Christmas Eve


Like a grey blanket, the fog falls over the village and a biting east wind drops the temperature quickly.
An ambulance enters the street and stops in front of Janneke’s house and she is being lifted out of the ambulance. Before she is carried inside, the brother puts her in an extra blanket. For a moment the stretcher taps against the doorpost and Janneke cease a painful cry. The ambulance brother apologizes.
Mother is waiting in the living room for her daughter and walks to the bed that they have placed in front of the window.
‘Honey, now you can look outside, and all your friends can wave at you when they are coming home from school,’ says mother.
‘Nice mom, now I also have some distraction until I’m better.’
‘Get well soon, ‘mother says. Grabs her daughter’s hands and kisses them gently. In her heart, she feels the doubt and she always must think of what the doctor’s told them: ‘It’s in God’s hands,’ he had told her. What kind of an answer was that, as if God had nothing else to do? Of course, the doctor couldn’t know that she was not religious at all.


The Class


It is the last week before the Christmas holidays and the class is noisy. Job is introverted and hears only half what they are crying out to him. Often, he manages to maintain his self-control, but sometimes he doesn’t, then he is tired and stick up for oneself. They keep going on and then he gets up and kicks Truus. She grabs him by the hair and pulls him under the table. Now the whole class is starting to encourage Truus and make fun of him. He gives her a push and then she releases him. In her hands, she has a bunch of hair that she has pulled out of his head.
The teacher enters the classroom and asks: ‘What is the matter?’
Truus is still standing with the hair in her hand. Job stands in front of the teacher, plucks the hair out of her hand and says: ‘Look, Miss…., it was under Truus’s table. Isn’t it, Truus?’
She looks at him and nods. One of the other girls gives her a kick against her ankles. She thinks she should tell the teacher that Job started to tease her, but Truus doesn’t intend to do that.
‘Yes, is that true,’ ask the teacher. ‘we’ll discuss this later today. Now you all go back to your table. Unfortunately, I must tell you something unpleasant. You all know that Janneke is sick,’ she begins.
Job shifts back and forth in his chair and raises his finger.
‘What is it, Job?’
‘Miss, you aren’t going to tell us that she will not return to school after the holidays?’
The teacher bows her head. She hadn’t counted on this direct question, and certainly not from Job. Now it is getting a bit noisy in the classroom and the children are talking together. She commands silence.
‘For the moment Janneke is not going to school. We have to wait and see, that’s all I can tell you.’
‘Miss, what does she have,’ asks one of the girls.
The teacher looks around the class and wonders if she should tell them, certainly just before Christmas. On the other hand, it is quite possible that they may hear it from strangers. Now she could perhaps explain it to them, but during the Christmas holidays, she couldn’t guide the children in this tragedy.
‘I don’t know exactly what’s going on. She has a lump in her head that the doctor probably must operate. They don’t know how long it will take before she gets better and if she gets better.’
Job bows his head. He is upset and actually, he feels guilty. Maybe it’s his fault, he thinks. He had bullied her once and gave her a push. She had fallen with her head against the wall. Perhaps that was the cause, he worries.
He no longer hears the teacher. Get up and walk out of class. Outside it is scent and he dives deep into his jacket. He takes the path that leads him to the beach.
The clouds are piling up and the sky is black. Suddenly it starts to hail. The hailstones are as large as marbles and hit his face. He dives deeper into his jacket and takes the next turn. He looks over the sea through a dune pan and shouts: It is my fault that she dies. It is my fault,’ he keeps repeating.
‘Say Job,’ he hears a girl’s voice calling. ‘Don’t walk away every time I call you. Just stand still.’
Job turns around and looks into Truus’s face. ‘Come and tell me that it is my fault that Janneke dies,’ he responds angrily.
Truus takes a handkerchief from her pocket and dabs his face. ‘Your eye is full of blood. What have you done?’
‘Nothing, a hailstone hit my eye. What does it matter? Leave me alone.’
‘Don’t be so weak. It’s not your fault anyway and it has nothing to do with that fall on her head. Come we are going to school again.’
Together they walk back to the schoolyard and Truus turns to him for a moment.
‘You know Job, you are always so tough now, but I think I am the only one who understands you. I know you have it, just like myself, not easy at home. They laugh at us behind our backs and they make fun of us. It doesn’t hurt, right?’
Job looks at her and says: ‘It hurts me. We don’t deserve this. We don’t hurt anyone. By the way, I think you’re jealous that Janneke and I like each other. I want to give her a beautiful Christmas Eve. Maybe it’s her last Christmas.’
Truus is disappointed and answers; ‘Jealous or not, but you certainly don’t think you can give her a better Christmas Eve. Don’t be fooled like that. She just laughs at you. It is a princess. The only thing she wants is always and everywhere to get her way. Just like that time she supposedly fell against that wall,’ Truus shouts, and throws her hands to her mouth. This was, after all, a secret between the girls. No, she shouldn’t have said that. If they found out, then …
Job looks at her suspiciously and before he can answer Truus runs away.
What would she mean? He doesn’t believe it and calls after her: ‘Bad, bad girl.’


