The Canadian years, 73, revelations

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Monday 16 February 08:16

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Revelations

My mother was suffering, it could no longer be denied. She had a hard time. She breathed with difficulty and sometimes I thought to hear an additional sound when exhaling. Not only could you hear a rattle but it was a wet raspy sound. Slowly but surely all the good in my life was disappearing. I was therefore not surprised that I did not find her at home one day. ‘Betsy,’ I asked, ‘where's Mom?’ ‘Big Dan has taken her an hour ago to the hospital.’ It did not surprise me. ‘Yes,’ Betsy said ‘and that while big Dan actually had a meeting with colleagues.’ I did not contest  because it sounded as if it was my mother was nothing but an annoying sit about. ‘Holy cow,’ I said, ‘what will happen to her?’ ‘Sooner or later,’ she asked, as she gave her little baby a bottle at the kitchen table. Without waiting for my answer which would not come because I knew the answer, she continued.’ Your mother is going to die.’ and I knew what I had pushed away for so slong was now approaching. As if she had wanted to explain to me that the milkman would be a bit later from now on, as impersonal as that, she informed me that my mother, like my sister, would disappear from my life. I looked at her and I realized that she saw my mom actually as an annoying obstacle in her life.

‘She is suffering a lot now,’ she continued and when she is dead, then I’ll make this into a nice home here.’ I could not believe my ears, how could she think she could share her inner thoughts so blatantly as a empassante notice.’ I like being with Mom here, in the living room,’ I said, because I did not really want to go into what she thought and wished. ‘I was not ready to take leave of my mother. I would never be, I understood that was not fair and I realized it was selfish. What did Betsy know about my mom?’ No, she did not know the woman who had stood as a rock in the surf and had taken all the pain of the family away before the waves reached the beach.

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‘It will be difficult for you Betsy,’ I said, as rationally as possible, composing myself and I understood that I was more like my father than I wanted to be. ‘Why difficult,’ she asked? ‘You take care of Mom,’ I said, ‘and your future is linked to hers, where do you go when mom passes away?’ ‘Nowhere,’ Betsy laughed,’you do not really think I'd let you down,’ ‘Mom, has asked me to stay with you always’. This was too much of a good thing, I saw the programming of my father's plan unfold slowly. ‘She did what,’ I asked surprised? ‘Asked me if I wanted to stay here until the children are grown up’.’ I can not imagine that,’ I replied, ‘it is too absurd for words.’ I was beginning to get hurt, seriously wounded. My sister was now in Florida and would stay away a month before traveling to BC, with a bit of luck, so I looked at it, my brother would get the job in Edmonton and I would have to make do with Betsy and my father.

‘You did not really think I'd go away and leave Big Dan alone?’ ‘We are all part of this’, she said. Yes, I thought, we are all connected by circumstances but not by a commitment that I have chosen. It will take some getting used to for your sisters,’ she said,’ but oh well, children get used to everything.’ ‘I do not want to talk about this,’ I said suddenly when it became increasingly clear me that Betsy was speaking in earnest. I just did not want to know, I wanted to rub out all the spoken words and forget about them. Betsy however felt the need for whatever reason whatsoever, to speak. My thoughts milled around and I heard nothing but shreds. ‘Watch it,’ she said, ’you do not determine what is being discussed here at my table.’ I looked at her in amazement. ‘It will have to go anyway,’ she continued, ‘it is an ugly table.’ I could not possibly continue living here, this home brings about too many sad memories for Big Dan.’ ‘We are thinking of a house in Huntington Hills. A larger home closer to his work, and in a great area.’ She had actually said, ‘we are thinking of a house .. she made plans for the future and was part of the decision-making! What was wrong with our neighborhood. I knew it, nothing! They wanted a new life in a new neighborhood with neighbors who had not known my mother. I got up with a jerk. Was Betsy speaking about wishes and fantasies? I realized that a fantasy world becomes the real one, when the players manage to agree on which course to take.

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I was not even a player I underwent the game and the same would happen to my sisters and Betsy's baby, well that was her baby, which for me belonged outside the event. I feared it was not a fantasy for Betsy but she could not longer contain it. She was awaiting the events that unfolded, and had been patient but her patience was at an end. While she was speaking, I walked to the door. ‘Where are you going’, she asked in an unpleasant voice. ‘I'm going to get my sisters,’ I said,’ that is much too early,’ said Betsy,  ‘I do not permit that.’ ‘You're a crazy,’ I replied, it doesn’t interest me if it is too early or later, I'm going to get my sisters’ and I stepped out the door.

I walked over to where the Pontiac was parked and got in, it felt familiar, at least nothing had changed here, all the buttons were still in the same place, my old American was a source of tranquility. I turned the key and the engine growled deep in a rhythm that was reassuring. Where would I go, it was indeed too early? Very slowly I drove off in order to make up my mind and when I passed the park, where I had been a 'blind grandpa' sitting with the little ones, enjoying an icecream, I parked the power monster and I walked slowly through the park, until I came to the ice cream stand. I ordered a coffee and sat down at a table, with my back to the counter. I felt vacant and empty, I looked with sightless eyes over the park and decided to stay until the school of the little ones would go out. My soul was crying without tears, while far away in a sterile room, doctors pushed a hollow needle through my moeder's back into a piece of lung to drain out the fluid. ‘I was on the arm of my mother again dancing through the garden in Brazil and I heard her sing and I saw her bent over patterns in Libya, in order to wheel out clothes for the little ones and my spirit  broke away and hovered meters above the park and oversaw me and my life.

San Daniel 2015

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