for A

Luncheon on the grass you with no clothes next to me in only my bra laughing about how literate we are, the advanced machinery inside my translucent nordic skin you caress as we make up all those demons and angels behind the trees, and even Icarus, looking up in the air but a sudden sunray makes you sneeze, crashed I’d say, poetry is a fundamentally human act just like crime, then in fact it was a perfect day to kill the moles the most low tech way by beating the hell out of the lawn with the back of a spade now let me first sweep the cake crumbs from your mustache.


Remember how we used to juggle red onions that fell from the freight to the nunnery, wisecracking, the road to the sinners was filled with abundance, so when we grow up we’ll be big‑shot fat lawyers or lobbyist, until daddy’d yell dinnertime and we washed the scent of sulphur from our purple hands.


I’m doing cartwheels in the kitchen, not to celebrate but to utilize this deep space you left behind, and neither to turn antennas towards your solar whereabouts, let alone for interplanetary missions, however, I did gesture your juvenile paper boy to come fair sweetie-pie, cartwheel together.


image poem friduwih riemersma

One by one, dipped on the line of the coast where shipwrecked mortals can land, thin necked melancholiacs, with belts put round to lug their soggy wallet, thus both hands free for balance, wiggled past our wallowing big mammals.

Had long-term sufferers from spleen’s bad fumes ever ensured artistic genius, now they failed to coax novel verse in new locales, cos before night could conceal raw nature from popular view, a ravenous flock flew in from east: gotcha.

The untrod shore proved plain cold mudflat, yet a fat man in a wheelchair sang West Virginia mountain mama Take me home, toting far out vistas of solo sea-voyages on the tactile bouncy tits of old, while in fact he’d never been there.

By morn they greased their white unshod feet and drew a sharp line between pleasure and the pastoral, at once stockpiling barbed wire for later remedies of god’s design indeed, love dispelled our flea-covered domestic with its whip.

Then each girded up his loins and gunned the homing birds at dusk, but unable to murder all, they roofed a bit of fresh peach gardens and below farmed heimweh in mother tongues that got lost under the sweeping sound of the ceiling van.

2019: Year of the Military Helicopter Crash
Without a Cause

‘Defence Blog’ ‘the report’ ‘a source in the Army’ ‘provincial governor’
‘Defence Ministry’ ‘police officials’ ‘Air Force’ ‘the new President’ ‘a
release from Marine Corps’ ‘the Navy’ ‘Best Care Ambulance Services
spokesperson’ ‘Air Force’ ‘the new President’ ‘their Ministry of Defence’
‘authorities’ ‘Army’ ‘the authorities’ ‘Senator’ ‘Brigade commander Col.’
‘Army spokesperson’ ‘a police officer from the National Police’ ‘the Air
Force’ ‘Naval News’ ‘the Military’ ‘National Guard’ ‘Interfax, citing the
Defence Ministry’ ‘a spokesman. The rules of his job do not allow him to
be named.’

‘According to’ ‘said’ ‘says’ ‘according to’ ‘tweeted’ ‘added’ ‘received a
call’ ‘tweeted’ ‘told’ ‘told’ ‘said in a statement’ ‘tweeted’ ‘reported’ ‘e-
mailed’ ‘said without providing more details’ ‘dismissed the claim as

‘Performing their military duty’ ‘routine training mission’ ‘during train-
ing’ ‘a routine training flight’ ‘in training area’ ‘on duty’ ‘training activity’
‘while reinforcing ground troops who pursued militants’ ‘maintenance test
flight’ ‘training flight’ ‘our army should not be losing people during games
and drills.’

‘Five people injured’ ‘at least 4 soldiers killed’ ‘2 killed’ ‘6 military
personnel and a civilian killed’ ‘killing all 13 servicemen on board’ ‘2
marine pilots died’ ‘all 3 crew members were safe’ ‘both crew members
seroiously injured’ ‘2 crew members injured’ ‘1 killed, 6 injured’ ‘killing
4 service members’ ‘at least one person killed’ ‘1 crew member died and
3 others were injured’ ‘2 killed’ ‘7 killed’ ‘killing all the 6 crew
members’ ‘all six helicopter crew members survived’ ‘2 service members
were killed’ ‘killing 13 soldiers’ ‘2 pilots were killed’ ‘crash kills all 3

