Vertaald door Felix J. Douma
Boys we were - but the
good kind. Even if I do say so myself. We're a lot lot wiser now. It's pathetic
how wise we are, except for Bavink, who went crazy. There was so much we wanted
to change. We'd show them how to run things. We, that was our bunch, the five
of us. Everybody else was "they". "They," who understood
nothing and saw nothing. "What?" Bavink used to say. "God? You
talk about God? Their supper's their God." Except for a few good guys,
we despised everybody. In a very small voice, I now add to this: "And for
good reason too," but nobody's supposed to hear that. I'm not a hero anymore.
You never know whose help you're going to be needing sometime. Hoyer also agrees
that it's best not to rock the boat. You never see or hear from Bekker these
days, and Kees Ploeger talks about those queer characters who led him astray.
But those were the days of our absurdity. We were God's chosen people - God
himself, even. We're sensible now, again except for Bavink. Our eyes meet and
we smile, and I say to Hoyer, "We're not the men we used to be." But
Hoyer's pretty far gone. He's already associated with back-room boys of the
Social Democratic Party, and answers with a shrug and a doubtful spreading of
we were actually going to do has never been clear. We were going to do
something. Bekker had a vague notion that he wanted to demolish all offices.
Ploeger wanted to see his boss wrap up his own clocks, while he'd be standing
there with a cigar in his head to supervise, cursing the idiots who could never
do anything right. We were agreed on one thing, and that was that we had to
get out. Out of what, and ho? As a matter of fact, we did nothing but talk,
smoke, drink, and read books. On top of that, Bavink was having an affair
with Lien. Now that I look back, I think our bunch would have been tremendously
suited for being rich. But we all despised the idea of "having money"
- only Hoyer soon began to get other ideas about that. Bavink could never understand
why some people were allowed to drive around in carriages and wear expensive
coats and give orders to people who weren't any stupider than they themselves
were. You didn't see many cars then.
have plenty to talk about for whole summer nights long, leaning against the
gate of the Oosterpark. A person could have made enough money to buy himself
a set of furniture if he could remember it all. And there's so much being written
often we'd be less talkative, and sit on the sidewalk until well past midnight,
right on the pavement. We'd be melancholy and stare at the cobblestones and
look up at the stars. Then Bekker would say that in fact he pitied his boss,
and I'd try to compose a poem, and Hoyer would announce that he was going to
get up because the pavement was drawing all the heat out of him. And when in
those short, mild summer nights the black over our head paled a little, Bavink
would cradle his head in his hands and start talking, almost sentimentally,
about the sun. And we thought it was a shame to go to bed, and that you ought
to be able to stay up all the time. We'd change that, too. Kees would be asleep.
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17 november 2006