The monorail in Sydney makes a loop, is moving through the city as well as the port area. At two sides this mainly tourist train has domes of glass. Tony, the friend of Jane, my nice is sitting next to me. In her teens she has moved with a family branch to Australia.
Tony is talking about the famous operahouse with the remarkable architecture. We can see it on a distance at the river.
‘On the right side the huge bridge …’
‘From which the firework on new years eve!’
‘Yes, exactly. You are sure you will not longer stay with us?’
I shake my head, enjoy the view on both sides. The port is decorated with amazing christmas trees, complete furnished with long garlands and big balls.
‘The ocean museum is not far you see? Unfortunately we have no time to visit. It is fun, inside you are walking under the sharks, on touching distance!
Overexcited I press the elbows to the body.
‘Funny how you react. Good that Jane does not see that.’
‘She has a trendy hobby. Happy talking about your life and your personality. Special how you can free yourself out of the patterns of the past.’
‘Something like that. A little bit obsessive I think, but anyway, as long as it relax her. Nurse in a hospital is sometimes a heavy job….but remember, I did warn you.’
‘Will I recognize her, you think?’
‘No idea. As far I know she was fond of you as a kid. Nowadays family talk, you know that.’
Before Tony is driving me to the airport we have a cool drink.
‘You design also in this city?’
‘Oh yes, but most of all in Melbourne. My office is there, not far from our house. It is a pity that I cannot be at the diner tonight but as you know, the most important game of the season I really will not miss.’
‘You will like it to be with Jane, I am sure. She is a good cooker and a perfect host.
‘I hope she can tell me something about my father.’
‘O yes, well…no, she was talking about a man …but I think that is the father of your brother.
I take a taxi from the airport. The trip is particularly on a highway, through a brown environment. Everywhere it looks very dry. Eucalyptus trees sharp against the blue sky.
The location of the house is at the border of the city. The taxi stops near a gate in a grey wall. The screen as well as the front door is closed but not locked. In the corridor I am calling several times the name of my nice. After a short walk I enter a half covered swimming pool. At the other side of it I see a woman who is just leaving the water. She is waving. With a towel from a chair she start to dry herself during her walk to me.
From a distance I am observing her. Still slim and good looking for her age. A real Dutch face. Together with sportsman Tony a perfect couple.
‘Welcome, nephew from the homeland!’
She embrace me while she is holding the towel unwieldy between us.
‘So you are Jane, nowadays?!’
‘Yes, hundred percent. Do you want…?’
She invites me to the water. I nod.
‘It is not deep. As long as you will not dive. Anyway, enjoy the swimming pool during your short stay.
‘No, maybe there are sharks inside.’
She start to laugh upbeat. I am looking around.
‘Make your choice for a room.’
In the bathroom the walls are hanged with postcards, cartoons, in Memoriam cards, family photo’s and stoups in all sorts of shapes and measures, impossible boring here. A seeking to my father does not render anything as far as I can explore. Next to a small mirror I see a little spider.
Many toilets in Holland looked about the same a long time ago. A trend in the period she and the familie jumped to a new existence. This will store her history carefully.
Accidental my attention moves to a photo next to the mirror: Jane and my brother are dancing close together on a schoolparty. They had a sort of relation.
In the living room with a terrace along one side I noticed a deep garden. A christmas tree stands for one of the windows. Two eye-catching paintings in the same seize hang opposite each other on the side walls. A stripe sunlight is falling on one of them. It seem to be an erotic scene: a blowing-up puppet, a Nana, in bursted underwear hangs half over a sofa leaning on a table, the thick legs in a wide spread out: rather decadent. I read the title: Ready to go. Big labia invite to come in. I turn around and look at the other one. With less light it gets something mysterious. It is a point of view from the vagina: little Nana’s somersault, in a funny oust world. Looking for love. Well, Stay Inside is also possible.
Through the open doors I walk into the garden and where I am passing grey boxes with big plants. Should Jane takes care of the nature? She still have that friendly attitude from the past. But at the swimming pool, I felt a certain resistance.
She appears in the doorway, dressed in a sandy yellow robe, as for celebrating easter. Her hair looks still wet.
‘Stay on the terrace while I will preparing the table for dinner.’
