Uit: The Bookshop on the Shoeek.
“So, tell me about the crying?” The woman sat, kind but formal, behind the tatty scuffed old NHS desk. A poster on the wall suggested a confusing acronym that you would have to remember if you thought you were having a stroke. The idea that you would have to remember an acronym while also having a stroke was making Zoe very anxious, even more than being there in the first place. There was a dirty Venetian blind just about covering a bunker window that only looked out onto another red brick wall, and coffee-stained rough carpet tiles. “Well, mostly Mondays,” Zoe said, taking in the woman’s lovely shiny dark hair. Her own was long and dark too, but currently tied roughly with something she hoped was a hair tie and not, for example, an elastic band dropped by the postman. “And, you know. When the tube is late or I can’t get the buggy in the carriage. Or someone tuts because I’m trying to get the buggy in because if I don’t take the buggy I’ll be an hour late even though he’s too big for it and I know that, thanks, so you can probably stop with the judgemental looks. Or when I’m caught up at work and I can count every minute of how much it’s going to cost me by the time I’ve picked him up and it makes the entire day’s work worthless.
Or when I think maybe we’ll take the bus and we just arrive at the stop and he shuts the doors, even though he’s seen me, because he can’t be arsed with the buggy. Or when we run out of cheese and I can’t afford to get more. Have you seen the price of cheese? Or. The woman smiled kindly while also looking slightly anxious. “I meant your son, Mrs O’Connell. When does he cry?” “Oh!” said Zoe, startled. They both looked at the dark-haired little boy, who was cautiously playing with a farm set in the corner of the room. He looked up at them warily. “I … I didn’t realise,” said Zoe, suddenly thinking she was about to cry again. Kind Dr Baqri pushed over the box of tissues she kept on the desk, which did the opposite of helping. . . . and it’s “miss”,’ said Zoe, her voice wobbling. “Well, he’s fine … I mean, a few tears but he doesn’t . .”Now she knew she really was going to go. “He doesn’t . make a sound.”
At least, thought Zoe, after she’d cleaned herself up, slightly gone again, then pulled herself back from the brink as she realised to her horror that the NHS appointment they had waited so many months for was nearly up and she had spent most of it in tears and looking full of hope and despair at Dr Baqri, Hari now squirming cheerfully in her lap. At least Dr Baqri hadn’t said what people always said . . “Einstein, you know . . .” began Dr Baqri, and Zoe groaned internally. Here it came: . . didn’t talk till he was five.” Zoe half-smiled. “I know that, thanks,” she said through gritted teeth. “Selective mutism … has he suffered any trauma?” Zoe bit her lip. God, she hoped not. “Well, his dad . . . comes and goes a bit,” she said, and then slightly pleadingly, as if wanting the doctor to approve of her, added, “Th-that’s not unusual though, is it? You like seeing Daddy, don’t you?” At the mention of his father, Hari’s little face lit up as it always did, and he poked a chubby finger enquiringly into her cheek.”
De meizon – die
alle dingen imiteren-
die kleine blaadjes lijmt aan
de houten bomen
scheen vanaf de hemel
door blauwwazige wolken
op de grond.
Onder de lommerrijke bomen
waar de straten in de voorsteden
met huizen op elke hoek,
waren verwarde schaduwen begonnen
zich samen te voegen
met de rijbaan en de grasvelden.
Met uitstekende precisie
richtte het tulpenbed
binnen het ijzeren hek
geel, wit en rood op,
omzoomd door gras,
Vertaald door Frans Roumen
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 14e september ook mijn blog van 14 september 2020 en eveneens mijn blog van 14 september 2018 en ook mijn blog van 14 september 2017 en ook mijn blog van 14 september 2015.