They still must go to school for a few days before the holiday starts. Peace has returned. Job walks past Janneke’s house every day and waves at her. Suddenly she beckons him to stop by, but he doesn’t get farther than the front door.

‘I want you to leave her alone. You have nothing to look for here,’ is the answer her mother gives him. The door is slammed shut almost immediately.

He sees that the curtains are closed so that he can’t see her. But then he sees that Janneke carefully pushes a piece of the curtain aside and presses her hand against the glass. Job also presses his hand against the glass, and it looks like he can feel the warmth of her hand flowing through his hand. He sees a tear rolling down her cheeks. She brings her hand to her mouth and kisses him. Then she blows the kiss in his direction and he pretends to have caught him. Wave to her and go to school again. For a moment he feels a warm, happy feeling coming into his stomach. Now he knows for sure that Truus lied.

Today it is the last school day. Job had tried to organize something special for Janneke, but the teacher had looked at him in silence. Nobody talked about Janneke. They thought it was a nice idea and had even agreed a time to talk about it and to exchange ideas, but no one had turned up. Job had gone home defeated. Truus didn’t show up either, or that hurt him the most. Why is she doing this, he wondered. His brain and feelings were messed up.  Sometimes it seemed that he was forced to choose between Janneke and Truus.

Why didn’t Truus understand that he just wanted to give Janneke a beautiful Christmas Eve. The chance that she would die was very high and he had promised himself that he would give her that Christmas Eve at all costs.

He also knows that he is always the bobbin and that he is regularly the victim of their harassment, but that doesn’t give Truus the right to prevent him from giving Janneke a beautiful last Christmas Eve. No, he would go for it. If her parents would see what a beautiful tree, he brought for her, they will probably start to think differently about him.

The next morning, he gets up early. The bread bin is empty and that means he must go out without breakfast. Not that that was unusual. The only day that there is always breakfast is on Sunday. Then he prepares breakfast with his sister. He always likes two sandwiches with gingerbread in between. He can enjoy those moments so much.

It is cold and Job quickly gets dressed and leaves the house. It is still dark, and the sky is clear. He sees the many stars sparkle, even the big bear is visible. Admiringly he stares at the sky where he discovers more and more stars.

Job closes his coat well, the cold wind cuts through the fabric and for a moment he shivers from the cold.

‘Hey, did they throw you out of your bed,’ a man shout after him.

Job wants to say something, but the man cycles around the corner. He shrugs and walks to the square. There he sees that a man and a woman are busy making crosses under the Christmas trees. There is a giant tree where Job is staring at.

He approaches it with admiration and looks at him from all sides.

‘Can I help you,’ the woman asks. ‘You’re early, but you can’t be early enough to bay the most beautiful tree,’ she says with a smile.

For a moment he is speechless then she says: ‘Hurry up, I don’t have your time. Do you want that tree or not? You’re not out to steal it anyway. Is it not,’ she suddenly shouts in a different tone?

Job drips off and takes a step back. He knows from experience that she will reject him.

For a moment he had played with the thoughts, but Christmas under a stolen tree. No that is not possible. By the way, if they found out, then it is done whit him.

