I was born in a small village in the north of Fryslân and since Fryslân has become since the fifteen-hundreds a province of the Netherlands my birthplace is as far north in the Netherlands as you can get. Beyond its four islands broods the wild North sea. I have never visited any of them but one of my brothers, Durk has, when he served in Her Majesty's dutch army, and where he in his spare time of soldiering found himself a nice girlfriend, whom he in due time married as well.
The small village was and still is called Hijum, pronounced He-as in help, -yum.
This story was published in the Frisian language in the Friesch Dagblad in 2003 after a strange event. About twenty years ago I tried my hand at writing in the English language. I was lucky to get help of a very nice American born young woman firing me on.
I was as proud as a peacock that she was even taking an interest in me and worked like crazy to get a great story together, which when it was finished I proudly handed to her for what I thought was going to be a ten out of ten, at a family picnic.
She just glanced through it, gave it back to me, and between a mouthful of Kentucky chicken and a coke crashed my ego by saying
“Lex, this is crap, you don't know our language, why don't write in your own?”
I was not only blown from a high tower – she killed me, body and soul.
It set me back a year.
After that 'sabbatical' I thought why not ? Why not write in my own tongue, Frisian, and as a farmer in a hay-field spotting a rainstorm in the making, wrote furiously and as sometimes happens I had luck to meet a learned cousin, no, not a good-looking woman, but a warmhearted man, cousin Jan Smid, son of uncle Bernardus, who took a sample of my stories to a daily newspaper in Fryslân, where they eventually got published.
The short story following was my firstborn, translated out of the Frisian language.
So there, Dr. Goodlookinga, what do you say now.
a rather short short story by Lex Smid
Anneke was a wonderful, ahead of her age, little girl. She knew more than all others of her age before she went to elementary school and even jumped a class. She out-classed me by far. I played only a few times with her, but since she was better than me in almost everything I shied away from her. But not only about that.
There was a problem with her mom, more specific her mom's name, I did not really know how to address her mother, every time I wanted to say Frou Douma as I was thought to do , I was scared it would come out as a swear word. Thus instead of taking the risk to swear I just mumbled something, though I always had to think about that that bad word ferdomme.
You will not find it in the dictionary because it is a swear word and it is in the Frisian language, so don't try.
But because it was always in my mind, one time it just dropped out of my mouth and I never went back to Anneke's house again.
But I am ahead of the story. Anneke was a cheerful and lively little girl. Very lively, her curled hair danced up and down every time she moved, and she moved a lot.
“Come with me,” she said, pulling me under the kitchen table where she had put the doormat. “This is our island, and all around it is the sea. Watch out! Your leg is in the water,” she said while pulling my leg out of the water, and whispered secretive
“We are all alone, no one can see us.” her eyes glistened and her breath was warm against my ear. Our island mat was was tiny and my leg started tingling and felt like a rubber pipe, and it was stuck against the table leg.
It was coffee time and the brothers of Anneke came home for a snack. One stated kicking me asking what I did there with his sister under the table. Anneke pulled me away from him right up against the wall. She forgot the island and both of us were now sitting in the water, I was now even closer together with Anneke and she put her hands over my ear.
“We have a secret and nobody else knows it” she whispered. I looked at her in surprise, but her head went hotly up and down, saying yes, and her curls danced even faster.
“Say that we have a secret,” she demanded.
“We have a secret,” I said, adding “and no one else knows it,” as I had heard her say.
Anneke's parents moved to another town, after her dad had words with the farmer he worked for, and he owned the house the Douma's lived in. After that I never saw her again.
It took me a long time to understand what we had together, because I didn't know what a secret was. Later I learned what a secret was of course but up to today I still don't know what the secret was, that Anneke and I had together.
And what happened to the good-looking American young woman? She was already a professor on a University, but earned the letters Dr. before her name as well not too long ago.
That is how things fare in life, one goes up in status, another down to an old-age home.
Am I jealous of her? Let me say this, I owe her a lot, like her a lot, but she, like Anneke, was ahead of me, and with these letters in front of her name shielding her, is now out totally out of reach, but not forgotten.
And what happened to Anneke?
A few years ago I ran in to her on a cruise ship, where she was entertaining, Anneke had become a famous singer. She did not remember our adventure under the table though.
I might've been a different person than Anneke with the same name as her I met on that great ship.
Ye gain some ye loose some.
Anyways, until we meet again, I wish you all the best, Lex