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His Father
by Jan Oskar Hansen

 

I sat on a stone holding my feet up on the low tide — someone had told
me that everything is possible if you absolutely believe and I was trying
to walk on water. I concentrated mightily and sweat broke out. Put my feet
down as I rose and sank to my knees into the sea. So it wasn´t possible
and I was gullible, believing what adults had said; anyway, it isn´t much
fun to walk on big waves in a storm. Last night I had been with the gang
stealing apples in the garden of a rich man, mainly because he got angry,
when he came running, calling us whore children of the Nazi occupation.
We laughed because we were born before the war…except a little boy who
was born in 1941, and he looked down and said nothing.

He had no father, we knew, and gave him extra apples because his
pockets were small. I knew how he felt, I had a father but he was always
absent; sometimes I saw him in the street and on the bus and sometimes
I stood outside the factory where he worked and waited for him to come
out, then I followed him to his home at a safe distance, saw him kissing his
new wife and talking to his children. I never told my mother and now that
I´m old I think it might not have been my father, but just picked this man
because he looked father-like. The little boy whose father was an enemy
soldier and I who tried to walk on water, must accept that some dreams
are impossible, and get on with the business of growing up.

 

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