The Canadian years, 49, news

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Thursday 01 January 21:24


The help

At the table my father’s mood  improved and he ate, as always, with pleasure. Not that he would admit that my sister had cooked well, lest that, but you could tell by his appetite. My dad really ate a lot. When we went to a Chinese restaurant, he invariably took two meals and worked them away with ease. He was brought up in Java and there a fat man was a sign of prosperity, like you always see these happy fat Buddahs. It does not sound nice but I began to find him disgusting. ‘So,’ he said, when his plate was already empty again and we were still eating, ‘I’ve got news that may change our lives  bit.’ More prophetic words in our house were never spoken. Someone is coming to stay in our house’, my father said. ‘A young girl, she begins Monday’. ‘She is called Betsy. She is not married and has one child, a girl of a few months old.’ ‘Well what do you say to that?’ It was news nothing else. We looked at each other. ‘I hope she will feel welcome here and I assume that all of you will do your best to make her feel welcome’. We nodded because we were not a horrible lot. ‘Oh’, said Tonka, the older of the two little ones, ‘how nice a young sister.’ A shiver passed through me.

‘God has sent us her,’ my father carried on. The pastor, Pastor Ohler, knew her family and she has no shelter because her family has disowned her.’ We just listened there was not much to say on our part. ‘If she works satisfactory, she'll take over the roll your mother and your sister. An alarm bell went off in my head, I got an unsettled feeling. Too much weight, to may explanations , God, the pastor, her family, a little child, I had the idea that the whole family was pushed to one side in a way that we might not like. I could not put my finger on it. In the Shakespeare block mister Boston would have said, ’the actor is hamming it up,’ which meant there was too much emphasis and with an abundance of unnecessary redundant arguments in staging a scene. I understood that help was needed, but I found it, without having to have a reason, strange that someone would invade our family. Then the coin dropped, my father could have applied for a nursing assistant, professional help but he had chosen a vulnerable person who would be dependent on him, the patron, partly because of her baby. I knew it with certainty. Therefore God and the pastor and the whole lot were staged. To sell it to the family. He ‘knew’ her and let her now enter the family.


My father was so intelligent, he chose his arguments with care and never could you get a word in edgewise, because it became the truth the moment he uttered it. I had the feeling that we were being heavily manipulated, but what could have been a counter argument. God had not send her? The pastor has not said that she was abandoned and why doesn’t she  sleep with her baby on the street?

‘There's more’, my father said. ‘There is no end to it, today’, I thought. ‘Your uncle and aunt from Haarlem  are coming to stay with us for a month. I have invited them and paid for tickets’ ‘Oh, what a nice news,’ I thought, and the rest at the table responded equally surprised with joy. It was like emptying a dump bucket’, I thought,’ too much goodness’. I suspected an underlying reason. My mom’s health was deteriorating and this would be a farewell. I knew almost with certainty that this was the main reason. My aunt was my mother’s sister and Frisian like her. My father had never been accepted in the Frisian family. So this was a too generous gesture, I could not place it. ‘They are arriving Tuesday.’ ‘It was impossible to keep up with it all, and I thought if my uncle and aunt left us again after that month, Betsy would have already secured her place with us. My father had again a total plan that was unquestionable.

‘Are you not happy with that’, my father asked me with a nasty undertone in his voice.’ I love to see my aunt,’ I said sincerely. .. ‘And’ my father said? The time came to a grinding halt and froze. The rest at the table laughed on and made plans, they wanted to show anything and everything to my uncle and aunt and talked excitedly. I understood him, as he understood me. He has been one of the most intelligent people in my life that I have ever met. He knew that I could read him and he did not like that, it had not been a question whether I was happy or not, but rather a warning. Do not come into my waters, had been the unspoken underlying warning.

‘And,’ my father said again, ‘there were two notices’.’I'm curious,’ I said, and that was the truth,’ for the times to come.’ ‘I hope for you’, my father said, ‘that it is a genuine curiosity. It would be wise for you’. Now I knew for sure. Mister Boston would have said 'something is rotten in the state of Denmark’, My father turned away from me, he had spoken and the time set again in motion, the thaw set in and the gears of the time went quickly synchronous and soon took over and joined the others, who were cheerfully talking about the forthcoming visit. We were again part of the family, as if our discourse had not taken place. But I knew it, I had an enemy who had shown me the boundaries of his territory.


‘Can I talk to you after the meal,’ asked my brother? ‘Yes, of course’, I said, I wondered what it would be about. I sat with my head still full with my father and his machinations. After the meal I cleared the table with my sister and we went to the kitchen to do the washing up. My brother came standing next to us for a moment. ‘There are dish towels in the house’, you know, said my sister, when my brother was just standing about. She was caring but firm. ‘Yes, I know,’ my brother said, ‘while he also started drying. ‘I've done something for you without consulting you. ‘I looked at him questioningly. ‘I have made a deposit made for the Pontiac, someone was interested in and I beat him to a down payment.’ If you do not like it, then I’ll sell it on. ‘Gosh,’ I said, ‘that is kind of you.’ ‘Hey, hey,’ he said, ‘I'm your big brother, huh.’ I said, ‘yes, and I'm glad for that.’ ‘Oops,’ I said, ‘something bad happened, I had completely forgotten by all the news at the table. I lost my job at Safe ways’.’ Can you pay for the car,’ asked my brother? ‘Yes’, I replied,’ yes, but perhaps there is still something to be repaired and I need to pay tax and insurance.’ ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘if you are short then I'll chip in and then you can pay it back in parts when you can.’

‘Shall we go get it Monday after school? ‘Man,‘ I said ’of course! I’ll have wheels’. Then you can go up for your driver's license this week,’ said my brother,’ I'll help you with it.’

San Daniel 2015

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