On the first day that I stayed with them I got ill almost right away. I got so ill I had to lie down on the floor from dizziness. There I started worrying. One worry followed another, as worries do, until there was a whole flock of them and my life so far looked sad and empty, with the worst yet to come. I lost sense of time as the room spun around me and I drifted in and out of consciousness. Once, in the middle of this, I awoke to the sight of a kind of angel standing in the doorway. He had the most loving eyes I've ever seen, as if he expected nothing but good from me or anyone else. All meanness and aggression – silences at the dinner table, high school – it had all been a misunderstanding, and now, as his first task on the way to restoring world peace, he had been sent to bring me tea and yoghurt. I thought he was the husband, the man of the house. But when at last I tentatively returned to the daylight he was gone, left behind in that ephemeral underworld, or attending to someone new.

© 2009–2023, Martijn Wallage