We were in the aftermath in a cubicle in the sauna, Wim and I. It was a Monday afternoon and I had taken the afternoon off. “Wow,” Willem said, “that was great.” I had another feel, and his ass was completely wet. “A shower?,” I asked. “Yes. Fine,” he said. “And a beer at the bar. My treat.”
“Well,” I said, “so I did make something out of it.” He had to laugh and poked me in the side. Sometime later, I was soaping his back in the shower. I rinsed it off, and gave him his towel. “Well, boys,” said Wim’s boyfriend Hans, who was sitting at the bar. “Did you have a good time upstairs?” “Wonderful,” Wim said. We ordered some beers and smoked a cigarette.
“Bloody hell,” my grandfather said, “did you forget to put the butter dish next to the heater again?” He was furious. “Reijer, please put the butter in the room near the heater.” I complied and enjoyed the heat for a while. I was seven years old and staying at my grandparents in Alkmaar. I quickly went back into the large diner. My grandfather was very upset with my grandmother. He kept swearing at her.
My grandmother was baking steaks in butter while her head was turning red. It smelled delicious. When my grandmother finished the meat, I quickly got the butter and gave it to my grandfather. Now he could use the butter to make his sandwich. My grandmother arrived with the steaks and gave my grandfather the largest piece, followed by me and then herself. She gave us some gravy for the meat, and then I could enjoy my white bread with steak.
At home, they always gave me brown bread with margarine. After diner, we quickly went into the living room near the heater. My bedroom was there as well. My grandmother left the door open to give my room some heat too. We listened to the news on the radio and later on, my grandfather took a nap.
Hans extinguished his cigarette and drank his beer, saying: “I’m going upstairs to have a look around.” He kissed his boyfriend Willem and left. It was a nice and quiet Monday afternoon in the Thermos sauna. It would become busier around 5:30 as people would leave work. Wim and I went into the swimming pool, and Wim pulled me towards him under water.
He grabbed me, gave me a kiss, and asked: “Shall we do it again?” We dried ourselves and went upstairs with our wet towels and started looking for a cubicle. We didn’t close the door.
We wanted to be seen. Wim was fucking me wonderfully.
“Reijer,” my grandfather said. “We need to talk to you. Did you know your parents had to get married?” I didn’t understand and said: “No, grandfather.” “Well, we wanted to tell you now. They were naughty and had to get married. That is why your mother did not wear white.” I still did not understand and nodded. I wanted to go home. They next day they would bring me back to Zaandam. “Yes,” my grandmother said, “they had to get married.” Later, when I was alone with my grandmother, we sang along with Willy and Willeke Alberti:
Moeder hoe kan ik je danken / Voor alles wat je deed / Geen ander dan jij / Was zo goed voor mij / In vreugde en in leed // Moeder je blijft in mijn leven / De vrouw waar ik het meest van hou / Want al wat ik nu ken / En al wat ik nu ben / Moeder dat dank ik aan jou
[Mother, how can I thank you / For everything you did / None other than you / Was that good to me / In joy and in sorrow // Mother, you stay in my life / The woman I love most / Because everything I now know / And everything I now am / Mother, I thank it to you]
Hans came back to us at the bar. “Well,” he said, “I was lucky today. Two boys with red hair. “Yes,” Wim said, “my boyfriend loves ginger. I should dye my hair really.”
As my grandparents finally left, I was alone with my parents again. “Did you know what grandfather told me? You had to get married. And that when I was born, they thought I was sweet.” My parents were furious. “We would have told you eventually,” my father said. My mother put me on her lap. She made me feel so safe.