‘No official statement has yet been issued’ ‘commission has been sent to
the crash site to investigate the causes’ ‘cause of the accident was under
investigation and declined to elaborate on the nature of the maintenance
test flight or the age of the helicopter’ ‘unknown reasons’ ‘reason of the
crash is under investigation’ ‘believed to have crashed due to bad weather’
‘not the result of enemy action’ ‘ground search and rescue operation was
launched’ ‘still under investigation and names will not be released until
possibly Friday’ ‘are investigating the accident’ ‘have yet to determine
the cause of the crash’ ‘due to pilot error’ ‘not immediately clear what
caused’ ‘under unknown circumstances’ ‘too soon to say with any
certainty what caused the crash’ ‘developed technical failure’ ‘ordered an
investigation into the crash’ ‘no immediate comment on the findings of
the probe’ ‘investigation has been opened to determine the causes’ ‘cause
of the crash is under investigation’ ‘cause of the crash remains unknown’
‘cause of the crash remains unclear’ ‘cause of the crash was under
investigation but that preliminary reports did not indicate it was caused
by enemy fire.’

‘God bless them’ ‘deeply regrets the loss’ ‘saddened to learn about’
‘crew displayed immense professional prowess’ ‘deeply feel the pain
of our losses with our nation’ ‘it was late Lieutenant Col.’s birthday on


image poem friduwih riemersma

An era has elapsed since the cutter ran ashore between the starfish, where they had the jib patched up, and as for the bowsprit bought a chunk of juniper from the nearby mill, because the soft wood does just fine boys, ha!

Yet one cretin hissed beyond repair, so they punished him by watches until morning came with rain, thus balefires never got epic scale nor vanished, and they couldn’t get the sea stars cooked before the soft limbs rotted.

All set to give her a trial on the water, raged a spring tide of the kind that whipes any hero’s footprints away, whereas divine augury forbade hoist the sails for weeks of hunger, they admired the giant olives over their bunks.

Laying uneasy on that beach in november gusts that numbed the ancient poets, o yes rightly cut the liars’ throats, but me not really sure if the white space in his tale had hurt, while I nibbled on the little buttons of his shirt.

Girls, it seems, forgive the jury rigs, in a minute you will tow your cutter past debris on the pink landing and at the promenade fence you’ll sit to untie your shoes and routinely bet on who, me you, pours the biggest heap of sand.


It is going to snow tomorrow,- even if today we only have bent weary gods who piss a mild drizzle that the cattle doesn’t mind, a watery sunshine slithers from their wet backs while the wind is still, dead calm until tonight so, though there will hardly be any draught in our cold chimney, no firing up the fire, we did not yet feel how the yellow breath crept over our doorstep, but we saw the goats withdraw, shivering into their shelter as they sense the thick grey nimbostratus nearing like a mudslide, the beasts fearing the arctic sweeps their little path of life,- we buttoned up another’s vests and called each other names, we swore tomorrow sure as hell, the rain will change to snow.


We stood in the shower for hours, making sauna as we called it, the little window closed with a bang and a big roll-up towel along the bottom of the door and as hot as you could bear the water on your skin, it was late one saturday evenin’ lord, after the sun went down,- either we’ve ceased singing, or the steam now a massive cotton candy muffles it all,- us human dice in a felt shaking cup, long gone the shampoo that stuck like creamy icing on your belly, wobbling at our soft and swollen watertoes like you and me the moons of jupiter.


Been caught melaniatrumping? copy & pasting from the most well known source globally AIR? texts good guy our dean the boss understands science goes attaboy big hands patting you’re my glamour professor but do not text him back at once as he must be in his chat with poor Marv who phoned me just when the first raindrops fell against my window screamed how he is screwed how every co-writer he was nearly sobbing is always screwed if their co-authored article gets retracted because their first author fucks up!

Helter skelter when you pelter, as if it is a cardinal sin come on not even a legal offense well yes an acadamic offence but basically a legal grey zone but give a me break how did he even know because only 20 minutes ago the editors emailed me not him Calm down Marv please I said cases of false allegations are incredibly frequent, bordering on epidemic levels, the internet you know makes reviewers and editors overzealous so Marv I said can we discuss it over lunch? but beep beep beep. Lunch is already scheduled I tell the department chair, wonder if she is my age or already in her 50s anyway too stuffy for #Your Writing Should Be Unique Authentic Original but she takes care of my travel expenditures and research grants

