The Canadian years, 90, the lost years

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Tuesday 24 February 09:04

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The lost weeks

At the top of your dial at 114 CKXL. Dropout and tune in. It was morning and the artificial mirth of CKXL had returned me to my earthly existence. The weather was changing, the wind howled at times along the window of the basement cellar. My father had visited me at night again but now I felt the cold hand of fate tweaking some more, it wanted to grow and squeeze me, I just felt it. My father's nightly walks were not accidental. It had happened a few times in the past week and you felt that something was just developing, something that grew and got wings. It was ominous, something out of the cave of darkness, it fluttered a little and moved it¡’s wings but became stronger per visit. It would pinch me to smithereens when the time was right. I kept quite still and let my breathing sound quiet but I struggled to restrain me. Did he know that I acted as if  sleeping? Was it intimidation? It thought me the true meaning of fear and I slept badly.

At each little noise in the house, I thought .. here it comes.  And I ‘slept’ on. The dark enhanced the effect, because you could not put your light on and pretend to be asleep. He was up to something, something is rotten in the state of Denmark, mister Boston would have said. ‘Do not be afraid,’ I said to myself, but at night when the senses and your sight are almost at nil level, you feel a disadvantage if someone is heavily breathing next to your bed, as if there are considerations being made and the hand that wants to strike is still is not convinced of the outcome. You are also at a disadvantage. The night was over and the light that came in through the window decreased the severity of the feelings.’ I am just a Okie from Muskogee’ it sounded from the transmitter. One or other old ‘ square,’ straight figure that flung anti-hippie lyrics in the air. Phew the old boy sang,’ we don't take no trips on LSD, the country life is good enough for me.’ Yes therefore the’ fake square cowboy’, ridiculing our new lifestyle and thanks to the longhaired hippies from ‘Frisco, about which he mockingly sang, was becoming filthy rich, just an old hypocrite square hanging on to bygone values.

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Suddenly an idea hit me, like the stupid anti-LSD text. Suppose my father found me difficult because I was the last awkward straw standing in the way. Because we were the only one in this house that had the shared experience of the various countries in which we had lived. In this house we had as the only ones the same shared memories. I was the only one in the house with a still living memory of my brother and mother and would never disown them. My sisters were young and he could knead them to a new relationship, but there would always be a brother, ‘Boy,’ who could say. ‘no girls it was a little different ..’ Suppose he wanted a new life, with the little ones  and Besty, how would he knock me off, I thought with a grim forboding. He needed only a student at the university to buy a syringe with drugs or buy it himself and then he could stab that deep into my arm as he passed again on a nocturnal walk and everyone would think I would have died from an overdose of drugs that I would never touch in my life anyway. I saw this as a strong hypothetical possibility. On his last walk he had stopped long at the side of my bed, a few minutes, that does not seem long, but that's long.

My bed had been surrounded by darkness and the fear dripped off thewalls, until he walked away again. Something was growing slowly, taking form slightly step by step, something ugly. Don’t swim against the current Betsy had said, then you’ll drown. My sister had been 'difficult' been and was gone. My mother's disease was 'difficult' and she had gone..Mijn brother was 'difficult', and he was gone. I was the new 'difficult' case shall we say. I should be on my qui vive, if only I could bridge a few months than I had finished school and then I would go away, studying as far away as possible. I knew I should be on my guard, if he was nice to me, inexplicable nice, I should be on the alert. I still remembered how nice he suddenly had been against my brother. Pastor Ohler had been invited with his wife to dinner with us, that was at least something. For a moment I considered talking to him about my concern, but I realized that it would be a waste of time. My father would have found that very 'difficult'.

