‘No’ I said,’ it was my ankle and it's getting better’. But the words as well immediately caught my attention.  ‘I am in so much pain,’she said. ‘Can I do anything for you’, I asked, becoming very worried? ‘No’, she said, ‘no one can.’ Where do you hurt Mom, I asked, airing up her pillow? ‘Everywhere,’ she said, ‘but my leg is the worst.’

She put her head back down, ‘that feels nice,’ she said,’ thank you’. ‘Can I have my usual bottle please.’ I knew what she meant, she wanted her Boldoot bottle of perfume. She let some drops fall on a handkerchief and I dabbed her forehead and neck, with all the love that I felt my heart. Her lymph nodes had been removed and she struggled to get her arms up. ‘Your father will come home soon and then I want to smell nice, you understand that, don’t you?’ I understood it. With history I had seen pictures of the doctors at the time of the plague epidemic they had a kind of bird beak tube with herbs hanging in front of their faces against the smell of putrefaction and decomposition in the living people. It was a dismal association but I knew the time of day. ‘Now I'm going to rest’, she said. She wanted to be lively when my father came in.


‘Tea’, my sister called and a moment later I was with her at the table.  I sank a few spoonfuls of sugar in my tea and took a sip. ‘Oops,’ I said, ‘I’ve got a cavity in a tooth that can’t miss. I drank my tea now over the other side and the vicious pain disappeared. ‘That will be the dentist for you,’ laughed my sister .’ You know,’ I said, ‘Mom is in pain.’ ‘I know,’ replied my sister ‘and I want to say something about it.’ I looked at her anxiously. ‘ She is not very well a blind man can see that,’ my sister continued who always had those kind of remarks. ‘We had a tete-a-tete. I work night shifts now so during the day we talk occasionally.’ ‘She has besworn me to leave the house when she dies.’ Why, I asked? ‘I have a right to life, and she does not think I should be in this house alone with dad.’ I, who knew so much about romance and poets and courtly love, had I missed things? ‘He is awkward to me,’ she said, ‘ in an unpleasant way. Do you understand ?’ I thought I understood it, but I did not dare ask the confirmation. ‘He's too close to me, unhealthy close’, continued my sister. ‘Hanging over me to get something, and touches occur that happen accidentally, all very unpleasant.’ I understood.

It was not just a power struggle between two women in the house, but there was more, and my mother who had always been afraid of losing my father to some lush, had developed a radar for it. I had to process this. ‘So I do not flee away and leave you behind,’ said my sister’ and I will always help you, but there comes a time when I go’. ‘How’, I asked bewildered? ‘I am going to find me a nice man and be happy’. ‘Right,’ I said. That could not be difficult, she was a dazzling beauty .This was a different story, she had been very pragmatic her whole life, but this went far. Somewhere out there, yet, far out of sight, someone was walking about, yet totally unaware of what was about to happen to him. My sister would find him and marry him. Unbelievable, I had a lot to think about it. ‘Do the others know,I asked?’’ No’, she shook her head. ‘But I want you to understand me.’’ I understand you,’ I said simply.

The little ones came running up to me, ‘boy, boy’, called the oldest one out, ’ how nice that you are in pain.’ I must have looked quite surprised. She pointed at my foot.’ We are going to make you better.’ I am the doctor, and that is the nurse. They watched too much TV, I realized.' Oh', I played right along, 'I have a ouchy foot, ouch,’ I said, ’oh  if there was only a doctor about.’  ‘Silly boy, stupid boy, I am the doctor’ and they poured me  crockery tea cups of  water and called it medicine and put syringes in my arm. I had to sit on the floor next to the TV and then I had to lie down again and then there was the sister that  pulled me up by my ears. Lovely innocent children.

The fastback turned into the parking lot. The kitchen door was pushed open with undue force. Lady, our spaniel sprinted away under the table, whining and sat there with her tail between her legs, safely hidden. Our game just stopped. Father was home. My father walked to the reclining chair of my mother and kissed her on the forehead. ‘Bah’, he said, ‘you smell foul.’ I felt an anger building up in me that could have made me split the table in two with my bare hands, but I told my sisters, ‘ouchy foot’ and gave them a pathetic look.

San Daniel 2014

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Wishing you a very good 2015 xxx
same to you dear friend.. enjoy it..