image short story friduwih riemersma

then let’s get it over with right away Eli, we wish to protect the reputation of the university OK I go between annoyance and anger I say may need your help mam, with this allegation from Comparative Politics Quarterly their two editors-in-chief never contacted COPE never proved anything and I am jewish of course I’m all for fighting ethics violations but it is costly as we all know we need an independent and transparent plagiarism investigation and I gaze at the rain pouring see we don’t want antisemitism as it will harm the institute. Can I close the door she asks I shake my head as if she has any authority over me but she smiles back yes she realizes:

you as accused although not of complete copyright violation but only of what they call patch writing so count your blessings you are part of the system that investigates you right? I feel sorry for her on her high heels oh spare me your statement of shock and sadness, your originality doesn’t exist because what you call invention is really adding something to what was invented already but the main point is that I am your most productive political researcher appreciate that I’m not wasting the day in Call of Duty if you want evidence take my laptop the electronic crime scene haha great artists steal ha our obessesive protection of scholarly work begins to mirror the absurdity of society.

Pardon me? she says and I say suffocate innovation! try to dwell on the red patches in her neck the dean loves anecdotes with a medical touch and beckons me shh! for his petite histoire a form of flattery it was he says my phd-thesis, I wasn’t lazy at all but doing homage to the original author who was a great man just like you and in addition those quotation marks are useless because specialist readers and that’s for whom we are writing aren’t we will immediately recognize the quotes and know their source so don’t worry and behind his back it still rains occurs to me forgot the umbrella but if some day he’d decide to fire me for academic theft, I can easily blackmail.

The Anti-Podcasters

Light off! ssh ignore the sirens try to ignore the sirens// we live in an age of radical uncertainty Ayn had said, because increasingly influencers let corrupting talk out of their podcasts and we all agreed but stuck to nonviolent means when Hoi said only such as is good for building up their narcissism, as fits the occasion// nothing to do with us just stupid police sirens all the time Ayn says low voice but it freaks me out// that it may give grace to those who hear Hoi had said

gross that is bible shit Ayn said. Her parents weren’t even married sure as hell didn’t go to church where Being present Need to keep life live Face to face communication is an actual connection of the souls// concentrate on your task Ayn hisses her command in the dark I think no one does dares girly bark is much worse than their bite typical// it is school shit too I had said this Real connection but socializing as merely trading typed superficial dialogue it starts right here at school trust me on this: those diet + detox products isn’t that all about how girls like us need to look and therefore we later get cancer

or worse. Boys too Hoi had cut in she was always a kind of an interrupter without genuine ideas and at this point I should’ve quit think they are fundamentalists at least had their balaclavas ready but in the end we all four agreed on this: podcasters are the new influencers and podcasts are mind-control techniques so clear goals and unwavering commitment is pivotal. Shan’t lose our ideals I had said I’m in the car then John she said Hate on the jaded! their armchair revolution their sanctimonious claptrap// Are we still on alert? Ayn says without really

asking in the pitch-dark I don’t hear John say Standing by// she John had mickey mouse voiced Why do humans seem so naturally ill equipped to survive in the eh and Ayn yeah we don’t need ahem Radical new concepts we need cyberattack and Hoi hacktivism yes denial of service! You bet John had said take control via malware// John? Ayn asking through new sirens wailing I squeeze my eyes shut Ayn says it’s not police only fire arms but I’m sure it gets louder they’re heading toward the school drive east// since John and me you’re sisters Ayn had said you are the special task force

for the plot as well as the bombs and but John stupid little faker couldn’t even hack one instagram account let alone blow up the entire internet had said wipe out the homo digitalis. Sacrifices to make Hoi wooed and Ayn not at all asking which// John! Ayn now wheezing must be shitting her pants as the sirens are definitely the cops// John lookout just now Ayn had me fetch our dad’s big clamping magnet the 139kg Pull one just do it Ayn said// siren now screaming and shouting outside big boots stomp in any minute like on tv Ayn where is John please and she just weeps o my god did you stick it on the server desktop?

Big Sire Don’t Cry

“Daddy cried.” My brother, above me in the bunk bed, had recently talked our mother out of tucking him in: one can’t just, well after his eighth birthday, mom, cram the elder son of the sire in the covers. No sooner had she sang See you in the morning! than he would let one foot dangle helplessly over the cliff. But I, tucked in extra tightly, couldn’t even think about a footsole tickle. My brother knew either this, or that he was stronger anyway. He was a liar too, and everybody knew. “Daddy cried,” he repeated, stressing both words.

“I’m not deaf!” I said.

image short story friduwih riemersma

“I saw him crying.”