What I would say to anyone about the nocturnal visits? My father comes into my room before he goes to sleep himself? Can a father come and  look at his sleeping children? As always, I was in a situation where everything screamed that it was wrong and bad but I could not deal with it. I decided to put a baseball bat next to my bed. On the other hand, how would I explain it if it was discovered? So I decided to put it under my bed and so we had come to the stage where the hunter went hunting and the prey knew that he was being hunted, without the hunter realizing that and the prey promised himself that he would strike the hunter over the head the moment he felt it was  justified. That gave some rest. After school I started talking about it with Don and Richard at Pop’s bent over a cup of coffee refill gore, I began...

‘You know my father comes to my room at night.’ ‘Yup?’ Don looked disinterested the other way. ‘What does he want,’ inquired Richard? Beverly came to sit down with a coke. ‘What's this about,’ she asked, ‘what have I missed?’ Don said, ‘yes, it's very interesting, I just learned how his father checks on the kids before he goes to sleep.’ ‘You are missing the point,’ I said. ‘He comes along in a strange way.’

‘How,’ said Beverly? ‘If I tell you it does not sound scary, but he makes me fel terrified,’ I replied. ‘He is dark, man, you know.’ ‘Stands to reason, Don said, ‘it's night, huh?’ ‘Please Don,’ I said be real. Don and he looked at me for the first time. ‘You look exhausted,’ he said. ‘I am telling you, I said, I sleep badly because I just wait for his footstep’ You can’t do a thing about this,’ said Beverly and it was as if I heard my big sister speak. ‘But,’ she said, ‘you said he was black, how do you mean that.’ ‘He radiates something bad out, ominous,’ I said, ‘darkness hangs around him, I can not explain it differently, as if death clings to him and I know it's focussed on me and I feel very uncomfortable with it.’ ‘You need to get out of there’ Beverly said and she shuddered. ‘Where to and how,’ I said? ‘What should I say, you are checking to see if I am sleep,’ and then leave the house? ‘My brother tried to leave our home.’ ‘Do you really think he killed him,’ Richard asked, ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘without a shadow of a doubt, I can not get my finger behind it but I'm sure.’ ‘My sister knows as well. She does not want to be  in one room with my father, to her my father is already dead.

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‘I ..’  I looked helplessly around me, ‘I have to remember something and I do not know what, I'm lost and I know it's important, I have had that for months, it's about my brother.’’ What do you mean,’ said Don suddenly as he leaned forward. He looked serious. ‘That sounds like a trauma displacement,’ he played a therapist but I understood that he really was forming ideas. ‘Why displacement,’ Richard asked, ‘no jokes Don!’ ‘Well,’ said Don, ‘if you have some bad experiences than your mind protects you. It simply leaves certain memories away, until you can handle them. A kind of temporary amnesia. For example, people who experience a serious car accident have that. They remember that they are driving and then the ambulance but the mind has given a systems down, the real impact they forget about.

Richard, suddenly looked in very different way at me, ‘ could it be that you have stored somewhere in you, data, information that is so terrible that you can not accept it?’’ I do not know,’I said helplessly.’ Don,’ I asked, how is repression cured?’ ‘Sometimes never,’ he said, ‘that happens at times with some soldiers come back from Vietnam, then you call it trauma. Sometimes a trifle nothing can trigger the memory again and then the memory is restored. For example, a scent can do that. You carried just before the accident a few geraniums in your car. You smell a half year later, a geranium, you know, if you snap the stem, a strong smell?’ We all nodded. Meanwhile, you've recuperated, and your mind can now deal with the repressed events and you know everything from the blow, brakes, horn, you name it.’ ‘How do you know all this,’ Don, I asked? ‘Yes,’he said, I want to study psychology and I subscribe to a magazine, ‘psychology made simple.’ For simple psychologists, Richard chuckled.

‘Seriously now’, said Richard, ‘when it takes on extreme forms with your father, then you just come  to sleep in my home for a while. Then you go from my house to school or work or whatever. My mother only works night shifts, always, to make ends meet. During the day she sleeps and at nights she works. She would not even notice.’’ Only if necessary ‘I said and shook the hand that he had held out.

San Daniel 2015

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