While my kids in Poltergeist outfits walk downtown to join the Halloween parade of monsters with loads of trick or treat candies, I spent the late afternoon, early evening of Halloween all by myself in a deserted apartment at the other end of the world. Or so it seems. Although Holland is a small country, crossing borders is an ungoing thing here. Certainly litterary, physically as well. Coming from Amsterdam passing Utrecht, it’s another land rising up before the wind screen. Orange and yellow trees instead of flat acres of farmland. Pittoresque pieces of cattle field with mellow sheep instead of ruminating black and white cows. Two lane highways instead of four. After a one and a half hours drive, I enter a flat once inhabited by two elderly women. One of them was my aunt. She passed away shortly after her longtime house mate died. Now almost three years ago. They lived together for fifty years and left this material world both at the age of eighty, almost hand in hand.After three years the apartment is sold and I start scheduling the clearing of it exactly at this slightly creepy late afternoon of Halloween. It’s amazing how the unconscious operates. Which certifies our general preoccupation with souls and the hereafter during this time of the year. Dès que la nature meure.

I linger around the flat, making tea. Orange flavoured black tea. Something I normally wouldn’t like. But now, somehow it suits the occasion. Like the golden autumn leaves floating around, decaying. I turn on the Bang&Olufsen. Insert Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and enjoy the perfect surround system. My eyes visit the book shelves. My mind interacts with a whole lot of titles. To my pleasant surprise I find many a book on myths, legends, fairytales and folkloric wisdom. The passed lives of my aunt and her house mate start to ressurect from the artefacts. I resist the feeling of recognition. All that reading what is it good for anyway, is what I ask myself. While trying to stay rationally aloof of what I’ve entered already. Hours later the real question starts haunting me: what are we living for anyway? It’s on my heels the whole way back into the real world. With 120 km’s per hour on the highway desperately trying to return me and my emotions to the safe haven of Amsterdam.

I admire some ‘albums’ they created. No digital photo albums. Real stuff. And not only picture books, surprisingly so. There’s other kind of albums. One complete collection features unwritten, unspoiled paper art cards. It catches my attention. More or less twenty identical albums, all entitled: reading figurines. It’s that peculiar, worth an exposition, I remark in silence.

My Halloween hours in the apartment feel good. Like an easy going and interesting encounter. But when I leave the safe and protected surroundings of all souls, Vivaldi and the orange flavored black tea, I get emotional. In the car back home I sing the same couple of sentences, like a mantra, for hours: 

Past lives, I do anything for love

Past lives, I do anything for love
To really return into the material world, for me it takes communicating with a living soul. With some effort I find a living responsive soul. It works. I’m being pulled back. Grace! Leaves me wondering how crossing any kind of borders seems the obvious thing to do at Halloween.


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