With a bottle of beer I am looking at the thin cloud. Beautiful. Long grey and light orange stripes announce the late sunset. No wind. If she want to tell something about my father, of course it will be limited. Christmas, everybody filters the world, people want to talk about the good. Tonight it is the time to polish your words. In a warm evening. Romantic by candlelight.
Can I press her to say something about the past or asking her right away about my father?
My throat is bowed up as if a sort of ball is inside. I hear the sounds of birds but do not see them. In the room Jane drops scales on the table.
After a swallow of beer I walk inside. On the table three long white candles.
‘What an assortment! It looks like an Australian tiffin?’
On the round table with faces slanting to the garden we could start the dinner. With a wet finger she is moving with her finger round and round on the top of her wine glass.
‘A tradition during Christmas and New year Eve, looking for a tone.’
The glasses with wine are lifted and we made a toast: she on my arrival, I on her reception.
I start to tell her about Tony’s tour in Sydney. Finished with the little spider in the bathroom. Shocked, she warn me to be careful when I see a spider or a snake. Suddenly I can place the screen door when I was entering the house.
Jane tells about the service on Christmas night.
‘Always a full church. De sermon is every year about the same. Tolerance. Patience. Talking. No weapons. Love your enemies.’
‘The message that only with love people can come to each other…..’
‘…and as a religion person you start directly, in your neighborhood.’
At the same time I open both hands as a priest. She nod and smiles, looking for the matches to light the candles. I suspected a hand of her on mine but her attention is full to the action.
‘Yes, all people give the people next tot you a hand and say: I love you.’
She is speaking the words on a flat tone without looking at me and continue:
‘Your turn, as somebody who has no religion.’
When the candles burn again she put a finger on her glass, this time now and then a tone start to break through. I am looking at the dishes.
‘This looks so wonderful!’
She does not press to give an answer. Friendly she explain what is seen on the table. We are eating and drinking, talking about how to prepare several dishes. Suddenly she says:
‘I think you do not like people.’
It looks like a slip of the tongue and she continue talking again about the service.
‘You notice at such a moment you are connected with each other. Not only with people but also in your body…..how shall I say…a sort of vibration. Connecting everything with everything.
I think at the same time: now we move into the new age.
‘Why do you think I do not like people?’
It is possible that after seeing a film of me, she thought that journalism is the same as lovelessness.
She moved her head and guide her attention to the candles.
A short moment I see in her eyes a fire: you are guilty; you have no heart for other people! You miss connection as a non religieus person. But why? Where does this behavior come from?
Of course, it could be that I have no good controle about my appearance, tired from a long trip.
One of the candles is expired. She light it en bend over. Maybe the same movement she is used to do in the hospital over a bed of a patient.
‘Tonight we are connected!’
‘Yes. It is a pity that you leave so quick.’
I nod with a full mouth.
‘Do not forget to swim in the water. Tonight or tomorrow before you leave.’
‘Look Jane, as soon as water comes into my nose I think: I dy.’
‘You mean, you never swim?’
‘I just say that your loving friend of the past was so friendly to press my head under the water crane in the kitchen.’
She is looking at me with big eyes.
‘Water squirt in my nose, I thought I stitch.
Her eyes are even more big. She disrupt eating.
‘You will remember that of course. Waterboarding as punishment.’
At once I repent to talk about that. Jane is a nice woman. History is over. Same as a victim. As an adult you are responsible for your life. My breathing accelerate a little. I take my glas of wine. Jane want to pour.
‘Waterboarding….I cannot believe’, she shakes her head, ‘this story you project. Such a thing he should never do. I am sure. That….will come out of another direction. Maybe an excuus that you cannot swim?
Again she moves with her vinger around the glass. Quite a while we did not say something.
Suddenly she stands up and walks to the music corner. From a distance she say:
‘Talking about history is sometimes difficult.’
She is busy with discs.
‘Memories do not give the whole story of the past. What you said. Your view is deform. Can be changed by so may things in your life. Maybe it was a dream?’
A choir singing a christmas song is filling the room.
‘Bullshit, when you abuse a child you are guilty and if the action is underwrite or switched on by a mother she is also guilty. And when friends and family observe something is wrong they are also guilty.’
She walks back to the table.
‘I have no idea where you talking about. Guilty? I? Because…do you really mean that? What did I notice in your memory?’
I press the lips. Out of my eye angle I see that she stare at me.