‘My girlfriend is very sick. I think she’s dying and that’s why I want to give her a nice Christmas. We would raise money with all the children in the class, but …’

He takes the money out of his pocket and shows it to her. ‘Well, I know that this is not nearly enough, and I also do not know how to get the money for the tree. Everyone abandons me.’

‘Maybe they have a good reason for that,’ the woman says, looking at the little money in his hand. ‘Then I should give him almost for nothing. That just cannot be. You know, if you can get the money for tomorrow afternoon, this tree is for you. I promise not to sell it until this time.’

Job almost jumps into the air with joy and thanks the woman. He asks her what the tree should cost, and she gives him a friend’s prize, but he already knows that it is not feasible to get that much money together in a short time.

During the day he tried to raise some money, but most people didn’t want to listen to him.

I really must go home now. The saleswoman had promised that he had time until the following afternoon. He should certainly succeed. Struggled and cold, he walks along the square to his way home.

At home, his parents and his sister sit around the stove. The stove can only warm a part of the room. Silently he pulls up a chair and warms his hands. Oh, how cold they are, and they start to tingle.

‘Not too close to the stove,’ father whispers and continues his thought puzzle.

Job feels that the warm jet warms his face, but his back still feels cold. It is almost dark and the light bulb on the ceiling radiates a faint light. Mother is busy in the kitchen preparing for dinner.

‘How late are we going to eat, Dad?’

‘If the potatoes are done, five more minutes,’ mother calls from the kitchen.

Father stands up, pushes him aside and says. ‘Go and set the table, then you will do something for a living.’

Grumbling, Job sets the table. He is hungry and the smell of food makes it worse. In the meantime, father winds the clock on the chimney with equal strokes on. It is a fixed ritual. Every night again. For a moment he laughs when he thinks that years can pass without deviating from the usual daily routine. No, he will do things differently later, he thinks.

The table is soberly laid, and mother comes in with a pan. Today it is sauerkraut. Every day of the week has its regular vegetables. So today it is sauerkraut and again he must grin for it. Mother brags for everyone and gives him the empty pan. ‘Here put it in the water, so that it will be easy to clean. Come on, hurry up, lazy boy!’

‘Yes, yes, I am already going. I have to do everything here,’ he grumbled.

‘Shut up,’ Father says angrily.

His plate is quickly empty, and his hunger is still not satisfied yet, but he knows that nothing is left. Even though he always hopes for that. There is no talking at the table. They never do that. They never asked how the day was or how it was at school. It is actually a dead thing here at home, he changes his mind and for a moment he feels very lonely.

After the dishes, mother makes coffee and father closes the door of the stove. Close the chimney flap almost and the stove stops mustaches.

‘I’m going to bed wife. I’m tired. I only have to work half a day tomorrow.’

His mother and sister decorate the Christmas tree and Job gives them the balls. For the first time this year they have electric lighting and Job follows them with eagle eyes. Then the lights come on and his mouth falls open. There are colored lights and they make the balls shine in the tree. I want to give Janneke such a tree, he thinks.


The next morning


Job is tossing and cannot fall asleep. His feet feel ice cold. He sees the moonlight shining in through a crack in the curtain. He quickly gets dressed. It makes no sense to stay in bed because the blankets do not heat him properly. The window is covered with ice flowers by the frost that sparkle in the light of the moon. He admires the beautiful crystal shapes that this natural phenomenon shows.

His father is sitting in the living room enjoying a cup of coffee.

‘Why are you up so early,’ he asks.

Job shrugs and says he couldn’t sleep.

‘But Dad, why are you up so early. It is Saturday?’

‘Yes boy, your father still has to work a few hours. I will light the stove because it is pretty cold outside. Go back to your bed.’

Job looks at the clock and sees that it is indeed still very early. Far too early to go past the doors now, but first, he wants to see if the tree is still there. When father gets on his bike, he comes into action. He put on his thick socks and then he takes his coat and mittens from the coat rack and sneaks out the back door. Outside he feels the cold slap into his face, and it is dangerously slippery on the street. The snow, which fell last night, started to freeze on the street. He shuffles carefully on the street. He sees a single cyclist fallen from their bike. A cold wind comes up and it starts snowing again.