“Liar liar pants on fire.”

“It’s true. It’s a fact.”

“You are a liar is a fact.”

“Listen. Dad cried, with tears and… you know… pulling a face.”

“Let me see your eyes.” If he lied, my brother’s eyes turned sneaky snake green. Everybody knew that too. When he told us true spooky scary stories that we didn’t buy, said he made it all up, or else show us your honest-eyes, he never wanted to take off his cap, and now, even in the summer dusk of our room, of course he would not have me see his eyes.

He got his foot up-anchored so quick it startled me. I didn’t think it was funny. “Tears you can also get from sneezing. Tears doesn’t count.”

“If someone dies you don’t sneeze: you cry. Just saying.”

“Nobody died.” Normally I wriggled in my inch of free space between the sheets until I could pull my bare legs up. But threshing about didn’t feel right when you discussed serious stuff.

“Even so he cried.” My brother lay still too. His foot had not plunged back over the cliff. “I’m telling you, those tears… go down… drop into his beard and you know… that cry-face, I really saw them.”

“No you didn’t, shut up.”

“Did you want to see my eyes?”

“No!” The big sire don’t cry.

Ab Fab

Everyone has their idea of what counts as cheating, darling. So she, eating your christmas box of cheap chocolate Nestle probably and full of chemicals must taste like gnarly oxycontin wouldn’t that already kill her? Wouldn’t it darling, even without any real proof of me here with your supersweet and sexy Knipschildts laying on the king size soft watching Patsy’s Othello syndrome or delusional jealousy. Wouldn’t it kill her already if say she knew it’s not the humidity in your secret little refuge in Punte del Este, the hot air that liquefies your chockies into a Daliesque togetherness landscape that we both love so much. If she only knew tu pequeño estudiante getting fat! If say you announced it would she bellow ¡a whoreson! and maybe fling one of her bottles cold from the fridge like you told me the spouse does? Absolutely would do darling. You know very well how article 36, if need be as any law professor is like sure solution fix doctrine your sudden rage escape. So she, nothing but booze between the legs and she knows doesn’t she? for ages that’s the reason she left you sonless. Too late now because all big coiffure and lovely boots and thin thin thin you told me so anally retentive she couldn’t sit down for fear of sucking up the furniture and hence at forty morbid envy. Say you’d just confess an unfortunate fetus following adultery and would she darling, o no cold blooded crime but still behead a bottle on you darling. Darling, would you then not just defend? and after all it would be heat of passion cos everyone has their own ideas.


One by one my mother pushes aside the coffee cups and saucers and there it is, the secret box, the loot box, the choice between the devil I know and no choice at all. She was—thus se had lured me—cleaning up here. It clogs up if you do not stay on your qui-vive yourself, because the home help scrubs around everything, s/he does not pick up any adventure. I do, I said. I like to come by with the rake, you know that. Yes, she said, something emerged. Now, she points next to the box, to a frayed brown bubble envelope. “The value is five euros and look, ‘attention objet fragile’ there’s written.”

“French for beware,” I say, “this is the damned family treasure that everyone hunts for as a murderous competitor?”

“I’ve already prepared everything.” She laughs, her almost eighty-year-old ears miss half. She strokes my arm and says that I am her dearest daughter, although she only has one, and she seems to have forgotten the rising action again. But when I reach for the envelope, she gives me a tap on my fingers. “You don’t even want it.”

“No,” I say, “no, it does not ask enough self-sacrifice, just give me the box.”

She acts delighted, airing well-chosen! “It’s a hologram, there’s nothing in it: but now you have to go out with me!”

“You also with me, haha. My coachman cannot read and my skipper is thirsty.”

My mother puts her forefinger on her pouting lips and the envelope on my lap. “Open up.” It is June and the sun is high and does not shine far into the room, but mirroring glass blinds me for a moment.

It is a dry needle, a blurry and fragmented landscape of postcard size, with meadows, water, a tree, a farm and a mighty horizon. On the back of the wooden frame with silver line is a frame maker’s label. Underneath it says that it is Foreest, by Lady Aleide van Foreest, with a vague year.

“A bit gothic,” I say, “far away, empty and strange. Hang it? Don’t tell me you want to go there.”

“Very sick. Not even forty and pregnant with Ibidem, as Nikolaas Beets called the egg, because she had already received eight.”

