You ignore the waving away gesture and stare around helplessly. The headmistress gives you a questionable look. “Still here,” she inqueres.
You ask her where you can find a bed. The answer seems very simple: “Upstairs, room fourteen.” You don’t want to sound like a complete idiot, so you don’t ask which way to go to find it.
Uncertain on your way to the nearest staircase you meet Maria and lots of other saint figures. One more threatening than the other. None of them very welcoming. All of them looking down on you.
Legs thin as matchsticks carry you up. Halfway the staircase you stand still, just to figure out that you have a long way to go still. Up, and is this life. You gather strengt and carry yourself up up.
Room fourteen is to be found at the end of seemingly endless hallway. Each door is numbered with copper numbers. Each figure polished so that it shines almost like gold. Above each door a cross, with a sad looking Jesus who died for us on the cross.
Finally. A bed. And then a feverish sleep.
You don’t know when exactly, but you wake up in the dark. The room feels strange. Each of your awakening senses screams that you don’t belong there. You lack the strength and the desire to get out of the bed, so you waste slow running time, until you have become adapted to the dark.
Dark contours draw the shape of a wardrobe, a chair and a writing desk. That’s about it. Only later –who could have guessed?- you notice yet another cross and sad looking Jesus above the desk. The room is filled with a damp silence. There is a rectangular box on a small side table in the corner. Curious about what could be in it you get up. You are startled by the closeness of everything in the small room. From your bed to the side table is only three restrained steps. And then you bump your big toe against the table leg. Not that it hurts, the veins in your arms are still swollen from the pain medication, pumped through them until recently .
But ballyhoo resounds terrifyingly through the hallway. Cautiously you backpedal. You lay on the bed and wait. Just long enough to make sure that no one has heard you. Your heart is beating in your throat for the second attempt. Feeling your way around, you notice that it isn’t a box, but a radio. A radio that charms a smile on your face. You’re not exactly sure why, but an ordinary radio seems to make you very happy. In your dozy head you start painting a picture of how the thing works. On, off, volume, cassette deck, fast forward, rewind,…
You hope that you have in right, you put the volume on zero and with a gentle touch you push the on button. You got it right. The radio stays muted. From behind the tuning scale a soft orange glow falls on your hands. It fills the room. And then you do something that you will look back on from time to time, later life. How was it possible, you will ask yourself, that you forgot everything, except that.
You turn the button on the side of the radio. And you know exactly where the tuning needle is headed for. You even whisper it as you turn and turn: “Radio Hurricane. 104.7”
With the accuracy of a watchmaker and one ear close to the radio you adjust the volume. Only slightly, just so you can hear everything.
And there it is. A familiar voice.
“Children, close your ears for just a moment. Because this is our ‘porn slow ballad’ for this week. I give you Gemini with L’Amour Interdit.”
Right until his very last broadcast D.J. Hurricane would do that on a weekly basis: ask the children to close their ears for a moment . What followed was often French, sultry, sticky sweet and overdosed with moans and sighs.
The porn slow ballad: a genre in itself. And, according to Hurricane Willem, fiercely underestimated.
What follows in the room is not sticky sweet. Unnoticed a ghostly presence steps into the room. And it uses half of the room to launch itself. Just to make sure that this will be a moment that will linger on for a long time to come.
Fortunately you’re prepped to withstand quite some pain. And you succeed barely an not very stylish to make a safe landing with the radio like a baby in your arms, after being catapulted over the side table.
“Here at Child’s Joy we ask if we can turn the radio on. Take note of that!”
Next he firmly grabs one of my ears.
“Do you understand?”
“Yeeess, auch….” It appears that there are limits after all to the powers of pain medication.
“Yes, I Don’t Know Who You Are.”
“And how do you address someone you don’t know?”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t know who, Sir!”
“You just earned yourself your first week of confinement to your room.’
The ghostly presence disappears. And faintly in a corner in of the room you hear the Hurricane announcing the next song: “Dear listeners this one is especially for all of you. Ian Dury & The Blockheads met Reasons to be Cheerful part 3.”