The Canadian years, 91, films and the ring

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Tuesday 24 February 15:25


The ring and images

My friends were my charging point, otherwise I could not have continued. I knew Richard had been serious when he had offered his house as a refuge. I was driving into the alley and there in the distance sat a a figure on a chair. He had something in his hand and when I got closer I saw that it was my father with his super 8mm camera. He filmed my arrival and so I felt that I was a marked man, that I had received a recognition stamp. ‘So dear boy, are you there’, my father said when I closed the door of the Pontiac ‘kalonkk.’ This I had not expected, I had been admitted to the killing camera.

‘Waiting for you’. He strode ahead of me and stepped inside. ‘Here we are, the creation of the Lord’, he laughed and Pastor Ohler walked up and laughed as well. ‘So boy,’ said the pastor in pastoral way,  have you processed it all a bit?’ The man was severely retarded and should never have been a pastor, I realized, but I smelled the whiskey on his voice and knew what time it was. How would I be able to process something that I would carry my whole life along? ‘Good to see you pastor,’ I said. The salon was shuttered and a bottle of whiskey was on the table with a pair of glasses. ‘The final tape is going on,’ my father said. ‘So we honor the dead so that they are still a little present,’ said the pastor and his wife nodded approvingly. Not to be believed there was a movie, pasted together from my mother or my brother or my mother and my brother and I realized that the idea was that I would follow the actors quickly. In a while the pastor would sit here again and say,’ hey, there is young Daniel,’ while I would move stiffly across the screen. I was admitted to the guild of dead or nearly dead actors. It was bland, there are no other words for it. The whirring and wharring projector went on, with a clicking sound when the final piece of tape left the feed.


My father turned on the light and pulled the curtains open. ‘I am glad that you may witness a great moment,’ my father said. ‘Oh,’ Ohler said,’ I found it all pretty great as it was.’ My father poured himself and the pastor a shot. My father now filmed his right hand he held it remotely in front of him to get a good focus and said aloud ‘this is my signet ring for my heir’. The camera went out. ‘Here boy,’ my father said,’ keep this ring up and look happy and slide it on your finger.’ What could I do? I did it.’ Yes Pastor Ohler, ‘said my father, ‘that ring has many memories for me’ and he took a sip. ‘My father gave it to me before I went to study in Delft, leaving India. I was to leave the plantation in Pare Pare and go to Delft’. ‘Your granddad boy would love to know that you like him, his namesake, is wearing it now. It was that the ring had been my grandfather’s with whom I had enjoyed a very good relationship, otherwise I would have thrown it far away from me ..


Much later in my life, in a new different life, far away from the shadows, I would give this ring to my oldest daughter when she was grown up. ‘Let's see,’ pastor Ohler said and I held out my hand. It was Indian gold, very light in color by the tin content, as you will see only in low-carat gold. There was a monogram in very fine lines, unreadable for those who did not know the secret. It was a real signet ring, The monogram was always something expanding in the range full name of my grandfather, and if you would pass it through molten wax  and then pull it to the right under the stamping place, the full name would appear on paper. It was pretty clever engraving. ‘Beautiful,’ said the pastor but that was more out of courtesy.

I was greatly praised, and I knew what was about to happen. My death clock had started ticking.

San Daniel 2015

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