The Canadian years, 83 the wailing and the sadness

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Saturday 21 February 10:37


The wailing and the sadness

Everyone sat around the table, Hans and my big sister who were supposed to be in BC. In North America, domestic flights go as scheduled as busses, back and forth, they had flown in, I realized, no other possibility. I stood in the doorway of the kitchen looking at the living room and watched my sister, her eyes were red and puffy from crying. I quickly looked around the table, my brother was missing. I went blank, my mind deserted me, I was only an empty shell. ‘Welcome to my home’, my father spoke. ‘ It has deemed the Lord right to call his servant, my son home, we now have intercession in heaven.’

I wanted to say something to him, he was the only one who looked normal, but I could not talk, my skin was thick and my cheeks and lips, I could not move my mouth. I could not form the words. My mind was locked. I stepped forward and my knees buckled. Hans caught me and stroked my cheek and hugged me and spoke only in a babbling German to me, comforting me. He put me on a chair. There I sat between intensely sad people. My big sister was crying without tears and my mother was leaning over the table. I could only look at my father. I leaned on an elbow and my hand was over my mouth and so I spent a long time sitting there, empty. ‘What is the matter boy,’ my father said, ‘are you not happy? Your brother is suffering no more, he is with the Lord.’

I got a very small piece of my mental faculties back.’ Where is Karen, I asked?’ ‘Who is Karen,’ my father said, I do not know any Karen.’ My disbelief of what was happening grew with every second. ‘Karen,’ I said in amazement again, my mind was still not restored. ‘Oh,’ my father said, ‘your brother's former slut. She does not enter my house any longer.’ I only looked ahead of me, I had no new thoughts and nothing more to add. I was cold inside, I felt no hate, no love, no sorrow, my body protected me against myself. I could shed no tears. ‘It's just not true,’ I told myself, ‘he is traveling to Vancouver for a course,’ which I found a pleasant thought. Simultaneously I knew he was dead, ‘we’ll sort that out here,’ I thought.


‘How did it happen,’ I asked Hans, Hans that sweet boy, so innocent in the ways of our family, replied. ‘Your father found him,’ he said,’ he had been shot by someone we do not know by whom.’ ‘Really,’ I said, ‘we don’t know that?’ ‘He was shot in the back,’ I said, suddenly, ‘I know where he was, he .., ‘and I spread my arms out, ‘died like this.’ The table looked at me as if I had become insane, and to some extent I was also, as utterly without inhibitions. I looked at my father, ‘deny it once, you,’ I said, ‘you, you've found him because you were near him. I know where he was. It was dark beside you’. My father looked at me with utter astonishment. ‘He was shot between a rock and a tree,’ I went on.  A slight shudder went through my father and he looked at me with something I can only describe as fear .. you know,’ I said, ‘it's not a secret, you know.’ My father regained his old pose, You're mad with grief boy, don’t bother me anymore and I knew I had been warned. I got up and then my sister came with her cheeks hot with tears and she put her arms around me, ‘let go,’ she said, ‘this does not make sense, we know, let go.’ My father looked perplexed.

Hans spoke first, he played my older brother, ‘my dear boy, lieber lieber junge, hinsetzen’ and he pushed me on my chair with soft but firm hand. ‘We are all confused’, he said.’ I've seen it,’ I said. ‘Calm down,’ said my sister.’ Believe me,’ I tried again. ‘You have just left school,’ said my sister, ‘you are my brother’ and she patted me down my cheeks, ‘the only one I have.’ ‘Your father's gun and your  brother’s were still sealed’ Hans said, ‘it's important that you understand what I say. Listen to me, they were still sealed from last year. They have not been used, you understand me?’ There was something, something I could not get my head around, something that was very important. But I just did not know what, I could not think. My mind was locked, I had a blockage That blockade was not lifted until two months later when I could think straight again with all my fury and then everything burst apart, but that almost cost me my life.


‘Tomorrow I'm going to Kananaskis,’ I announced. ‘I'm going to read the hunting register and talk to the ranger.’ ‘You’ll do nothing of the sort,’ my father said. ‘I'll go with you,’ 'said my sister, ‘you're in no state to drive alone.’ I broke with a dry sob and hit my head on the table and I could only moan, without ceasing, I formed the words, but I heard myself in the distance, a long series of plaintive sounds with occasionally the name of my brother in it, the only intelligible rational. At first I thought it was someone else, until I realized it was me but I could not stop. Evert, Evert, Evert and then my long plaintive cry like a sick meter from a sick brain and so I was too, crippled  inside and sick to the core. Hans tried to focus on me but I shook it off, I was talking to the soul of my brother, I wailed to the children he would never have I moaned to myself and my wailing must have reached him, but I could not stop, I had become one long letargische sound.


‘That is the one,’ my father said to our doctor who came and opened his bag. ‘Shock,’ the man said to himself and to no one in particular. ‘Hold him a while.’ The syringe came closer. ‘I do not want injections,’ I said. ‘No, of course not,’ the doctor said, and planted the syringe in my arm, while Hans was holding me. My eyelids grew heavy and Hans carried me lovingly to the bedroom, ‘you just go to sleep,’ he said.

San Daniel 2015

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