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The Self Employed Housewife – Diary of a Foreigner – Book 2 Ch. 14
Jan came home to a home that was no more
People in the crowd around them asked where they were going to stay, but all she was worried about was Jan. How was he going to react?
More and more people streamed into the back garden when she spotted Sonja with her mom.
They hugged and Sonja was crying.
"We are alright. Really, they rescued all the animals and nobody got injured."
"What happened?" her mom asked, people around clearly also wanted to hear the reply.She felt totally honed in by human bodies.
"Oh Hermien I thought you all had died in the fire." Sonja said in a broken voice."I got a phone call in the shop from a woman asking where you were because your house had burden down. I told her that she must have been mistaken because I just had spoken to you."
People in the crowd were all telling to others what they speculated how the fire happened...while she suddenly realized how Sonja must have reacted.
"Gosh, you are right. I phone you just when we left the house to go shopping. Telling you about the flower deliveries." She needed to calm Sonja down when suddenly there was a commotion and Jan was at her side.
He looked them all over, including the animals. Sascia who was still clutching her budgie cage. Somebody had covered it with a towel.
"Well, that is the biggest house cleaning I've ever seen." Some man were laughing at that remark but she wished he was more emotionally demonstrative, like hugging them all to find them alive, but instead he just seems to take it in his stride.But was he?
The crowd was by now thinning out. Some still asked where they were going to go to for the evening when she remembered...
"Johan the Dutch electrician from Art in the Park, he told me that he had a room ready for all of us."
"Oh, now that is very nice of him. Where is he?"
"Gone home I guess." She was by now shivering, it was after all mid winter and none of them had any coats on.it must have been after six by now.
As if someone had heard her thinking at the same moment because both her and Sascia were suddenly draped in a blue blanket.
"Oh thank you so much." Vaguelyshe recognized the woman from the house that backed onto their back garden. No idea what her name was. Jeroen was also given the same blanket but folded up.
She encouraged Sonja and her mom to go home and that she would phone them. The shop would just be closed for the rest of the week. There was no way she was going to cope worrying about that.
New sleeping arrangements
It took at least a half hour before the dogs and the budgie it in its cage were all bundled into the station wagon. Jan had done some inspection in the back garden, but by now it was getting dark. The fire was out but the strong smell from smoldering ash still hangs around.
"Mom I'm really hungry." Jeroen remarked.
"Let's first go to the people that offered us a room in their home, and then we will see. Probably buy some takeaway."
She followed Jan who was also parked in the front. He seemed to remember where that Dutch family lived; it was just a few streets higher up the avenues.
When they both arrived at the front door garden a woman came out with her arms outstretched as they got out of the cars.
"Oh, you poor people how you are all doing...come inside we prepared a room" her hug was somewhat uneasy as if she just did not know how to be around people who just lost their home. It made her smile and hugged her back.
I hope you can all fit in there for the night at least."
"Thank you so much. I really feel somewhat overwhelmed by your gesture, but very grateful, especially for the dogs and the budgie. We could not leave them tonight."
She sensed that the wife had not bargained on three dogs and a bird, but her husband had already taken a rope around two of the dog's collars while Jeroen carried the youngest spaniel who was shivering from fear.
Their bedroom for the night
One double and a single bed just fitted in the room. Jock had already put an old blanket on the floor for the dogs.
"Well, you both have to share a bed for tonight." She said to Sascia and Jeroen before they would have any complaints.
Suddenly it hit her. She collapsed on the double bed still clutching the blue blanket around. What were they going to do? Their home with all their stuff was going?
Sascia was crying while clutching the budgie cage and Jeroen was trying to calm the dogs. Jan was talking to the husband in the kitchen.
The knock on the door alarmed both dogs. Scamper started barking.
"We have supper ready please join us" on of the daughters asked through the door.
"Mom the girls are....very different...she whispered," I saw their room."
So had she...the whole house was one huge mess....funny how some people lived...but she immediately felt guilty for her thoughts.
Adjusting to an alternative lifestyle
The wife Annie with the two daughters must have been tidying to make some space for them all to sit at the dining room table. When they came in she was stunned at the enormous clutter of stuff all over, especially magazines. The table was piled high with them.
"Both girls cooked for us all, we are so proud of them."
"Michael helped mom, and dad." the oldest girl Janet remarked. both girls were around the same age as Sascia and Jeroen. Teenagers.
"Where is Micheal? Annie asked
"He took a plate of food to his room outside mom."
They had left the dogs and the budgie in the bedroom with the door closed, but now she could hear them scratching at the door. Oh, how embarrassing.
Mom, I will take the dogs out for a walk. Don't worry I eat later.
She knew that Jeroen was hungry, but somehow he had lost his appetite. Jeroen asked for one more string so he could try all three dogs with it around their collar and take them away...
"Gosh, my apologies. They are clearly out of their routine."She remarked while Jan helped himself with potatoes and stew.
Sascia was very quiet but suddenly run away from the table to the bedroom.
"Oh dear. I better go and have a look."
"Maybe leave her," Annie suggested but she just couldn't
Unexpected arrivals of goods
"Moppie sweetie are you ok?" Seeing her teenage girl all tearful sitting in a heap on the bed.
"I can't take my contact lenses out before going to sleep. My kit is gone."
Oh gosh, she had never thought of that. Since a month Sascia was wearing lenses and her glasses must have also perished. Oh dear, what now.
"Moppie I will phone the eye specialist and see if he can come up with something..."
When she came back into the lounge and shared why Sascia had been so upset, they all understood.
Jan immediately was looking in the phone book for his name at home, because it was by now after eight in the evening.
Their front door bell rang, and Johan got up wondering who could that be so later in the evening. Their dinner was truly interrupted by all the commotion. She really felt uneasy feeling Annie's frustration.
Jan got hold of the optometrist instead. When he explained what had happened and why he phoned so late, the man had said he would bring a kid for the lenses.
"Well, that will cost you ..." Johan said, " and someone left a box at the front door and left..."
Inside the box was a card that said:...we hope this will help you out in the meantime.
When she saw the clothing and even some toiletries she started to cry. It now truly sank in what they were facing.
Their first night after the fire
Two more people left parcels that same night and when the doorbell rang again at eleven after they cleared the dining room table and were drinking coffee in the lounge. Annie was now getting upset. Johan took her into the kitchen to calm her down. The two girls were gone to their bedroom, they didn't seem to know how to talk to Sascia or Jeroen.
She opened the door and recognized the optometrist.
"We are so shocked to hear about the fire. I've looked up your daughter's subscription and here is a kit and some extra lenses that will keep her in stock for well over a month."
All she was thinking about was the cost. How were they going to pay him?
When she was about to ask what they owned him, he stopped her
"Please accept this as a gift. We have no idea what you must be going through, so please do not worry about the cost. Not now."
No words seemed to be right about how grateful she was feeling. All she knew and felt was that people were truly loving and kind to each other in times of need.
Sascia was very relieved to take her lenses out. They would have to get her a new pair of glasses for in between, but she seemed to be OK with just the lenses for now.
That night nobody could really sleep and the pong that the three dogs left in the small bedroom made her get up and sit in the lounge until it got light.