Before he realizes it, an inch of fresh snow soon makes walking a bit trickier. On the square, he is delighted to see that his tree hasn’t yet been sold.

Yesterday he started to go past every house, where he rang the bell. Then he tells the story of Janneke and asks if they want to contribute. Some get angry, but miraculously he manages to get the money together. He doesn’t understand a thing. Yesterday he got nothing, but today he got something by almost every door. He counts the collected amount. He counts three times and can’t believe that he had enough money for the tree.

‘Now I can buy the most beautiful and largest Christmas tree for Janneke,’ he praises himself.

Tired, he runs to the square to buy the tree. He stands there in astonishment and rubs his eyes just as well. The tree is gone. He was sold. ‘The lady had promised not to sell him until this afternoon,’ he whispers to himself. Disappointed he goes home. He still has a few hours to get the money together and enthusiastically he starts his assignment.

When he comes home his sister sits at the big table and asks where he has been all this time. He tells her the story and she sits next to him in front of the stove.

‘Yes, that’s how life goes. You will have to process even more disappointments. We are simply not rich. Let it go, look what a beautiful tree we have ourselves,’ and she gives him a pat on his head.

Job thinks about what his sister says, but he has no intention of giving up. By the time he has warmed up again, he goes outside. The snowing has stopped. The dark clouds have disappeared, and the sky is as clear as glass again.

He past Janneke’s house and sees that the curtains are open. He peeks inside but can’t discover Janneke. Would she be dead already, he thinks? He doesn’t have much time to think about it. He still wants a nice tree for her score and roams the village for hours, but nowhere else is there any a tree for sale.

He counts the money again. It would certainly have been enough to buy one, that is for sure.

He thinks he sees Truus in the distance, but it turns out to be another girl. He looks around. It is late and it is getting dark. Shuffling, he decides to go home. Not that he is looking forward to it, but the tiredness is now taking its toll.

When he is standing in front of his house, he decides to walk to the beach. Just empty his head. The past days have been quite intensive and a walk through the dunes and the beach always help him to sort things out. In the meantime, it is getting dark. The dune path is deserted and deep in thought he arrives at the stairs that lead to the beach. He sits down at the top of the stairs and peers over the sea. Dive deeper into his jacket because of the cold who cuts through his jacket. He sees the white foam waves curl and spread over the stand with a roll and a hiss.

Somewhere in the distance, he sees a shadow approaching. He thinks he recognizes the shadow by his movements. As he gets closer, he sees that it is indeed Simon the wanderer. Most are afraid of him and he must admit that he also has awe for him. Simon has a huge body and he is certainly longer than two meters. In fact, nobody knows where he comes from. It is strange that someone with such a posture can be so anonymous, Job thinks and wonders what the reason is that he became that way.

Simon greets him and says, ‘Well, well, I almost missed you,’ and shines his searchlight on Job’s face.

‘Don’t do that, damn it,’ Job shouts.

‘You must be the boy from the village. Every now and then I hear what you are up to. What brings you here this Christmas Eve?’

‘Nothing, I think,’ Job replies.

‘Oh, you do. What are you thinking about? May I know that,’ and sits down next to him.

Job looks at him and shrugs. Well, it doesn’t harm if he tells him his story and before he realizes it, he ventures his heart out at the wanderer.

‘Well boy, your sister has a bit right even though that doesn’t solve your problem. You really want a Christmas tree for that Janneke, don’t you?’

Job nods and answers: ‘Yes for Janneke, but everything goes wrong.’

‘If you look around you will find the most beautiful trees. The problem is that you don’t know which one to choose,.’ and Simon points in the direction of the landfill.

‘Come with me Job. Let’s go and find one.’ They crawl under a barrier and then Job sees a gigantic pile of Christmas trees.

‘Now just pick one out. They were dumped here less than an hour ago,’ says Simon and he smiles warmly at Job.

Job doesn’t know what he sees and seeks out a beautiful one. He puts his hand in his pocket and wants to give Simon the money. Simon shakes his head and tells him he doesn’t want the money, but Job pushes the money in his hand and runs down the path with the tree.

‘I hope you are well and that your tree is appreciated,’ Simon calls after him.

