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Beste paard

Verschenen in de Volkskrant, april 2015

 

Vorige week overleed mijn tweede ex-echtgenoot. Passed away, zoals de Engelsen zeggen. Dat klinkt milder, minder rigoureus. Wat is een adekwate vertaling? Hij is heengegaan, weggeëbd, verdwenen?

Voor mij was mijn ex al jaren uit het zicht. Sinds onze scheiding, drie decennia geleden, waren wij niet meer – ook dit klinkt beter in het Engels- on speaking terms. Zou ik de telefoondraad hebben opgepakt (hij sleet zijn najaren in Zuid-Frankrijk), dan had ik ‘alleen maar op mijn lazer gekregen’, zoals mijn oudste zoon waarschuwde als ik me weer eens sidderend afvroeg of ik ‘pappa niet toch nog eens moest bellen…’

Zoals meer oudste kinderen kende hij zijn ouderpaar als zijn broekzak. Niet alleen ontaardden onze laatste telefoongesprekken tijdens en na de scheiding in eenrichtingsverkeer, maar ook in één lange –steeds luidere – strafexpeditie.

Want ik was er de schuld van dat mijn ex zijn leven in eenzaamheid moest slijten. Ik had hem in de steek gelaten. Zoals ik ook tijdens onze verbintenis steevast in (door hem gefourneerde) boetekleden door het leven ging. Want het was mijn schuld dat hij zoveel van mij hield, die onbaatzuchtige liefde die ik met voeten trad. Bijvoorbeeld door hem tegen te spreken, het gezinsleven op hem onwelgevallige wijze aan te pakken. of even niet op zijn avances in te gaan. Ik ‘beet de hand die me aaide’ in plaats van met de mijne zijn eh, ego vaker te strelen dan me lief was.

Hield ik van hem? In het begin wel. Uit behoefte aan geborgenheid, omdat hij op Mastroianni leek en een grote kleurentelevisie had. Maar vooral omdat ik dacht –de biologische klok beierde- dat hij een goede vader voor mijn kinderen zou zijn. En en passant voor mij; we scheelden dertien jaar. Achteraf een ongeluksgetal.

In de kranten las ik zijn In Memoriam dat enige aanvulling verdient. John Vis bracht klassieke muziek dichter bij een breed publiek via prachtig samengestelde albums met Thijs van Leer, Louis van Dijk en Rogier van Otterloo. Zijn repertoirekennis was legendarisch. Hij was een ‘platenbaas’ en – producer met twee grote P’s.

Dankzij zijn vader die bloembollenkweker was met een voorkeur voor mediterrane flora, ging het gezin al in de vroege jaren vijftig naar de Côte-d’Azur. Daar maakte Sjonnie kennis met chansonniers als Charles Trenet. Live! Zo ontstond zijn liefde voor en kennis van het Franse chanson. Later, op eigen (mooie) benen, bivakkeerde hij enkele jaren in Parijs, speelde jazz op zijn saxofoon en trok op met Charlie Parker, zonder overigens zelf aan de drugs te geraken.

Wel ging een pikketanesie er altijd in. En ook later dronk hij lustig door. Nachtenlang zat het gezinshoofd, inmiddels directeur van CBS, platen samen te stellen en gingen er talloze long drinks doorheen. ‘ s Ochtends -zo om een uur of twaalf-, kreeg hij een scheutje cognac in zijn koffie. Met vier suikerklontjes. Daarnaast rookte hij menig sigaretje.

Het is nog een wonder dat hij het zo lang heeft volgehouden. In bed. Ik ken niemand die zijn leven zo lang liggend heeft doorgebracht, de laatste jaren aan verbittering ten prooi. Wel werd hij 86.

Maandag is hij in Frankrijk gecremeerd. Met als enig gezelschap zijn zonen. Volgende week zullen ze zijn as uitstrooien in de Mallorquinse zee. Vanaf ‘de punt’ zoals wij de steiger van het eilandje waarop het gezin de lunch gebruikte, noemden.

Nog goed herinner ik me een paella-maaltijd waarbij de ober was vergeten mijn ex te voorzien van een couvert. ‘El mejor caballo del establo!’ riep ik uit.

Onthutst keek de man me aan. Die uitdrukking bestaat niet in het Spaans.

 

Arm paardje. Blijf ook daarboven maar weer lekker liggen in je stal. In gedachten geef ik je vier suikerklontjes.


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    Mevrouw Oster, ik herinner mij een boek-omslag met ‘n blote Annemarie-op-stoel, geflankeerd door Man & Zonen. ‘n Prachtig portret, er ging een zeker onaantastbaar geluk van uit. Ik dacht toen, zo wil ik het allemaal óók. Is nooit gebeurd en naar ik begrijp was ook voor u deze idylle slechts tijdelijk. Naar ik hoop heeft uw leven nog prima partners “opgeleverd” die u waard(ig) zijn! (waren). Waar bemoei ik me mee, maar toch. Graag blijf ik uw columns lezen ; -raak, kritisch, met humor- & zo herkenbaar. In afwachting van uw volgend boekwerkje (!?) met vriendelijke groet, Anna.

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