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  • ericafraaije


Leonoor had a waterbed. At first, I didn't realize what a wonderful situation she had created, because her house was an old farmhouse, with wooden floors, albeit renovated, but not very spacious, especially not upstairs. The first floor was accessible via a narrow staircase, and the walls converged diagonally towards each other, living under the roof. Not exactly the spacious setup you would expect for a waterbed.

But Leonoor was someone who loved water. Swimming was her passion. She was already good at it as a child. She also taught swimming to disabled children. I greatly appreciated that she found it important to help people, but as an artist, I especially appreciated her preference for feeling things. Not knowing, but feeling, that was our motto.

Leonoor was my neighbor. She was there for me immediately when I moved into the street and five weeks later had to give birth. It felt so familiar - as if we had been friends for years. She was a great support during the years when I lived far away from all our families; her family became a bit of ours, and vice versa.

refering to "The Treachery of Images" which is the title of the painting by René Magritte (or: ce n'est pas une pipe)
essence of existence

One day, the waterbed needed to be checked and repaired, maybe there was a problem with the electricity or the heating or maybe there was even a leak. But there wasn't much financial leeway in Leonoor's house, and when I heard that waterbeds come with enormous electricity bills, and that you have to pay monthly to keep the bed at the right temperature, I understood even better how special it was that she and her husband had a waterbed.

Leonoor also loved clothes; she had a large rack where all her clothes hung. Most of them were tasteful, sometimes a bit theatrical. Her husband thought they took up a lot of space because the space upstairs in the attic was limited. But now that I think back, maybe it wasn't that much. I have a lot more clothes now. But anyway, she wanted to get rid of some stuff, she wanted - rather drastically - to 'declutter'. A large container appeared in front of the door, and everything that was lying around her house went in there. Sometimes I would fish something out. I kept asking why she was throwing away all that stuff, but I didn't get a clear answer. Leonoor was sometimes very wise and could keep silent very well. Maybe she had learned something from the Buddhists: the right speech.

One time the container filled with rainwater and that became a problem because it was very heavy. To empty it, I helped her with a garden hose, following the principle of communicating vessels. She was so happy about it, that it almost went to my head.

When we moved, I wanted to ask how we could stay in touch. But she didn't want to maintain contact. She promised not to write because she didn't do that. Leonoor was someone who wanted to feel everything, in the present. For her, a photo of a waterbed was not a waterbed, and so a note from me from yesterday was not the same as if I were there now. Quite modern, because in this world with the internet (which wasn't quite there yet back then), being in the now and face-to-face are becoming increasingly important.


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May 06
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.


Johannes Fraaije
Johannes Fraaije
Apr 11
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

A great strange story. From waterbed, to being in the now. Makes you think. But about what? That, I dont know.

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