“Ah. Travelstory with children as a bulk purchase motif. Nicely postmodern mom, but how can you get to Foreest without wheels? ”

“What? I think down the Oude Rijn, Utrecht, Harmelen and further that way. Count on half a day by tow barge.”

“A barge! How does that end: the dullest means of transport that you could imagine, according to Beets, comparable to the bus today, and does his wife travel with that? ”

“Bus? I have already looked on the internet. She died.”

“Uncanny harbinger.”

“Don’t be ungrateful, you chose that box yourself… He married her ten years younger sister.” She opens the laptop.

“And they made some more pivotal figures for our public sphere. But going to Foreest requires a fierce optimist.”

“A heroine. Snow, winter, mud, darkness and terrible public transport. The only thing you never have to be afraid of when traveling as a native in your own country,” she says across her screen, “is your fear of heights. ”

“My fear isn’t that bad…”

She smiles at me happily. How often do I go out with her. Never. Sometimes a bit around the harbor.

You can, she says, go via Utrecht, me by intercity and she by bus from Bussum, then switch together to eh… and grab a rental bike at Gouda. We will, I say, perfect. But she bends even more crooked over virtual reality and says something about a puppet that you drag out of the margins of existence onto the map, but it jumps in the middle of the road, and cars loom up and there is no question of getting him to one side, like the avatar of a life-weary poet who fought on the wrong side. There is a bus you see, she says. À propos, the bus is the safest way of traveling, wikipedia writes in the Travel chapter. I say that it is not a chapter but an entry and that it also says that the bus is for freaks and paupers. Well then, she says, one day we proletarians will survive as the best adapted animals, let us be on time tomorrow morning… Wake me up when the London-Dickens-Tour and Marx & Engels-London-Tour will intersect, I say.

“Found it!” She claps her hands with the euphoria of when you have suddenly knotted the ends of the world together.” There is a bus all the way from the bus station here, so I can bike from the harbor, to Reeuwijk.”

“That is not possible.”

“There really is the boarding stop.”

“But I just came from there: only buses to Hilversum and Amsterdam.”

“Yes Hilversum Media Park. And then on. It is also on the sign. Do you want to see it?” She lifts the device from her lap.

“No, I believe you.” Still, I take the phone out of my bag. “Did you see it in real life?”

“No. Why? Isn’t it clear on Google Maps? ”

“Apple Map, remember, did not show Jerusalem as the capital of Israel—”

“Isn’t that not so far from the truth?”

“It imposed four-lane roads vertically on the apartment buildings, or do you think that this is propalestina policy too? It turned the entire Helsinki train station into a green park and filled in huge lakes and a stretch of Pacific Ocean.”

“But didn’t come up with any new bus services.”

“Ah. Good point. Steve Jobs has been spared that shame: the imaginary bus to Foreest.”

“No. Hilversum MP, bus company B. Blom, then via Nieuw Loosdrecht to the west, south of the Plassen, straight through Breukelen, then under the A2, past Kockengen and further along the N401 west to Bodegraven and then to the Reeuwijksehoutwal stop. Foreest is within walking distance.”

“Hohohoho. N401? Where? That cannot be. The 401 ends in the 212. It does not cross it. It doesn’t go further west at all. There is no road. ”

She coughs in her coffee from laughing. “You know what?” She lets Aleide slip into her envelope again. “You take the railway that Beets has polished and glazed—I take that bus. I’ll text you.”


The compartment its steel, plastic, aviation-blue upholstery and artsy decorations exude the cheapest ikea kitchen. I immediately put the phone on my knee and watch it intently; the other side of the aisle does exactly the same, mirror neurons. But only when I rock in Bijlmer ArenA mom’s first app arives: I have to transfer! Don’t get lost, I reply archetypally, otherwise take a taxi back—tell me where you are.

“In a square opposite to me,” she says, “is a building of snow-white tiles, with at ten meters height one violet stripe, but without windows, isn’t it strange? In front of it, there are no stones, but out of yellow earth palms stand against the sirocco.”

“Huh,” I re, “where are you?” The world goes mute. Times clash in the gothic travels and all the Foreest that Aleide has thought to leave safely in her dry needle, comes back extra nasty.

image short story friduwih riemersma

At Abcoude the telephone is finally tinckling again. “Do you remember the repaving of the dam, with millions of pebbles? It had to be done as quickly as possible, but for weeks on end all those young men on their knees for me.”

“Where are you?”

“In the bus.”

“:)” She usually has no respect for the rituals of direct and uncircular messages. “Exotic? Erotic innuendo (the knees)?”

