A Conversation for Friends and Friendship
after thirty years...
Alfredo Started conversation Sep 20, 2006
First I thought that it was nót a good idea to tell in this entry about my search for a prior love of a few months (30 years ago) and how I found her.I had already posted it somewhere else 2 years ago.
Well, today I thought; "yes, I will still do it, because we really have become very important friends for each others". Like we e-mail
about three times a week and meet each other about four times a year,
So yesterday we were having dinner at an outdoor café in the heart of Amsterdam city.
And after that I said to myself; "yes, this is real important friendship for me/us with a rather special history".
I will post it in the next reply.
Greetings from synny amsterdam in september 2006
after thirty years...
Alfredo Posted Sep 20, 2006
In 1968 I left home to never return again and after roaming Spain I spent most of the time in the streets of Rotterdam (Holland.), searching for what I couldn't find at home and calming my soul with sex, alcohol,softdrugs, psychedelic popmusic, etc. My black dog, Astra, was my best comrade and a long period we both lived and slept in an old van.
I was rather happy, although that way of life proved more and more not to be a solid alternative for what we as children would call "home".
So after a few of those extremely intense and almost exhausting years, even mý life began to slow down and in those latter days a fifteen year old blond girl crossed my way in the streets of Rotterdam. I'll call her Melanie here.
She told me, she lived with her parents and was still at school. To me it would have been the same, if she'd said that she lived on the moon and was on holiday at planet earth.
She was young with a strong spirit, vivid eyes, blond hair and was clearly interested in me and because of that, I was even so in her.
This girl was from another world who joined me in the streets and so we walked around and talked about ourselves and life as it can be lived. The sex,drugs and alcohol,god, parents, the psychedelic culture,materialism, love, home and friends. And almost by itself we met each other every week in the street (because I didn't have a home in those weeks)and walked around the city and talked and talked.
We fell in love with each other without giving it a name. I was moved by her. We had no sex with each other.
For me, she was the personification of life, future and warmth.
But I never spoke that out.
After having met each other for about thirty times, I suddenly left Rotterdam and almost disappeared for her and other friends of mine.
Almost a year later, I got a letter from her and she told me that she had had an accident with her scooter and was now in hospital. I met her there and after that visit I said; "so long, hey" and left.
Well,it became very "long".
I disappeared in 1970 and wrote her a letter in the year 2000.
In that year I had put an ad in a national newspaper and a few days later a familymember of her called me and gave me the telephonenumber
of her parents. I phoned and her father answered the phone. Yes, he did remember me from my visit to Melanie in the hospital; "are you the one that visited my daughter when she was in the hospital?" After an hesistation I replied; "yes, that's me".
Anyhow, we made a deal, that I could write her a letter which I would send to him and he would pass it on to her and so it happened.
I'll translate here the letter that I wrote to Melanie, after thirty years of silence. And please, excuse me for my English.
"Hallo, Melanie,................................Amsterdam, Jan. 2000.
As many words this letter contains, as many reasons can be thought up nót to do what I am doing right now.
And as this letter contains just a few pages, as few reasons can there be, just to do the opposite: writing you after so many years.
I feel like a surgeon who cuts open his own history and actually searches for somebody from a distant past.
Alfredo, is my name.
It must have been 1971, that I got to know you in Rotterdam. It was in the end of my stay in that city and more and more I lived elswhere in Holland.
In the phonecall I had today with your father, he asked me, if I was the one who visited you when you were in hospital. Damned, yes.
You had written me, that you broke your leg and asked me, if I wanted to come and visit you there.
Your father was there with your brother and they were both sent out of your room by a nurse.(our contact was forbidden by her parents /Alfredo) And when they were outside, I could visit Melanie.
That such memories can rise in our minds after thirty years.
Melanie, if you blow very hard against the dust that rests on your memories, could you get ánything clear?
You will read a bit more easy......
How is it possible - you might ask - that you returned after thirty years in my mind and emotions?
Well, the last few years, I have been writing a lot. Stories and lyrics and the last couple of months I have been writing about my time in Rotterdam. I am able to do it now, because it has passed nostalgia a long time ago.
In my writing, I mix reality and fantasy, but I did that just as well in the time I got to know you. Part of our existence, isn't it?
The final trigger why you returned in my mind, was a painting I saw in the Mauritshuis in The Hague; "the girl with the pearl" (also knwon as "the girl with the turban").
Suddenly I thought; "ah, that blond girl in Rotterdam......" and little by little the memories came back in my mind, even your name and second name.
But the fact, that I finally stept óut of my written stories, fiction and memories, in search for the living Melanie, came because of this;
I live here in Amsterdam, on my own, along a beautifull small canal, just outside the historical center. Hundred meters from here, there is an Iatlian Iceroom. One evening I bought there some Ice and enjoyed it outside the canal.
At the other side ,I saw a man of my age, walking with rounded houlders, searching for the remains of cigarettes and after he had found a few, he made his own from all these leftovers.
Suddenly I knew it unmistakably; an old friend from the time I lived in Rotterdam. We once lived in the same building in Rotterdam for a while.
The "girl with the pearl" = Melanie (symbol of life) and the former housemember searching cigarettes (symbol of death) suddenly came very close to each other.