‘You go to far. Do you think I knew….? In my opinion Richard and you had a strong relation. When you were young your brother was fond of you….’
‘As a catholic you end always with no guilty after a confession.’
All the kindness from before is disappeared. Information about my father I can forget. Christmas, peace. I apologize.
She walked back to the corner and a moment later the music is a little more loud.
‘I hope you did not come here with terrible stories and only hungry for information about your father. I have no photo if you are looking for it.’
‘Do not become angry Jane, just tell me everything you know of him. Even a little bit.’
‘Well, difficult….. how do you pick up what I say.’
She want to put a finger on the glass but stops.
‘Your mother said something about him…’
‘And you believed…’
‘Of course. There was no reason to doubt about that. Excuse me.’
She walks out of the room.
I pour wine in both glasses. Persisting now. Try to come back into the good atmosphere as before.
One of the tree candles is skew. I set it aright.
Suppose I offer to clean the table? No. The danger is to end into a conversation of gender patterns.
I am staring into the candlelight. The same candle skew again. I try with tallow.
She suddenly appear again. As an ouvreuse in the interval of a film in the cinema she walks to the table and put a plateau with cheese on it. My eyes moved automatic to the gap between her tits: a little green stone on a necklace.
‘Beautiful, you see? Maybe you saw this present from your brother when we left Holland.’
In one movement I want to pull it from her neck and throw it into the garden.
She invite the pieces of cheese. I am taking one and walk to the christmas tree. Too much balls are hanging in it and the peak on top is tanding oblique.
‘I noticed that you are art lovers.’
A moment later she suddenly appear close to me:‘Yes, very special. We saw the two paintings a long time ago on an exposition in Sydney. A woman who give birth to herself in many duplicates. They belong to each other don’t you think?’
We both smile.
‘Not me, thank you.’
At the table I want to help her with the third candle burn but she shakes her head.
‘Today I am trying to remember our relation in the past.’
‘I did the same in the airplane.’
‘You were a boy to cuddle.’
‘But you never did.’
I turn to the tree.
‘I did not? Do you want a drink?’
Maybe she want to give me a huge tonight. Who knows?
I nod and look at the electric candles in the tree. A quick tendency appear to take my hands around her neck and press her to tell everything she knows about my father. The last peace, even it is almost nothing, to squeeze out of her.
As in a film she want to withdraw herself and in a struggle we are falling against the tree; she burst her robe, the tree capsize en we plump on the stinging needles.
Behind my back I hear a glass with rattling ice cubes. A drawing appear for my face. I take the paper in one hand, the glass in the other and I am looking for my chair.
‘Thank you. Very impressive. This is my horoscope….’
‘The sky at the moment of your birth.’
‘How do you know?’
‘Your brother sent me the information.’
‘Clever, look like an artwork. Now you know everything of me, I understand.’
‘A bit. I had a short look at it.’
Her eyes, the intensity, again the fire, what information she took out of that?
‘Do I resemble my father?’
‘No idea. But you have problems with woman. You fight…may be…..against your mother in all the woman you see in your life.’
The silence that follows is getting a head load.
‘That..you pick this out of the drawing?’
‘Just combinations. Like I said before, people are connected with everything. And when a connecting is broken with yourself and that is possible with you, it can happen that your feelings are locked from inside. You will not notice that by yourself because you are stoic. You are living as far as I can see out of the wil of another person.’
She wavers for a moment before she speaks like somebody who is giving a consult.
‘The case is to let everything streaming again, say free. That means breaking chains and starting up connections.’
It is turning around in my head. Do I have to make notations? Connections, connected broken…
again connect, chains…yourself….
‘Transformation is the word! Something that will fit in this century of Aquarius.’
She speaks as an authority in unverified affairs.
I am taking an sup of the whiskey.
It does interest me what she said about the will of somebody. The power of another person. Now I have to be careful about what she will say, if I understand it.
She looks at me and smile. Does she prepare another attack? It is possible that she will not go sleeping before she is trying to suck the reason why he told her Richards action. With all possible tricks. If I lock my mouth she will chain me. Under her robe the handcuff are swinging, like christmas balls.
Her telephone is making sound.
‘And?…..Oh..no?…Feel good, yes of course……..’
She give me the telephone and disappear.
‘Tony, nice present for today I understand!’
