Between Amsterdam and insanity 1 – forgotten prose


Amsterdam, Netherlands
June 1977

I heard once that you can’t call yourself ‘peaceful’ unless you are capable of great violence. If you are not capable of great violence, you are not peaceful, you’re harmless. And it’s been stuck in my head ever since I left London.

I used to have these dreams in which I would revolt. I would burn the city to the ground, on purpose, for all the injustice its people threw at me. It seemed so vivid. But at the crack of the dawn the creatures of the night laid dead, and so were my dreams. I kept the score in my mind every time I wanted to rise up against everybody. I wanted to leave Amsterdam in ruins behind me seventy-three times. 


But here I am, taking the train to Amsterdam, back to the city of horror. I always hated it. I hated it in the summer, I hated it in the winter. I hated it in my childhood, but especially in my teenage years. Nobody knew it, just like nobody knew I was in seventh heaven when I found out my parents were sending me to London so I can live on my own and get the proper treatment for my psychosis.

To this moment, I strongly believe this disorder is the best thing that ever happened to me despite what it means and what it should have been on principle.

After I left Amsterdam, just as everything was getting better, my peace was ruined by an ordinary piece of paper.

I look at the majestic view behind the dirty windows for a while and for the first time I am not disgusted by what I see. I tell myself how much I missed this, and I am surprised by this thought. It seems absurd. I glance at the other thirteen humans who are present here today. I wonder why someone would want to go to Amsterdam. What is wrong with them? But a better question would be: what am I doing here?

And all of a sudden I remember why I’m going back home: Marmee’s letter. Apparently, my dear aunt died and I inherited a significant part of her heritage. If it is in fact true, this could be a huge feather in my cap. Still, I am not entirely sure rather my aunt is truly dead or my mother just wanted a good reason for me to come back home.

Anyway, here I am, dreaming of my aunt’s marvellous mansion, the huge garden with lavender and statues and I imagine myself walking there in a silk dress. She always liked that I am always with my head in the clouds and that I am a dreamer. Maybe this is why I am good at writing.

While I am still stuck inside my head the train stops in a station in Amsterdam. And on a whim, I get down and don’t look back. The only thing I am able to feel is the rush of adrenaline and my heart pumping like crazy as I make my way through the crowd of people and keep going down the street aimlessly.


It only takes one letter to make someone disappear and start a new life, I think. So I sit down on the nearest bench, take a paper and a quill out of my backpack and I start writing:

“Dear Mr and Mrs Baak,
We are extremely sorry to inform you that the ship your daughter Sybil was on has sunk.
Her body hasn’t been found anywhere. The only thing left from her is a leather notebook; a mailman will deliver it from Amsterdam.
The Prime Minister of Netherlands.”

I put the letter in an envelope and start looking for one of my leather notebooks. I take them both, put them in a bigger envelope and go to the post office in the center of Amsterdam. 

I storm in the post office and find one of the mailmen, hand him the envelope and five pounds. “The Ministry gave you this! You never saw me!”, he nods and puts it in his bag.

I find my way out and I stop in the middle of the road and look up to the sky. 

My new life begins.

I can finally breathe.


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