The Canadian years, 88, the man of sorrow

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Monday 23 February 08:40

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The man of sorrow

The service was short and our church was packed, not so much for my brother, but more for my father who was a good Christian. Especially after he donated a part of the life insurance of my brother to the church. That is how you buy people. It was good that the churchmembers in their Christian kindness had turned up, it was a Saturday, a day when there was always a lot to be done. They’d go shopping later now. They had at least made a choice. The coffin was closed, that was nasty, we sang and spoke to a closed coffin. My father was supported by a colleague and our pastor when he went to the pulpit. He played the man of sorrows, the only thing missing were ashes on his head. The biblical Job could have learned from him, lacking only the dunghill and the pottery fragments. I just shut myself off from his reading. I knew it, it had pleased to the Lord to call my brother to him.

 

How could it please the Lord that my mother was mad with grief that I was crippled inside, that my brother’s girlfriend just about ended in a closed institution. It pleases the Lord. My mind wandered to the previous night when my father as a gnome, had walked through my room, because thanks to that pleased Lord it was no longer our room, he had sneaked about with his candle. What an absurd thing had been that, I felt something dark make a wing beat in the cave of evil: was it remorse or had he been defying a dead personwho could not speak any more in his defense? My father also had suffered considerable tension caused by himself, it could just be be that something had snapped in him, I decided that I would avoid him but would observe him well. My father was busy with the end of his reading.’ Lord who has sacrificed your own son for our welbeing, accept my son, my precious sacrifice, the biggest I can give you. Amen.’ Amen it sounded from many mouths.. was the rest asleep? Had my father not admitted here in public, linguistically speaking, that he had sacrificed his son as Jesus, for the common good?

I had to stop here, maybe I read in every sentence, a revelation and perhaps language as well works like that and maybe people will say different things than from what they mean. Let it be soon behind us, I thought. When I got home, another nasty surprise awaited me, every memory having to do with my brother was gone. Betsy who had not gone to  the service for my father had done the honors on his behalf. The Salvation Army had taken his clothes along, some mutual belongings from ours had been thrown away. His whole life and all his possessions were erased. My father would have a talk with the colleagues and I sat at home and was too surprised for words when I looked around me and saw that my brother had never existed. I walked outside and where his Ford had been parked was now an empty spot. ‘Betsy’, I said, ‘the Ford, is gone! Stolen in broad daylight.’ ‘No,’ said Betsy they’ve come to collect it for the church auction next month.

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This is how Russians get people crazy, I thought. They brainwash them, they move their home or records from their past and put the most annoying people in camps, faraway in Siberia. ‘This can not be true,’ I said ‘why?’ ‘Today a new life begins here,’ Betsy said cheerfully. ‘Your mother will soon go to the hospital because she has fluid in her lung again and we agree that here in my house, we never talk about your brother, that would hurt Big Dan too much.’ ‘I will not agree to any such thing,’ I said. ‘Oh,’ Betsy said only,’ I thought you were wiser, it is going to end wrong for you. If you swim against the stream, you’ll drown.’ I went to my basement room to change and the first thing I saw that the few things that we had shared there, had been rearranged differently. My brother’s bed was missing and so was one chair. The only thing I had left which had been in his hands, was the bottle of old spice aftershave that he had given me when he had told me about the Pontiac.

I put my cowboyboots on, that made me feel safe.  I’lI go to the park, to have my head blown empty by the wind, I thought. ‘Where do you think you're going,’ said Betsy?’I am going outside, do not erase me,’ I could not resist it, I had to say it. ‘What do you mean,’ she asked suddenly malignant. ‘It is not difficult, don’t throw my stuff away, I'm still alive and don’t have my car towed away to some stupid auction.’ ‘Now you've done it boy,’ she said,’ wait till big Dan hears about this, I do not like your ways.’ ‘And I like yours even less,’ I replied and walked away. I changed my plan I stepped towards the Pontiac, closed the door with the familiar, "klonkkk" sound of heavy metal that is pulled shut and started the old beast. I drove to the river and sat there a time looking at the rippling water.

San Daniel 2015

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