The Canadian years, 61 the head start

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Tuesday 27 January 20:57

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The head start

When I came home a little earlier than usual, the children were sitting in front of the TV and sang happily along with 'Wynn's path.’ Sheer endless counting was going on, interrupted by retarded muppets that were whining about colors.’ Nice eh’, said my youngest sister? ‘Letty,’ I replied, ‘that's just wonderful.’ I looked in reality with horror at the program which was quite a whirlpool of colors. All kinds of dolls sang songs and counted over and over again. One or another muppet took over in the charade that now filled the screen and began to shout colors and while doing so, the color always appeared behind him. Just when you really could not take in, anything more, another muppet popped up where the puppeteer had pulled the other plush animal out of sight and that muppet invited everyone to count again. My mother sat in her chair with square eyes and with a puzzled expression on her face. I leaned forward and pressed a kiss on her forehead. I stroked her hair like you would do with a child. Her hair that had been so lovely, had gone pale and short, the radiation was responsible for that.

‘So mom how are you,’ I asked softly? ‘Nice program,’ she said. ‘I mean how are you today,’ I repeated? ‘Hey nice for the little ones,’ she answered now. She had trouble talking and her breath made a rattling sound when exhaling. I could smell the booze on her breath and looked at the table next to her, but only two pills were waiting there for her. I felt suddenly so tired, this is how my mother’s life would end, sitting in a chair gasping at every word and with her eyes following the Idiotic sung numerals of plush animals, which appeared next to a singing nonsense beast. It was unfair. She was not even able to think quietly over her Franeker, her place of birth. The creators of the program showed a couple of toddlers who now whined the numbers along.

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My mother occasionally counted a bit or subconsciously whispered a color. ‘Where is Betsy,’ I asked, assuming that she was somewhere at work and had not heard me come in, of course, with so much counting and slurring beasts shouting out colors, that was not surprising.Tonka, pointed with a thumb over her shoulder towards the bedrooms and hallway, or the bathroom, her eyes remained glued to the purple and bright green plush beasts. I wanted to ask Betsy where my sister and uncle and aunt were and walked towards the hallway. The door was open to the bedroom of my mother and I assumed that she was there, cleaning or whatever. I froze, I thought for a minute that my mother had beaten me to the bedroom. There was Betsy with her back to me, and she had put on my mother's fur coat. On the table next to the wall, my mother's jewelry box lay open, and she held a long necklace next to her cheek, as she looked admiringly in the mirror.

Holy cow, was she crazy? The door of the wardrobe was wide open and the storage bag from the fur coat was unzipped and hung still half from a pendant. ‘What do you think you're doing,’ I asked? And I heard that without wanting to, how cold my voice sounded. She looked at me shocked in the mirror. I saw a frightened young girl who was caught out. The time for charades was over. ‘You are taking a head start,’ I said.’ I do not understand,’ she said. ‘I understand that,’ I answered, ‘take that coat off immediately,’ I heard a voice, mine. almost hysterical, giving strict orders, ‘and never touch my mother's stuff again.’ I almost added, ‘while she's alive.’ ‘So help me God,’ I continued and wrung my hands ...  and tried to contain myself. ‘Do not come closer,’ she said, ‘it's not what you think.’ ‘I do not know what it is then,’ I replied in measured out words. ‘I’ll go to the kitchen and I’ll see you there. This is not happening, this is not possible and don’t you ever dare to be my mother again. I have not seen it, this has not happened, I do not want you here and with those words, I walked away.

Once in the kitchen, I regained my balance, but the image of Betsy in my moeder's coat was riveted in my mind. Betsy was ice cold, she stepped into the kitchen and said, ‘let me fix you some tea, have you had a nice day at school?’ ‘Betsy,’ I started, ‘what you've just done ..’ but she interrupted me. ‘Nothing happened and you just came now, through that door’ and she pointed to the door.’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘through that door,’ and I felt a calmness settle over me.

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‘Where is my sister with the rest?’ Vaguely nasal, the TV puppets were counting and it reached into the kitchen. ‘She is showing uncle and auntie her work.’ Those are not, your uncle and auntie, Betsy, those are my uncle and aunt’.’ Whatever,’ she said, filling the boiler with water. ‘I do not want tea,’ I continued. ‘Whose idea was it,’ I wanted to know,  ‘the whiskey?’ She looked questioningly as she put the kettle back on the table ..’ Big Dan's,’ she replied, ‘who knows a lot about pain relief.’ ‘One two three four five six seven,’ the tv screen sounded, ‘all good children go to heaven ..’ You have to let things go’ Betsy said, ‘sometimes you can not follow the normal course of action, then you must resign yourself to the course of events. If you swim against the tide, you’ll drown.’ The entry of my uncle and aunt and sister stopped this peculiar revelation of Betsy.

The grass is green, green grass shouted some moronic muppet out of the TV cabinet. ‘Ha,’ I said, ‘good to see you again, do you want some tea?’ ‘Yes very much so,’ said my uncle but only if there is cake to go with it, because otherwise count me out.’ ‘Old glutton,’ laughed my aunt and then moments later we were sitting at the table, with tea and cake, I heard my mother's raspy and gasping voice say, the sky is blue, beep beep gasp, the blue sky ...

San Daniel 2015

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Awesome story!
Thank you amigo