“Mom”, I call her as soon as I enter. I’ve done that all my life. First find out where mom is. “Woohoo, we’re here,” she calls back. I’ll hold back. As long as by “we” she doesn’t mean my brother Casper. I see that enough now.
But ‘we’ is the neighbor. A small, slightly weird man. He seems constantly confused. Not strange to have such a neighbor if you live in an assisted living accommodation, but strange that my mother likes him so much.
“I wanted to ask you something,” I say after greeting them both. “No,” she says immediately. “No, we already tried that once and it was not successful,” she explains. “I only thought about the weekends.” “Only you?” “No, also the twins and the dog.” “The twins are okay, the dog is not.”
“What is this about?” interrupts the neighbor. My mother laughs. “Sorry. That’s how we’ve been talking since Bas could talk. Our ping-pong language. Bas is getting a divorce and is now looking for a house where he can be with the children. Both his wife and his mistress have no interest in him.” I smile sheepishly. “It’s my girlfriend and it’s especially my daughter who doesn’t feel like being there.” “I say that,” my mother replies.
“So it’s possible here?” “For two months; only the even weekends.” “How tough you are. I am your child.” “That’s exactly why. I need my space to keep loving you.”
Sara is holding off on living together. “You want to live with me while you are still married to someone else,” she notes. I nod. Sara always said I wasn’t welcome until after the divorce, but now I have nowhere else to go. I would prefer to have something for myself. A nice penthouse or something, but unfortunately that is not financially possible. Sara still hasn’t said anything. “The divorce is not long in coming,” I say quickly. “The appraiser is coming.”
She visibly brightens. “In that case…” “Yes…?” I ask hopefully. “In that case, I think it’s a good idea. Then we can often work on our project.” “Our project?” I ask almost innocently. “The Little Swimmers.” I hug her.
A few days later I wake up sobbing. I know right away: it’s wrong again. Sara has had her period again. She is sitting on the floor in the bathroom. Her legs pulled up with her arms around them. She gently rocks herself back and forth. Next to her is the panties with evidence. I sit next to her and put an arm around her, she lets herself attack me crying. “I had hoped that this time it would be hit,” she sniffles.
I stroke the loose hair from her face and make soothing noises. “I understand, honey. I also want nothing more than to move on with you and our baby. But give it time! We haven’t been around that long.” Sara starts to cry even harder. And I continue. “Maybe we should wait until things calm down a bit. Now there is too much stress.”
“New! We just have to try something different”, Sara counters. “Another position?” I ask jokingly. Her gaze silences me. “I want you to be tested.” “To test?” “Yes, a fertility test.” “Well, I don’t think that’s necessary. I have twins, remember?” She looks at me pleadingly, but this time I stand firm. “Really, let’s wait until the stress of the divorce is over. You will see that it helps.”
To move house
That Saturday I’m moving to my mother’s house by appointment. The kids come after their sport. She is not at home herself, but out with the neighbor. She sees him a little too much for my taste. I wander aimlessly through the house and decide to check on my daughter on the hockey field. She always loves it when I come to see her hockey.
When I have locked my bike and look around, I see in the distance the dark tail of her friend Liv who is on target. Happy I walk to that field. But the closer I get, the more I doubt whether it is the right field. I don’t see Spring. Do I need glasses sometimes?
She is not in the other fields either. During the break I shoot Liv. She shrugs nonchalantly. “She said she had retired this season.” Surprised, I call Anouk. „Stopped? No, she will train twice a week.” “She hasn’t been there, either, according to Liv.”
“But where is she then?” “Maybe you should watch your kids a little better,” I snap and hang up.