© Heleen Volman 11 april 2000

Evening, my paces are large. I go. From far I see them and I know it at the same time.
It happens more and more frequently to me, lately.
Pavementtiles, starry sky, where shall I look?
I'm almost there now, heavily I breathe in.
I'm passing, they mumble something, push each other. They are with four or five. Calling and whistling.
Pavementtiles. Arms around me, coat against me, still I don't breathe out. Not more than a moment?
I have come past, now I feel their gazes in my back.
It's not my fault, my brother said. Possibly the butcher thinks different about that. And my mother? She has never touched on the matter.
Have you ever thought about it, what people see when you pass by?
My paces get longer and longer. I'm running home. I have to see it. Look upon something I have never dwelled on before.
Strange. I can't imagine myself anything....when I pass by.
I stand before the mirror and look. Those eyes, that nose, that mouth, those hairs, that coat. I take off my coat. Off with jersey, trousers, off with it all.
Those feet, those legs, those buttocks, belly, breast.
I stand before the mirror and look. I go nearer to the mirror and look. I go past the mirror and look. I look and for the very first time in my life I think: 'so that's what they see when I pass by'.
Slowly I go out. No pavement, no starry sky, but straight for-ward. I smile. Whisper 'do you want a mirror, then you can look at yourself'. Ever and again looking at yourself. And then, all of a sudden, it will be as if you have never ever seen yourself before. The surprise of your life.


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