“As a woman, you don’t sell a travel story without sexual intrigue. You write about freedom, that the men wouldn’t have been able pinpoint their own wife among everyone else in a Turkish bathhouse. You write: without clothes. Oh lala.”

“But: you watch out. You stay away from eat pray love. … I’ll soon be at Breukelen, you?” Here we would cross each other, she under my railway, I over it. Afterward, she would soon end up in centuries-old systems of ditches, gullies and canals with an endless high water level and thin ribbon villages upon poor dikes. A bus lane across it is a fairy tale so where is she.

“I don’t know.”

“Ask someone.”

“The women around me speak languedoc. Le sel dempastament pesook e grees entre los arbres blaoos, they say (shh. the surviving occitanistas do not like phonetic; tecnocracia). They have heard too often nous n’y voyons que de bleu. They are wearing yellow vests.”

“--where are you?? Women on the loose? Done with the woman as an incubator, the wife as a commodity? repentants, wannabe demimonde?”

“Oh no no. Not nearly that spoiled: no red patent shoes here. I think, tinkerers traveling from here to there in the hope of making our leaking pan set whole. I have to confess. A little while back my rice pan sent a mean thin squirt of water across the induction plate, but while my granny from the old dike wrung her hands in her apron, what now kid, with the spuds, I put it in the dumpster without mercy. The tinkermen are collectors of stories, verses. Information! Our travel is typically voluntary. But not theirs.”

“Well, I involuntarily chose a box.” She has staged it all and is probably sitting cozy and without cliffhangers with a buddy in her ford thunderbird.

“You write that women from Rotterdam, mother-in-law’s side, all wear different hats. They can clearly choose which hat. And that’s good you say.”

“i Also say,” I think of her Parisian years and the skinny street cat who came and went, “that wearing a hat is definitely cultural compulsion :( they can’t choose no hats.”

“Except in Foreest. I now get water on all sides here.”

“Then just walk to the driver and ask where you are.”

It takes a short moment. “She doesn’t want to mention the self-driving omnibus between Lelylaan and Schiphol! It is bright green here, a group of goats around a cart, otherwise bare, treeless. But here comes the paradox, you write: the heroic crossing of ever new frontiers cannot use a persona, say a tourist, who needs more help for the smooth embarking & exit experience than the omniscient daily commuter. As if we don’t wander, roam, ramble from simple escapism, but to learn something, from the drawling skies and a road that is now submerged… Where are you?”

“Almost at Gouda. Where do I find you?”

After a while her re comes in, that the exit is at the hockey club next to the highway, where white boulders lie in the grass.

“I’ll be there soon on the bike,” I text, “yippiyahee.” But she is offline. Last seen today at 06:10 it says.


The office deserts and vacancy bring me back to the bike child seat on mom’s handlebars, straight through the reconstruction of our provincial town. Homelessness was unbearable, so no time for structural plans and mom pedaling, in tears from the sharp building sand that blew us in the eye eternally. I jump off the bike. “What color is the bus?” I text.

Re: “don’t know because I’m in it.”

Re re: “;)) a certain outcome is an illusion, dixit Woman on Free Feet ^^.” Beyond the sports fields on the right, a pond begins and ends again.

And then, indeed, on the other side of the road there is a row of whitewashed roundstones on the verge, which are called shock blocks and, under the heading of own responsibility, normalize taking the curve way too hard. But no traffic from left nor right. It’s gone extinct here and I cross the shark’s teeth and hurl up the driveway to the parking lot for the hockey moms. Their dozen or so cars have plenty of space in theory, but have crept together in a heap, like woodlice in the shade. The birch trees and ash trees and even the cane bushes in the ditch around the parking lot are immobile. The sports canteen is closed. They don’t have a bicycle shed. I sprint back to the driveway.

When I look up from the locking up, the aubergine red rushes past me, its steamy heat sweeping through my hair. Hey! I hear myself scream. But the bus turns sharply across the parking lot, rushes towards me and comes to a shaking stop in the roadside opposite me. Its windows seem blank as the school trip bus at the end of the day, all the children and all the help mothers beneath the benches. This time, even the driver with the obligatory sorry face seems absent. Then the tires crackle in the gravel and fly away again in the direction where they came from.

From the rubber smell and Aleide’s tough cross shading my mom walks toward me. With a broad grin under her sun hat and both thumbs waving in the air, she trippers her victory dance on the asphalt.