Job stops and says: ‘Janneke gets the most beautiful tree in the whole world,’ and walks towards the village. ‘Thank you, Simon,’ he shouts.

When he walks into the village, he looks at his tree. A nicer tree like this is nowhere for sale, he thinks. What a surprise for Janneke, oh how happy she will be. In his mind, he already sees her happy smile when she sees his tree. Now he only must cross over and ring the bell. He suddenly stops and sees the children from his class entering Janneke’s house. The curtains are open, and his mouth falls open in surprise. In the corner of the room, he sees the tree he wanted to buy for her. Decorated with balls, garlands and lights. The lights shine through the window and Janneke walks freely and cheerfully through the house. In his hand he still has his tree, which he drops out of disappointment. He hears his classmates singing Christmas songs. Among all the others he tries to discover Truus. Would she still have spoken the truth when they warned him that Janneke was kidding him all the time? ‘She’s a princess,’ he hears her say in his mind.


He sees Truus nowhere and he decides that it is better to go home. His heart is raging with anger. Then he suddenly sees Truus coming around the corner. He wants to call her, but it seems as if his throat is being squeezed. Truus stays in front of the window but is sent away by Janneke’s mother. She turns around and sees Job standing across the street.

‘Hello Job,’ she calls to him.

He waves at her and she wants to cross the street. Then Job suddenly sees a truck approaching and he runs towards her, but Truus is faster and then a huge blow and a shout follows, which he would never forget for the rest of his life.

Truus is thrown aside and ends up under the truck. The driver hasn’t noticed anything and is driving on.  Job looks scattered at her motionless body, which lies in the middle of the road.

‘No, not Truus,’ he shouts and runs towards her. Laying her head on his lap, he shouts through his tears. ‘Don’t die Truus. Please stay with me. You were right all the time,’ and he gently strokes her hair with his hand.

Truus opens her eyes and looks at Job. ‘I have such a pain Job and it is so cold. Stay with me, I’ve loved you for a long time. Don’t be too angry with Janneke, she can’t help it that she has become that way,’ she says softly and then she closes her eyes. ‘Don’t die Truus. I’m sorry I didn’t believe you. Please stay with me,’ and try to keep her awake.

People who have heard to the blow come rushing towards him and getting Truus brutally away from him. They kick him away and accuse him of pushing her under the truck. Then suddenly Simon the wanderer is there. He picks Truus up with his big hands and runs away with her. The crowd runs after him, but it looks like he has disappeared from the face of the earth.

The ambulance, who comes with a screaming siren, leaves again. After all, there is no longer a victim. The police interrogate the crowd and Job is taken. He is accused of attempted murder, even though there is no longer a victim to be found.

He is transferred to a home, where he must serve a punishment for something he hasn’t done. Occasionally his sister comes to see him and tells him what is being said about him in the village. Job keeps repeating his story, but no one wants to believe him. What he finds the worst is that he has no idea how it ended with Truus. In his dreams, he sees her face in front of him and her last words will always stay with him.


Years are going by


Only now a lot of pieces fall into his place for him and he often remembers the moments they were together in their young lives. Memories that he now cherishes. If only he had known what was really going on in her head. That’s how the years pass and finally the day comes when he can stand on his own two feet. He knows that the coming time will be anything but easy for him. Finally, he must now participate in a society that treats him unkindly and, approaches him hostile.

He finds out that his parents have moved to another village. They couldn’t bear the many gossips. His sister still lives in the parental home and receives him with open arms, but in the village, he is not welcome. They totally ignore him. He decides to try to find out where Truus was taken after the accident. He walks down the cemeteries in the hope that he could find her grave, but each time he returns home unsuccessfully.

Then the doorbell rings and Job hears that someone is asking for him. It’s the man who had coached him during his forced stay in the home.

‘Hello Job,’ he says. ‘I had promised to come and see you. Can we just talk quietly.’

Job nods and takes him to his bedroom. There he reassures the man again that he didn’t push Truus under the truck. He tells him what he had done so far to find her and about the hostile treatment toward him where he would have to get used to for the rest of his life.

The man nods and says: ‘The best thing what you can do is to make a new start and I will help you with that.’