‘Thank you. Before our match I thought what Jane said to me about your brother. You have to ask her more!’
‘He was fond of you. As a young child you were sitting on his neck and he played a lot with you….’
‘Just ask, she will tell you more, I am sure.’
Slowly I replace the phone. Questions? It will be better to take a shower right now.
I am staring at half a red ball with silver shine inside.
The peek on top of the tree has to be straight up! After a few tries I stop: every time it moves to
another direction. Unfruitful I look for a bird with a sharp waved tail of hard blades.
I pick up the horoscope and walk to the terrace.
From this paper she took information about him. In her smile she show her power, somebody who knows the mystery of the universe. Careful I set myself on a chair. So this is a supplement of nature and nurture. I look up to the almost dark sky with stars and a half moon.
Abruptly two hands go around my neck. I am stiffen while the hands move downwards. The vingers press rather deep to the bones. The squeeze is painful but not unpleasant.
‘Enjoy the massage. I try to relax some of your muscles.’
Her hands feel strong. Suddenly they release. I hear the sound of a chain on the table, get a shock at the moment the hands start again. She press my head forwards and I open my eyes. The stone is not far an seem to become bigger. Quick I close my eyes again.
‘Ouch, now you pinch very strong.’
After a while she knocks a few times on my shoulder and say that my muscles are too stiff. She propose a last drink inside. I follow her and see that she drops the chain on the salon table.
Why the massage? To squeeze his brother out of him?
Jane picks up the plateau with cheese and put it on the table.
I feel comfortable in my chair. The pianomusic is fine on the background. I stare at the chain.
‘Do you talk more free when I put it round my neck?’
The question is absurd. I want to take it and swing under loud shouting on the street and order the first car driver driving over it the whole night till grit rest. But it is still Christmas. Peace and pleasure.
With a smile I see that Jane fills my glass.
This memoir is important for her. Never forget me, Richard said.
Without controle my eyes are looking for the stone. It travels a little in my head. I press myself out of the chair, take a piece of cheese and move the glass. Now I do not see the stone anymore. Only something vague through the glass.
Jane brush her hair with a hand.
Maybe this is the moment to ask where Tony talked about. Or…not?
‘Your brother, how shall I say, does not use you as…eh how shall I say…’
The silent overlap the gab between two music tracks. After a sup I say as calm as possible:
‘As a trained dog, you mean. In the meantime I drop the glass on the table. I need free air, right away.
Before I can move out of the chair Jane’s robe fills my view complete. From above I hear:
‘Did you ever think over what he, as an old brother did for you? The heavy responsibility your mother gave him because of the absent of a father? Did you think about that?’
Her voice is friendly but very sharp. I press my lips on each other. What does she want?
‘Think all over what I said to you before. To restore the connection.’
In my head it turns around for a short moment but it is not alarming and simpel to control.
‘Start to look for your feelings….you miss something, you look like….a empty case!’
The last words are moving to all sides in my head as a pingpong ball. A moment I think that she was drinking to much. My head is very warm. I hit a scale when I want to pick up my glass. Chain and stone clattering on the tiles.
‘An empty case…’, I whisper.
Is everything turning around? Will she say that I am guilty? Guilty because I was born?
I want to press the Nana’s from rubber who are suddenly everywhere in the room. They have to peep of pain.
She has to listen to me. On a chair, fasten seat belts by sweeps and christmas ribbons. With the paintings through the head, the wrists locked with the chain, burning candles in her hands, balls around her ears, the peek in her mouth.
In that dress as a muck peace mission that want connect everything, for me she can go to heaven. I guilty? Did she say that really?
I grab the chain from the floor, come up with heavy effort, as if my legs are in a block of wood I hang it in one move around her neck. Panting I press her to my body.
What do I want from her? What..?
With my lips on her neck I bite in the meat. She shouts. Direct I start to kiss and licking this place. My fingers bend to claws and scour over her robe. Before she can do something I give her fast kicks in her face and delight direct that places. In one time I push off her body from me. She wobbles and falls with a shout in her chair.
‘Sorry, I say on a soft tone,’I hope I did not hurt you. Do not care about me.
Slowly I am turning around and walk to the corridor.
In my back I feel sting her big eyes.
I waggel out of the room. The swimming pool is not far.
The water has a nice temperature.