The Canadian years, 94, Pascha's hammer

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Thursday 26 February 08:28

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Pascha’s hammer

No one was there when I got home and I put on dry pants. Now life would be different. I was a relic from another era. Someone who would not fit well into the new. In May, I would sit my departmental exams and then my highschool years were over. In Alberta departementals immediately served as admission to the university. I resolved to work a few months and then choose a study as far away as possible from my father’s house. The hours passed and after a while I began getting bored. I intended to get a burger at Pop’s and see if Richard was home. It was weird to be alone in the house, nice but strange. Suddenly I got a foreboding and I walked into the bedroom that belonged to my parents. I opened the closet door and I saw it, the fur coat was there, but the rest of all my mother's clothes were gone. This began to take on morbid forms.

Now  looking around me, I saw small changes, there was no picture in sight of my mother. I walked to the bookshelf, ‘no hey,’ even our photo album, was gone. The life of my mother had been neatly erased. The bottle of Boldoot was missing. I just had an idea where I could find it. I went to the kitchen and opened the trash can and there was slightly visible between peels and clutter, the Boldoot 4711 bottle: Betsy was a bold ‘lady’, she had not wasted time. I got it out and washed it off and I put it ceremoniously on the table beside my mother’s chair. It was an action of nothing and no importance but it made me feel really good. I would make a still life, I decided , a headache pill and next to a handkerchief, a glass of whiskey. The morphine was gone. But the effect would be the same. Now it was time to go to Pop’s for my meal.

‘So’, said Pop, ‘a whopper?’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘a real one.’ ‘It is on the way,’ he smiled’ The griddle hissed and burgers which in those days  resembled meat , went on it. Meanwhile, he baked alongside some onion rings and he cut a tomato into pieces. He cut two pieces of bread and a little later I had my meal. At that time, a burger really filled you up, these were Moose burgers. I suppose Pop did the hunting himself. His burgers had a strong taste but it was good virtually fat-free meat. ‘Anything more you want’, he said, and came up with a dish to relish, something else you don’t longer see these days, and I shook my head.’ Otherwise I’ll throw a few more on.’ ‘No Pop,’ I said, ‘then I’ll fall over.’ ‘Can’t have that,’ said Pop, ‘I’d get a bad name,’ and he walked back to his counter. If my father had only been a burger baker, just like Pop, I thought, than Betsy would have surely been less interested in him.

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Richard was not at home and I came home at the same time that the others arrived. It was getting late for the little ones, I thought, they would have become tired. They had to make themselves immediately ready for bed. ‘Story,’ they cried out, the song of longing my mother would have said. ‘I'm coming’, I said,’ but it will be a short story. ‘Moments later, they looked at me expectantly. ‘Ok Boy’, Marion said, ‘we are ready for it.’ ‘Today a fairy tale that you do not know’, I said. ‘Yeah, they  called out. It's about two sisters. Netje en Betje, who fell into a ditch. ‘Tell it as it is,’ they cried out laughing, ‘stupid boy.’

It was so easy, always laughs garanteed. Moments later we were at the rolls that wanted to be taken out of the oven and as always they listened with much pleasure. ‘Betje was lazy hey,’ Marion asked. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘it was a lazy bitch.’ ‘Netje was neat huh,’ Marion asked, now. ‘Very neat,’I agreed ‘and diligent.’ I know how to write Betje Marion said triumphtly. Almost like mom Betsy.’ ‘That's right,’ I said, they do look alike, right?’ Marion lauged loudly. ‘No,’ she said, ‘she has not fallen into a well?’ ‘No that's right,’ I said and I thought, ‘unfortunately so.’ ‘Where have you been to,’ I asked? ‘Phew,’ said Marion, ‘to another state.’ ‘Oh, why,’ I asked. ‘That's a secret,’ the girl said, ‘that I should not talk about. ‘Then I’ll  hear it sometime later,’ I said. ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘it was great fun and now I can say no more.’ ‘Sleep well villains,’ I said and I turned off the light.

I'll go down I said, I need to get some reading done. My father and Betsy sat at the table with some coffee. ‘Until tomorrow’, my father said, ‘you know, agreements are sacred.’ ‘I understand that,’ I said. Betsy suddenly became pale and looked very tense into the room. Slowly she got up and walked cautiously to the table next to my mothers’s chair. ‘What is it Betsy,’ asked my father? She watched in disbelief and was livid. ‘Oh dear, I had forgotten the whole still life.’ ‘That,’ she said, suddenly, with a waging finger, ‘you've done it.’ I looked at my father with big eyes. ‘What do you mean Betsy,’ my father asked. ‘He,’ she said, pointing to me as a nemesis, ‘is trying to drive me mad.’ I shrugged my shoulders.’ Do not deny it, you have laid this here.’ I looked back with a blank stare. ‘Betsy,’ my father said, ‘let it go it's been a long day, the boy came home with us to, you're just not tidy. Not everything is his fault.’

That gave me an unexpected insight how people thought about me. ‘I have no time for nonsense,’ I said, ‘there is still a lot to be studied’ and I walked away. On the stairs I could not help but grin, it had not been planned, but it had worked out well. That night I didn’t laugh anymore.

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I heard the creaking of the stairs and I knew who was coming. The moon shone through the skylight and unfortunately fell on my bed. The footsteps shuffled to my door, which went very cautiously opened, I heard the breathing and I saw very clearly the gnome. My father was standing sideways and the moon lit up half his face. He looked at me with a strange interest, with sightless eyes. He held something in his hand and now tapped it into his other hand. His hands were now on chest heigth suddenly he raised his hand with a swhoosh sound. I saw in the moonlight through my eyelashes, the hammer. With a trembling hand he held the hammer and both hands fought as if they belonged to someone else, one hand wanted to come smashing down and the other one was trying to hold the agressive hand back.. Then he let out a deep sigh and turned around. The door was cautiously closed behind him and I heard his footsteps shuffling away, moments later the stairs creaked and I lay petrified in bed.

San Daniel 2015

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