Monday, 5 September 2016

The Garden of Unreality – 6. Sorrow


Here the tale came to an end, but some weeks later I happened on its sequel. At first, I’d missed it, because it wasn’t written on loose sheets of paper like the former story. In the bundle I’d saved from the garbage there were also several booklets with children’s tales which, at first, I ignored in favour of notes, letters and the odd postcard. Their content proved disappointing, a desultory correspondence between relatives about their everyday affairs without the slightest reference to the disappearance of the two children.
One night, I was half-heartedly flipping through the pile of booklets, when, suddenly, I stopped short. On the inside cover of one of Blackie’s Large Type Supplementary Infant Readers someone had pencilled a longish note in a hand I easily recognized.
Here’s what I came to read.

Part VI – Sorrow

Last night, I was dreaming of aunt Ann. She came in from the street and called:
“Li'l brother, li'l sister, I’m home!” and she walked through the hall and put down a big parcel and two much smaller ones on the high chest against the wall.
Unbuttoning the top of her suit she called to us again.
“Ooh-hoo, where are you?” and she clapped her hands and laughed.
“Come, children, I’ve brought you a treat.”
Then she noticed the open door to the basement and the light still on. She descended the stairs and looked around intently. Of course, there was no one there.
She rushed through the house, inspecting every room and closet and, at last, she ran out into the street and circled around the blocks of houses behind the concert hall. When she failed to find us, she went back home and sat down at the kitchen table for a heartrending sob. In the end, she rang our father and mother, who came rushing headlong to Amsterdam.

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