Avonturen in de Stille Zuidzee by Willy van der Heide

By Willy van der Heide

Drie jongens mogen als beloning voor een goed rapport een zeereis maken op een nieuwe vrachtboot.

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And give it to one of his girls, all those girls he said he was well aware she imagined that he had, hidden away. Then he looked at her, with his head back, fiercely smiling and showing his teeth, daring her to call his bluff. For it was a bluff, about the girls, about there not being any, she knew it, and he knew she knew it. That was a way of lying that amused him, saying a version of the truth in tones of high, mocking irony so that to challenge him would be to seem a hapless dolt. Her eyes are growing used to the blinded dimness.

It is not that he hates or even resents her, as so many mortal sons are said to resent and hate their mothers—they should try dealing with our frenzied and vindictive dams, up here on misty Mount Olympus—only he does not think she is like a mother at all. She is absurdly young, hardly twenty years older than he is, and seems all the time to be getting younger, or at least not older, so that he has the worrying sensation of steadily catching up on her. She too appears to be aware of this phenomenon, and to find it not at all strange.

He fears premature burial. There is no pain. In the pain department he feels nothing. Or not nothing, exactly. He has an awareness of something, a dinning and hammering deep inside him, the surely agonising effects of which register only as a distant rumour. He is trapped in the celestial dentist’s chair. Yet why is he not content with this state? Is it not the apotheosis he always hankered after, to be pure mind, mind unalloyed? Whirling and whirling his thoughts go, like the so many grains of grit swept up in a dust-devil.

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