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Foto: Maarten Zeehandelaar

Eight months ago my wife gave birth to our second child. A delightful girl that was born, apparently, without the need to sleep. Her mother had had a C-section and was confined to her bed the first few weeks. It was then that the ritual of me getting up at night came into being. Over the course of a few weeks this became standard practice, even though my wife fully recovered. Just one of those things slipping into the daily routine.
   After a few months however, I started to notice glitches in my brain activity. I had trouble concentrating. My work was sloppy. I watched it pile up on my desk, unable to really deal with any of it. Also, I started to feel like a too young Alzheimer patient – short term memory loss, long term memory loss. Justly, I attributed the whole mess to being tired. Entirely unjustly, I presumed this was a passing matter.
   I was still under the impression that I was functioning relatively adequate, given the circumstances of having had no more than 3 hours of undisturbed sleep a night, for about eight consecutive months. But then I noticed something new in the eyes of our eldest daughter, Luna. She started to throw me puzzled looks after I had spoken. Mostly, I couldn’t remember for the life of me what I had just said. But Luna’s behaviour was telling me a different story. When hints of fright started to appear in those looks of her, I became genuinely alarmed.
   I looked into the mirror and did not recognize the face I saw there, which was rather shocking I can tell you. I started to talk to people, friends, colleagues and family, but could not relate to the pictures they painted of me. I phoned a therapist. He said: “Show me your books and I will tell you who you are.” I hung up on him. I even asked Luna, in my desperation, which was entirely unfair. I am sorry I asked you. I said. I need help. I said. Why do you need help? She asked. I know who you are. She said. You are my father. She said. Isn’t that enough?


Texto por: Peter-Jan Vermeij


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Copyright © 2010-2017 Maarten Zeehandelaar.