This evening was no different, as I rode my bike for 45 minutes to his house. When I arrived, I saw a Moroccan wedding taking place across the street. One of the guests approached me.

“Boy! Boy!”, he yelled.


“Do you think I can park my car here?” I briefly looked at the car parked up against the curb and said it was probably fine.

Once inside I noticed the new decorations in the garage-like space in which the party took place. A chandelier adorned with bottles of Flugel and a framed picture of Princess Beatrix. On top of a cabinet filled with strong booze stood a moving lamp that colored the room with bright beams of light. My friend greeted me with a hug and a remark about how ridiculous my hair looked.

On a couch on the other side of the room, I spotted a guy I shared classes with in high school. He was staring ahead somberly, as the guy sitting next to him told him about the time he got so drunk he threw up and then slipped in his own puke and then fell asleep in it. A second of eye-contact offered my old classmate the opportunity to escape and talk to me instead.

We grabbed some beers and sat down on fold-out chairs. “At events like these I never quite know what to tell people”, said my old classmate. “That’s why this time, I prepared a story just in case conversations fall silent”.

“Okay, what’s the story?”, I asked.

“Well, I was riding my bike late at night, like 3 o’clock or something, and suddenly something shot across the street right in front of me. So, I come to a stop and see this tiny animal on the curb staring at me. I couldn’t tell what it was. It wasn’t a squirrel, it wasn’t a cat, it was something in between the two, kind of. So, at home, I googled to find out what it was. And guess what? A marten!”

“A marten?”

“Yep, I saw a marten!”

I told my old classmate I thought his story was captivating.

Most of the party’s attendees went outside to smoke or vape. We joined them. I told my old classmate this was a good time to tell his story. He told the marten-story to the group, everyone listened closely. Once he was done, people started googling what a marten looked like. “That’s some crazy shit, bro!”, said the guy from the puke story.

When my old classmate and I rode back home together, I congratulated him on the positive reception to the story he prepared. He responded: “Yes, very cool. And it didn’t even really happen!”

Onno Gieszen 1 columnist 2023_Pauline Wiersema_Levien Willemse

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