And again, the phone rang. That's how it usually happens here, contact is made by phone. A civilised man's voice asked if this was the right number for sculptor Marcus Ravenswaaij and Marijke A. Deege. I confirmed this.**
‘I would like to discuss something with you. It's not something to discuss on the phone.’
We made an appointment for an afternoon, he'd come with his mother. Until that time, I had a thousand questions about why this man wanted to talk to me. Did he want to buy a bronze sculpture or maybe commission a project? Together with his mother... Perhaps a graveonument for his father? Or maybe he wanted to show a sculpture to have me appraise it? In short: exiting.
The dog started barking when a car came up the gravel road on the day and hour of the appointment. From the kitchen window, I saw the mother and son get out and walk to the front door. I opened before the bell stopped ringing. They introduced themselves, cloak and coat were put on the hat stand and when both stood in the living room, they looked around full of admiration: ‘This is such a nice place! This farm must be very old’.
‘Yes, according to the Boerderij en Erf, it dates from around 1650, but I no longer live the way they used to back then.’ We laughed and I seated them in the upstairs room.
The drinks were my homemade berry juice. The mother and son were somewhat tense.
‘My father died six months ago.' So a gravemonument, after all? ‘My mother and I are now here with a very unusual question. Do you want to take it from here, mum?’
She shook her head. ‘You do it.’
‘More specifically, we found his calendar from the year that the doctor told him he was incurably ill. He got the prognosis of still having a year to live and, with a bit of luck, a few more months. When we went through this calendar last week, it almost seemed like my father had a double life during that year. Is it all right if I tell her, mum? She nodded yes and he got a calendar from the inside pocket of his jacket.
‘Your name and your husband's were written down in this calendar a few times. He had apparently bought bronze sculptures here for the women he met. For example, here on March 16th, it says: “to the Ravenwaaijs, buy sculpture for Marian". It's followed by other notes that are rather embarrassing for us. That's about it,’ he mutters. And he continued to turn the pages to: ‘here on June 5th, “bought a beautiful nude from Marcus Ravenswaaij” and on August 31st “a sculpture by Marijke A. Deege for Helma". Only the first names of the women are mentioned. Women my mother and I knew nothing about. Now we'd like to know whether you remember my father and which woman was with him?'
‘Could you show me a picture of him? I'm good at recalling faces.’
From the mother's handbag came a photo the size of a postcard. I stare at the face of an unknown man.
‘I don't remember him. If he bought one or more bronze sculptures, I would've known. Does this calendar also say which sculptures he's bought?’
‘Only that he twice brought a nude female sculpture by Marcus Ravenswaaij and once a sculpture by you, it didn't say what it was supposed to look like.’ She continues with a bitter undertonein her voice: ‘There was a note for almost every day. Painful to read, like “romantic dinner with Marian, she was enchantingly beautiful". On another day: “met Lonneke today, those legs and breasts". He even had a cruise with a certain Rina and that while he had told us he was on a business trip. We also found a note that he won a huge amount of money at the casino. We never noticed anything in that regard.’
Neither did I, I thought. He certainly didn't buy sculptures for it.
‘It doesn't match how I knew my father. He was rather introverted, but that calendar... I don't know how to feel about him now.’
Silent waters run deep, I thought. Suddenly, I had an epiphany.
‘How did he do during that calendar year?’
‘Normally, we didn't notice a lot about him. He kept running the business like nothing was going on. It wasn't possible for my mother or me to talk about his illness. When he got home, he secluded himself in his study.’
I carefully chose my words. ‘Could it be that in that last year of life, he used that calendar to write down forbidden desires as if they were real? I mean an imaginary double life. I'm not sure, of course, but it could be a possibility.’
Mother and son looked at me dumbstruck.
‘Desires? My husband sometimes said that he'd like a cruise holiday, but I don't like being on a sailing high-rise building like that.’
‘And my father asked me when we'd go try our luck at the casino together sometime. I could stop him from doing that, at least, so I thought.’
‘Did he also have a desire to buy a bronze sculpture from us?’
‘I never heard that one from my father, we would love to see your workshop and sculpture garden, right mum?’
The mother and son bought a bronze nude sculpture by Marcus and told me with a smile they'd put it next to the urn.
A bizarre story that inspired me to make the sculpture In sync/out of sync.
More information about In sync/out of sync : www.uniquesculptures.nl buying sculptures.