30 July 2009

Impa had a nice wednesday

If they ever ask me: 'Grandmother, do you remember when you decided you wanted to marry granddad some day?' I'll nod and say: 'When he was standing at the stove stripped to the waist and said: 'Why don't I make you a chocolate pancake?'

24 July 2009

Of a son and his father

Days with my Father. Beautiful and moving, by Philip Toledano.
There's more Toledano magic. (Seen at Maz' blog)

15 July 2009

Impa and the proportions

In the centre of my storm of much work, irregular hours, an unexpected love that tempts me with all its softness, house hunting, an entrance exam, gathering documents, signing papers, many kilometres on the motorway, it slowly dawning on me that journeys do not only go somewhere but depart from somewhere too, sleep deficit and many small dances of joy, I was suddenly hit by the indomitability of the greater perspective. It walked in with a round belly and big breasts and her smile didn't just come from her face but radiated from every fibre in her body. Now I understood, now, for the first time, I saw for myself the glowing that pregnant women are said to do. It comes from deep within and gives them the kind of beauty that can't be cosmetic and must be some kind of divine secret. Friend H. was always made of light, but seemed to walk on it too, now. Friend K. has just given birth to her daughter. Friend M. carries a healthy son and Friend C. just heard they won't be able to have children. It turns every life around passionately or heartbreakingly and yet in the bigger perspective is still the most normal thing in the world. Loving, giving birth, dying.
Caring, feeding, letting go.

Breasts, belly, taut skin.

She sat next to me with the heaviness and calm of a pregnant woman and let me put my hand on her belly. All my energy so close to that new being. I tried to give my hand a softness, to keep it clean, but I didn't get the chance. Something inside that belly moved and in a quick shift of reality, the whole world and everything around it concentrated underneath my hand for a brief moment. And expanded again, first to its original proportions and then far beyond it.

The oldest truth lies in the belly of a pregnant woman.

6 July 2009

Impa dreams

'Do you know what I dreamt?' I ask him at five in the morning. As if he's been lying there for hours, waiting to hear it. Between sitting up straight between the white sheets and  stumbling through the bedroom door to go to the toilet, across his body in the bed and three steps towards the door, I pour out a flood of dreams, one story seamlessly merging into the other. With a little violence, a little confusion, a few strange people, burst water pipes and tomatoe soup. And did it have a rabbit too? He doesn't move a muscle. 'Good story', he mumbles.

After I have long gone back to sleep (galloping more chaos, always on, ever more), he lies awake for hours. 
His bed is too restless. 

I know.

I'm sorry.

Just hold me. After all: you never know.

Impa's knapsack

Moving house to far away feels very cinematic. I see myself laying a bundle of things on a large cloth in a small, old house. I look around me. My eyes travel across all the things I leave behind. I'll only bring what is part of me now. I nod, tie the four corners of the cloth together  and hang the bundle from a long stick. I put the stick on my left shoulder. I close my hand around the end of it tightly. I walk to door of the little house and stop at the threshold. I look back, smile, and raise my hand. 'Bye, house.' Then I pull the door closed behind me, straighten my back, smile and step onto the path. It runs away from the viewer, to the front and the right. It's flanked by tall, waving grass. The horizon lies far off, the backlight is strong. I walk. Before long, I see myself getting smaller in the distance. 

Suddenly, I wonder why I have the perspective of those who stay behind. The answer is exactly the reason why I leave with a knapsack and not with large suitcases containing everything I own. Luxurious cases on wheels, with combination locks and soft lining full of pockets that store everything orderly and safely. With labels indicating my personal data and the exact time of planned departure and arrival. Suitcases transported by a specialised company guaranteeing that all will go according to schedule.

I have the perspective of those who stay behind because I can't see what is behind the horizon yet. The steps across that threshold and onto that path will be taken in the next few months. The build-up has already started, of course, goodbyes have been said, the anticipation is already bubbling inside. But I will only see the view from the path as I'm walking it. When with every step the next bit of perspective unfolds. When I feel the knapsack resting on my shoulder. Feel the grass on either side of the path brush my legs. See the little house behind me get smaller in the distance.

Impa and the river Waal

The river Waal flows to the North Sea, to the left, so to say, and I'm flowing to the north, so that would be more like the Wadden Sea. But still. That flowing of the Waal opens up a little door in my heart. It's so much water all at once. And on the quay in Nijmegen, when my feet are dangling high above it, a huge bridge on either side and the water far below me, I flow along with it. Quietly and steadily but unstoppably. And then I want further, bigger, more, to run, to dance, drink wine, play hide-and-seek and have a large, yellow, real excavator for my birthday.

I was standing on the Waal beach on the other side of the river, with my feet in the water. There were rocks I wanted to pick up everywhere en and the water just kept lapping, all around me, in my head, over my feet, along all my senses, on and on and on. Cool rocks, cold water.

I took off my clothes, sat in the cold water in the warm sunset in my underwear and thought: if I really feel now and stop thinking, if I let this moment run its course, I'll stay here forever. I'll become a rock or a wave and all I will have to do is shine and lap.

My love got up, walked towards me with his feet in the water and kissed my neck. The river Waal smiled its broadest smile. 

Listen.

Impa in the rain

The raindrops were so big I could see them fall from the sky individually. When they hit the deep pools in the streets, they formed big, round bubbles that burst before I had the chance to really look at them. The bubbles were everywhere I looked. They were like little, jumping, round frogs in the water. 

Running from my car to the front door didn't work. Someone jumped in front of me laughing and kissed me until my hair streamed along my face and my clothes were drenched.

PS: It wasn't the man who stepped in front of me in the previous blog post.

Impa's men

His trousers reached way up over his waist. His chequered shirt was tucked in and his grey hair meticulously cut. He was old and he greeted me. I smiled at him and said hello back. He stopped. I took another step. He took a step to the side so he stood half in front of me. I stopped. Oh well, a little chat is the least of all the things people want from you.

'How do you do?' he asked. I saw two old teeth in the corners of his mouth. 'Very well, thank you', I said. 'And you? Are you going to do your shopping?' 'No, I'm going to get a box. My pendulum is broken. Do you know what that is, a pendulum?' 'A clock', I nodded. 'It'll probably be very expensive to have it repaired', he said. His voice was clear but kind and he looked at me piercingly. 'Do you have a boyfriend? Or are you married?' he asked. 'I have a boyfriend', I said. He looked very seriously. 'Because I'm looking for a girlfriend, you see.' I thought about how best to put this. 'But you're not really my age', I said, carefully. For a few moments, he looked at me as if he was trying to find out what I meant. Then his face relaxed. 'That's what they all say', he said. He laughed. I started to walk away. 'I'm going to take my groceries home, sir. Good luck with your pendulum.' He turned as I passed him and took a step after me. Then he raised his hand, turned around and trudged to the supermarket. 

So there, I'd said it. The boyfriend thing. Just like that, on a friday afternoon outside the supermarket. Because after all: making dates with someone you like so much you want to do a little dance every time you think of him, how long do you keep calling that 'making dates'?