12nd January 2005
It is a cold winter night; rain and hail are lashing at my house.
I'm sitting in my lazy-chair, sipping a small glass filled with Amarquinha.
In the background the radio broadcasts the intro of the song 'Coward of the county'.
The song triggered something in me that I had pushed away for so long.
I realize it was exactly twenty-five years ago!
The alcohol helps my thoughts to go deeper and deeper into my memory.
After some wanderings my thoughts bump into an imaginary wall that I had carefully created to
protect me from the memories of a terrible tragedy in the past.
The Amarquinha make me careless with the result that I force myself to break through this imaginary wall.
I have to go look for the tragedy.
It's not to be missed because immediately behind the wall it is everywhere.
The first flashbacks are about a young man talking to a Salvation Army Officer in San Diego.
A week before this encounter he had successfully, and full of pride finished a coast to coast cycling trip.
After the message from the officer his face shows no euphoria, no pride anymore, but a deep, deep sadness and despair.
The beauty of his journey has changed in a blink of an eye into a gray mass. The tragedy was so
intense that he blocked the memories of this episode of his life completely.
Startled, I awake from my thoughts and go look for my notebook which I had left untouched for all these years.
While reading these notes, I clearly remember the places, situations and people I had described.
It's a small book (size 12x7 cm) scribbled with notes, calculations and names.
Sometimes written with great care,
sometimes almost unreadable,
sometimes with valuable experience,
but at the end with only sadness
Without pause I devour the notes and after finishing the last pages I do not feel desperation, only melancholy.
At the same time an indescribable desire to write the story behind the notes, takes over.
With moist eyes I close my notebook, take a good sip and mumble, "strong stuff that Amarquinha," while I blink away a tear.
I knew it was time to tell this story to my loved one.
As taster six stories from the book describing six cycling days.
Old notebook used during my cycling trip(1979-1980).
These travel notes were the source for my book 'Coco en Flo'. From this book
I have selected 30 short stories and they can already be read via 'Select story'.
All the stories actually happened and were described in detail in my notebook.