donderdag 23 oktober 2014

Harry

At the end of our street lived a family with real different features.
The man had the largest face I ever saw in my life, the wife was very cross eyed. We would make cruel jokes about her crying: the tears would run over one shoulder.
They had two children: a huge girl of which you could impossible estimate her age and a boy with red hair. He looked quite normal but in school they kept in him in grade 4 all the time.

In lunch breaks he would play with the little girls in his group. They made him their dog and he willingly played along because we, the boys of his own age, refused to play with him.
Sometimes we looked at him in amazement: his brains might be behind but his body wasn’t.
So his hairy private parts would peep out of one leg of his shorts.

During holidays he would try to get along with me and my friends. We would not accept him, but he would follow us anyway. And sometimes things would go wrong. Like the time we played hide and seek on a building site. We heard a bang and saw him with blood all over his face. There was only one thing I knew to do. I kept my hand on the gaping wound as if this would help to stop the bleeding and brought him to my parents. My father took him to the hospital and he got a few stitches. The turban on his head made him feel proud.

I remember when I played cowboys and indians with my German friend Claus. He kept harassing us while we were sitting in our wigwam. That only stopped when my friend got a horrible mask out of the living room. It was an Asian one with snakes instead of hairs. He put it in front of his face and really scared the shit out of him. Crying he went home. The mother was stopped giving us a lecture by my mother who had witnessed the scene.
Once or twice I became invited on his birthday and I always made up excuses to leave very soon.

Children are rude. The mother always got stuck with the cake and lemonade.
After I went to high school things went wrong with Harry. He became aggressive and it was impossible to keep him in school. Instead he was kept in a chair in front of the window, full with tranquillizers. On good days he would wave at you, but normally he would just sit there with the drool on his chin. Once in a while his mother cleaned him. People in the street said he was wearing diapers. It was hard for me to imagine.
After a few years he must have got an overdose of his medicine or his system just couldn’t cope with it any more. So everybody living in our street went to the funeral.
It was a very sad occasion. Parents shouldn’t bury their children.

The sister hardly understood what was going on, she was delighted by the interest people showed to the family.
Harry’s mother asked me in a few days later. She gave me the favourite toys of Harry. It was a set of plastic knights and squires. I didn’t want to be rude and thanked her for these.

I could still see the drool of Harry dribbling from them.
I didn’t tell anyone at home about this gift and let the bag with the ancient plastic people disappear in the bin.
For some time I felt guilty about doing this and expected that my parents would discover what I did.
But nothing was said about it and after some time the memory faded away.
Just a bit like the memory of Harry, I must admit.
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