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Dini

Welcome at the blog of Dini Commandeur. I've written quite a lot of columns for various magazines. I also write short stories every now and then. These columns and stories are available for everybody at this blog. I'll release new columns and stories periodically.

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« Every day daddies day… | Home |

Hello babushka

Sunday 19 February 2017 Sixteen years ago Eric, a ten year old neighbor boy, asked me about my age and I answered in good conscience that I was forty-eight years old. “That’s old…”, he whispered, with respect in his voice. I laughed. Because I remember that, when I was Eric’s age, I found everyone over forty aged.

So I understood well, that with forty-eight in Eric’s eyes I had already one foot in the grave.
Although that grave wasn’t an issue yet, I was confronted with a  body getting older and I had to struggle against gravity. “You cannot stop aging, at the most delay it a bit. It is important to stay active,” an expert said. So I regular did stretch exercises. And every day I went outside because that is so good for the resistance. Further I followed singing lessons. Singing makes you happy and with good guidance it is good for the vocal cords and lungs. I went  to the library regularly too: reading is a must for the brain, it keeps the brain supple.
Last month I turned 64. And still I do everything what the expert advised so long ago. But the mirror shows that I’m not one of the youngest anymore and rickety lurs. That’s the way it is. Besides a color in my hair, I don’t want hassling with my body to look younger. No cutting in a healthy body, is my opinion.
Recently, on my way to the library, I met an acquaintance, someone of my own age. We had not seen each other for a long time, but he recognized me from far away he said. In his opinion I didn’t change through all these years and I still look young. Of course he exaggerated too much, but I received his flattering comments gratefully. When I walked into the library a little later, I felt like a young girl. Energetic and with my head in the clouds I walked through the reading room. Next to a tray with old books sat a young man. I had seen him often, apparently it was his permanent spot. He didn’t read, he didn’t speak, he sat there quietly staring, with his groceries bag next too him. He bothered no one and there was no one who paid attention to him.
Still in a good mood by the compliments of the nice acquaintance I passed the young man with buoyant step.  I caught his eye and nodded to him, smiled and greeted him.  A moment he looked surprised. Then he also nodded and said stately: “Hello babushka.”
And immediately I was with both feet back on the ground. A babushka is a Russian doll. That I knew. But I also knew the other meaning of babushka: grandma. And now I couldn’t conclude otherwise then that my complimentary acquaintance needed new glasses. And I had to think about my neighbor boy Eric who found me that old sixteen years ago. Then I had to laugh about it and now I felt such a laugh itch coming too. And softly giggling I walked on, while the Russian boy quietly left the reading room.




Translated from Dutch by Astrid Kostelijk and Piet Commandeur
February 2017


 

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