“As a child, I had my mother tell the tragic story of the drowned boy over and over again. It had impressed me so much. Especially when my mother and I went shopping and walked past the fountain in question, where the drama had taken place. I myself was less than a year old when it happened on October 4, 1979. My mother was sitting with me in a lunchroom on the square at the Presikhaaf shopping center in Arnhem when she saw an ambulance arriving. The waitress said that a toddler had just drowned and died in the water of the fountain.
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My mother was totally into it. And she stayed that way, for a long time, because she was always confronted with the – now closed – fountain when she went shopping. Animal Day also became a loaded day. As I got older, I told my friends about the incident while we were at the mall. It stayed with me. Strangely enough I couldn’t let go.
When I was a teenager of fourteen – it was now December 1993 – I was at the house of a friend from the street where another girl and three boys from her class were visiting. That girlfriend tried to hook up all of us. Nice, then we were three couples. I did not like the person she chose for me. I secretly caught my eye on Peter, who had actually made them up for someone else. We started dating a week later when he invited me to walk under his umbrella in the rain.
Not long after that, Peter came to our house once. I don’t know exactly the reason anymore, but Peter told me and my mother that as a child he almost drowned in the fountain in Presikhaaf. We were shocked, because the story was very similar to our memory of the drowned boy, but with a different outcome.
Yet it turned out to be the same event. Peter said he was with his mother at the Blokker that day and slipped away when she put him on the floor for a moment to pay. The weather was fine and all doors were open. The water had an enormous attraction to him. His mother found him there too: his lips were already blue at that moment and there was no pulse.
Bystanders tried to pull Peter out of his mother’s arms, thinking he was dead and she hugged him. She had turned everyone off and continued to resuscitate him. Bizarrely, the week before she had watched a video about resuscitation of drowning people. She had continued until the chocolate milk he had drunk earlier that afternoon came out of his nose. She had saved his life with that.
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A fantastic end to a horrible history. I was just in shock because of his version. I grew up with a memory of a child who passed away so sadly that I could never forget. Not knowing that years later I would fall in love with the exact same boy.
Since then, Peter and I have been inseparable. We have already lived in many places in the world. At the beginning of 2011 we moved to Sint Maarten and got married there in 2013, about twenty years after our first real meeting, in the presence of our loved ones on the beach in front of our house. In 2015 we moved to Curaçao, where we now run our law firm, and in December 2016 our son Dex was born.
I am very grateful to my mother-in-law for her mother-primal strength. She managed to beat everyone off to save her child when he was supposedly already dead. That day she also made sure that my life is right. ”
This article is in Kek Mama 11-2020.
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