Tag Archives: door

Storm

That’s how my memory starts.

Me, shivering and sitting on my hands, clenching my butt cheecks together, and staring past my grandma, who smiles at me, towards the window. There is a storm outside and I’m watching the dark clouds and the lightning and the rain hammering against the window and I would rather be outside.

Grandma smiles. She says „It’s okay, we can call the police soon.“ When she finishes speaking her lips are just flat, dry, gray pancakes pressed on one another and I look away from her, back down to the wet, black, moving mass on the ground.

A heap of dirty laundry, but moving every few seconds.

I was 3 when dad went to the shelter with me. Some of it I remember, some of it he told me afterwards. Dad tried to get me to pick a cat, but I walked right by the cats towards the dogs. Some were pushing against the metal bars, others just sat in the corners of their kennels and then there was that dog, some pitbull breed, and I put my hand through the metal bars and before dad could pull me away the dog had his head pressed against my hand and I must have giggled like rarely before or after.

So we got Vitaliy. Continue reading

It just won’t stop ringing

It was always there. When I was young it came rarely, maybe when I was close to crossing the street and hadn’t looked left and right yet, or when I left a sharp knife on the kitchen counter, or that time when I was at the supermarket and there was a man that kept following me for four or five aisles, until I found mom again.

I think it somehow connects to my intuition. I’ve heard others describe that they can feel a shiver on the back of their spine, or that the hair on their arms stands up when they are nervous. For me the only time the hair stands up is when I’m cold.

And else, when I’m scared, there is the bell.

I can’t remember the first time I heard it. The first memory I have of hearing it, when I was at my grandmothers’ place at the strange round pile of stones, and I was digging through the stones to look for rabbit babies, when it was ringing, thundering in my ears, I wasn’t surprised or scared. I must have heard it before. It started ringing, loud and clear, and when I kept digging it got louder, as if a huge church bell was slowly moved closer to me, ringing more vigorously and faster with every single stone that I pulled to the side.

Maybe grandma heard the bell too. I remember she came running, screaming for me to get away from the well. I was on top of some of the stones. And the stones started moving. And grandma grabbed my arm, but my legs, they fell with the stones and hit against the wall. I remember how grandma’s arm shivered when she pulled me out of the hole. She was old then already, maybe 60 or 70, and she was the same thin that she has always been in my memory.

“Hold onto me,” she said. “Hold onto me.”

And below us, far below, I heard the stones hitting a hard floor. Continue reading

The Museum

Right out of school I wasn’t really ready for life yet. I needed to get out; get away – see the world, and if the money wasn’t enough for the world, then at least my own country.

I stumbled into him on the way South. A kind lady threw me out on a country road – and he was already there, lying in the dry grass with a cheap grin on his face.

“Been here for an hour,” he said. “Hard spot to catch a ride.”

We talked. Shared a cig he had stolen from his last ride. When there was still no car in sight – at least none that would stop – we walked side by side, our loose shoes sliding over the dirt in unison.

The heat was bad, but worse was the lack of prospects. No cars in sight and only an occasional house interspersed between the large fields. Max saw it first. The blue sky was still above our heads, but a front of gray was approaching from the horizon.

“Better find some roof,” he said.

We had passed the last house nearly twenty minutes ago. The next one, a large building with white walls, was not that far ahead. We pressed on, with larger steps, while the front of gray already swallowed the color of the land.

A large sign, nailed against the fence. The first word must have fallen off, but most letters of the second one remained:

“Muse m” Continue reading

Nola

Stijn scrambled out of his room into the living room and then behind the couch that I was sitting on. I noticed he had something in his hand when he came in, but he’s five now and I thought that it wouldn’t be anything dangerous. I heard him playing and laughing behind me while some soap opera played on.

“Don’t move,” he said.

That made me curious. I just wanted to see what he was playing with.

I leaned over the back of the sofa and he was sitting there with something white in his hand. It took me a moment to understand what was in front of him on the carpet; that there were the bones of a complete human leg and that he was just putting the last toe in place. Continue reading

Blackout

They kicked the front door in, screaming for me to get down.

Only when one of the officers turned me over and pulled my arms behind my back, only then, with my face shoved into the pillow, did I feel the massive headache.

They were pulling me out of our studio and when we were on the stairs I finally woke up enough to turn and shout for Reana to wait, that I would come back, that it must all be some mistake. In about the same moment an officer said that it was no mistake while I realized that Reana wasn’t in the room.

I’m trying to reconstruct it all, I tried in those four hours of questioning, and I’m still trying. But there’s nothing to reconstruct. But there’s nothing in my mind to reconstruct. We were on the couch, watching TV and waiting for the fireworks shows. She was cuddled up against my chest and had a blanket wrapped over her feet. We were speaking the countdown together with the announcer on TV. There were the first fireworks. We raised our champagne glasses – and then all is just blank. Or maybe rather black. It’s a black curtain that’s blocking me from my own memories.

I didn’t drink any alcohol before midnight. I don’t even remember drinking the champagne, but they still found a blood alcohol level of 0.2 % – in my body, not in hers. Continue reading

Barnam House

TRIGGER WARNING: Child death; violence; abuse.


Let me tell you a story about a place you know.

You know Barnam House.

Everyone I ever talked to about it, they all knew the Barnam House. Most don’t remember where or when, but they heard talk about it or saw the pictures or watched the documentary. And when I describe it, the large white doors, the high walls, the walls with flaking blue paint and the yard outside, always immaculate except for that one, longish patch of dead plants – then they remember. They see the picture again.

I bet right now you can see it. The old trees slowly moving with the wind, the wind whistling and howling past, and of course that one top window shutter that keeps opening and closing, opening and closing, but not in the same pattern as the trees move or the wind whistles.

The Barnam House. There are different stories about it. Some say the Barnams simply left, from one day to the other. There was something they feared and so they left without ever telling anyone. That’s why, if you look through the shutters and you’re lucky enough to have enough light, you can see that there are still plates on the dinner table. Continue reading