Because of that experience, I felt the impulse ánd courage to trace your existence and to write you. I suddenly felt the urge to do it.
You got it?
I do remember you, Melanie, as a young, blond girl, with eyes as clear as the light of life and still very "young" ( what we men like to confuse with serene). You were very kind; a warm "soul".
It surely impressed me even more, because of the contrast between our worlds; "The girl of Vermeer" who still lived with her parents and went to school, who meets a boy who left home to never return (and I indeed didn't).
I was moved, although my own history taught me not to speak out about it.
And what can I say about the years after.
After a few years I started to pick up study and became a social worker in prisons and..............................
Finally I'd like to go back to the reason of my writing to you, which is the real content of this letter.
Last saturday I phoned your parents and spoke with your father. In the beginning, your father had a protective way of reacting; "why would you like to be in contact with Melanie?"
I described him how it came up to me to write you and that, instead of writing a story or poëm, in this case, I'd like to do it all different and meet the person in real, daily life.
(this letter is for me a kind of physical poëm).
Finally he said;"oh, in such a way. I get it"
All together we talked for about ten minutes. We made an agreement, that I would mail this letter to him and that he'd pass it on to you.
Thanks, Melanie, that you wanted to read all of this and I want to say goodby to you with a specific memory in mind. Your father brought that memory alive by his question; "are you the one who visited Melanie in hospital after she had an accident?"
After a short hesitation I replied; "yes, that's me".
I do remember you, Melanie, in your bed in hospital and myself standing next to you and talking with each other.
After fifteen minutes I had to leave and we kissed goodby. While I walked out of the room, you suddenly said:"Alfredo, I am very glad you came" and I turned my head, swallowed, looked beside you and replied; "yes, oké, so long, hey" and so I returned to the wide world.
Now I want to say to you; "I am very glad, Melanie, that we ever crossed our paths".
I wish you well.
Alfredo, January, 2002."
(End of the letter.)
After a few weeks, I received a letter from Melanie and she told me, that she was very surprised that I had written her. But she hadn't forgotten me, "because you were special to me and I'm not that kind of person who gives that out of hand easily".
She described in short terms her life after "Rotterdam" and that she's married for a long time, has children and works as a teacher and her husband as a surgeon.
She finished her letter with;"if you like the idea, we could meet and have a dinner in town".
Since her reply, we hardly had any correspondence for two years and I didn't feel any hurry at all. To me, my letter to her was the most importent, but I did realize very well, I had started something that involved at least twó persons and nót one.
Finally, in Jan. 2002, we met at her home.
I bought a big bouquet of very special flowers, no paper what so ever,
and a CD with a painting of Vermeer on the cover. Of course, "the girl with the pearl".
Rather nervous I rang the bell of her home and there she was; Melanie.
(It is impossible for me to describe in another language what all crossed my mind and what all happened).
Melanie lives close to a nice park with very old treas and a small lake. So we went for a walk and her two dogs followed us.
We shared some memories and described our lives from then till now.
And I described thoughts and feelings which remained hidden in those days for her. Some, because they were hidden for mé aswell in that period.
And she too came up with her own questions and confrontations and I admitted I once behaved very badly and while saying that,she put her hand on her chest and replied; "now I can let it go free".
And she wanted to know why I never really answered her love an without any hesitation I described my feelings and behaviour and where that all came from and suddenly she said - while her hand returned to her chest - ; "now it is finished for me. Now it's complete".
We returned to her home, drank some tea and around seven I left.
Tired, but very satisfied, I came home and in the evening of that day I received a mail from her ( the beginning of many) in which she expressed her great satisfaction about what happened.
I recognised a lot of what she wrote and my reply was like this;
What a victory over the limits of our youth.
And what a victory over the wounds of our childhood.
What a victory over time! We expressed the unspoken thoughts and feelings of those days and so we conquered history.
As mature people we overcame all of that and celebrated life as it is nów.
We conquered the inexorabillity of life.
We made our own sculpture of love in these hours.
Alfredo, Amsterdam, October, 2002.
And now that I have written this all here down, I am going to listen to the music of Henry Purcell "strike the viol ,etc."
(a small anecdote from that meeting)
As I mentioned, we drank some tea after our walk in the park.
I did not mention the fact, that we did not recognize each other at all. Not even voice, or anything else!
But we did nót feel like strangers.
Somehow whe both felt, that we actually shared the same "emotional landscape" we were in. I could walk in her emotional landscape and she in mine and still feel comfortable. A rare experience. Our emotions did recognize each other while our eyes didn't
So we both sat down, meeting each other after thirty years, without any physical recognition!
I asked her to show me her photoalbum and she had only one album from that period.
We looked both at pictures of her and even thén I didn't really recognize her.
Then she turned the last page.
And what did I see?????????
A small colour picture of me and my American wife with whom I've been married for fifteen years (now divorced). I must have once sent her one.
An almost absurd experience!
The H2G2 Link to this memory is F79467?thread=215938
P.S. My Journal "Melanie,after thirty years", has the same content,
but, because of that confusing title, I decided to store that Journal with a new title.
after thirty years...
The_Apple_Woman...being conscientious & objective Posted Apr 20, 2007
Key: Complain about this post
after thirty years...
More Conversations for Friends and Friendship
Write an Entry
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."