Vorige week deed Film- en Podcast-maker Yara Hannema een oproep aan haar luisteraars om je puberdagboek met haar te delen. Ik ging op zoek in dozen met documenten uit mijn verleden en kwam teksten tegen uit 1975. Die heb ik ingesproken als audiobestand via WhatsApp en vanaf vandaag kun je mijn bijdrage beluisteren in aflevering #29 van ‘Wie ben ik echt?’ via jouw favoriete podcast-speler. Bijvoorbeeld via Apple Podcasts of hieronder via SoundCloud.
Who am I really in times of Corona?
Last week, Film and Podcast maker Yara Hannema called on her listeners to share their adolescent diary with her. I searched boxes of documents from my past and came across texts from 1975. I recorded them as an audio file via WhatsApp and from today you can listen to my contribution in episode # 29 of ‘Who am I really?’ Via your favorite podcast -player. For example Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud.
Because the Podcast is in Dutch, I publish the text in translation for my English-speaking followers below, with an introduction to the context of the story.
My name is Huub Koch. I was born in Rotterdam in 1956. My father and mother were forty. I have no sisters or brothers. A lot of nieces and nephews. And a handful of friends.
It is 1975. I am 17 years old and have been living on my own for half a year. In a squatted house in the center of Schiedam. A bit friendlier and more relaxed than in Amsterdam at that time. Young people, architecture students, and artists. We see each other every day.
I write poems – and stories for a local magazine. I have just finished my studies with photography, video, and painting.
On a Saturday my neighbor’s sister comes to visit me. We know each other. She brings her friend. That moment strikes like a bomb. I have never experienced anything so intense.
September 7, 1975
Full of uncertainty I went to Annette in Amsterdam, to make it clear to her that I am terribly in love with Elisabeth. Annette understood the situation, she had assured me. She took me to Elise’s house, as everyone calls her. My heart pounds when I step on her doorstep. But … she’s not there. Also at the physio where she is doing an internship.
Annette has to go on to do the shopping. “You now know where it is, good luck!” I stroll around the neighborhood. The third time I ring the door, she opens the door. There she was, at the top of the stairs. She tells them that she has to leave again in five minutes, to acting class. But I can stay if I want. Nothing better than that.
After she left, I looked at the photo books she had put in front of me, and the reproductions of paintings on the walls. She lives in a secret annexe – an ‘Achterhuis’ – (Just like Anne Frank) on the first floor of a house above a butcher shop. Ramses Shaffy lives right in front of her.
After three hours she is back home and we start talking. It feels safe. I let her read in the manuscript of the book I’m working on. Hoping she’ll make it to page nine, where I describe that I’m in love with her. To make matters worse, Annette also “comes by coincidence”. But she soon realized that Elise was only on page three. She quickly left the house. I no longer keep desperate and blurt out what I want to say. She had thought something like that and is not sure how to react. I wanted to know if this feeling is mutual … Softly she says: “that we like each other tenderly is enough”.
September 24, 1975
“You shouldn’t praise me or put me on a pedestal,” she tries to make clear to me. It made me feel horrible to lose my crush – to be naked. “Maybe you don’t want me if you really get to know me,” she added. It hurts me, my own confusion. I thought again of my father’s words: “love gives you an idea of what reality is, but it hurts to free you from falsehoods.” – Even though I’m close to you, it seems like we’re miles apart. Is letting each other free real love?
December 4, 1975
I had tried calling Elise on Friday for hours. She was home late at night and recorded. As honest as her words were, it was staccatos that loosened my last grip. She said, “I’m glad to feel calm again – and I don’t want anyone to disturb that.” I felt that I had lost something that had never been mine. It was my own loneliness that seemed to overwhelm me. I was in the trap of powerlessness, but I had dug that pit myself.
December 7, 1975
After the great sobering last week, Elise wrote a letter. “Finally we can get back to normal.” I wrote a poem: love is the only way to go nowhere.