Job feels an enormous warm feeling coming over him. Finally, someone who gives him his hand and believes in him.

Weeks later he embarks in on a ship. That ship will be his home. He gets along well with the captain and when the other crew go home, he stays on board. There he feels safe and familiar. One day the ship moors in its home port. The village where Job grew up. The past years have been good for him. He has become stronger and calmer. He is looking at the calendar.


Twenty-four December!


He reads and he must think about what happened years ago. He feels a wave of anger that he hadn’t felt for years.

‘I am innocent,’ he shouts through the galley and throws pots and pans.

‘Job,’ a voice call!

He looks around and sees the captain standing in the doorway.

‘Sorry,’ and he raises both his hands in the air.

The captain doesn’t ask why he does this but hands him a letter.

Job is surprised. ‘A letter for me? Who writes me a letter?’

‘I do not know either. Read it and you’ll find out for yourself.’

He opens the letter and reads aloud.


Dear Job,

 It’s Christmas Eve and I want to invite you to celebrate it with us

Signed, Simon



At the bottom of the letter is an address that seems to him vaguely familiar, but he can’t remember where it was.

Job thinks. Simon? who is Simon? The only Simon he knows is Simon the Wanderer. No that’s not possible. That man may have been dead for years.

He puts the letter aside and begins to tidy up the galley, but the letter keeps haunting through his head. Again, he looks at the agenda. He once promised himself never to return to the village. He closes his eyes and thinks of the accident. Again, he sees how Truus was shoved by the truck and in his head, he heard her last words. Strangely enough, he missed her.

Suddenly the captain stands behind him and asks what the problem is.

‘Boy, what can happen to you. Maybe life is different than you think. I understand that after all that happened to you you are scared. If you don’t like it, then you will come back. I will not drop you. You are like a son to me. I believe in you.’

Job looks at the old captain and decides to accept the invitation. He takes a shower, gets dressed and says goodbye to the captain.

‘Boy, how crazy it sounds. I hope this will be one time in your life that you will find a new home. Go, my boy, I will always here for you.’

Job nods, but the doubt comes back. Does he have to do this? He has his life in order now. What kind of trouble would he encounter again? The captain gives him a pat on the back and says softly, ‘Go ahead, I’ll wait for you.’

When he walks into the village, he sees that not much has changed. Every now and then, he encounters a man who is carrying a Christmas tree.  

A boy looks around and lights fireworks. Then he runs away because he knows very well that it is not allowed to do yet.

Job walks through the street where he grew up and discovers that there are several expensive cars in the street. Here and there is probably more to spend so that they can afford such a car. Suddenly he is at the same point where he was on that particular evening. Even now it is cold, just like then. Across the street is the house where Janneke once lived. It is dark there and after all these years he wonders what happened to her. Has she ever recovered from her illness? Strange that he had never thought about it again.

For a moment he wants to run away. His feelings are strengthened by seeing his old village again. He wants to go back to his safety that he build-up for years. Suddenly he sees a girl standing across the street. For a moment he thinks it’s Truus. He hears the roar of an engine and he shouts that she must stand on the sidewalk. Then the car drives past, and he is relieved to see that the girl has stopped.

She crosses the street safely and calls to him: ‘You don’t have to shout at me like that, I know how to cross safely,’ and she sticks her tongue out at him.

Relieved, he waves back, and a smile can be added to it.

‘Well done, sir,’ says a woman who takes hold of him. ‘If she had crossed, she would have ended up under that car. They drive like crazy here,’ and she shuffles further on.

Job crosses over and the door, where Janneke once lived, is opened and a man comes out. He knows for sure that this is not Janneke’s father and decides to talk to the man. He takes Simon’s letter from his pocket and asks the man if he knows where he can find the address stated in the letter.

‘I’ll just draw it up for you. It is quite remote,’ the man replies and picks up a pencil from behind his ear. At the other side of the letter, he draws where Job must be.

‘If you start walking, I think it will take you about twenty minutes. Follow the route and you will get there.’

Job thanks him kindly but becomes a little suspicious. Why does Simon meet in such a remote place? Again, he plays with the thoughts of returning to his ship, but then he hears the captain say. ‘Come on Job, what can happen to you.’

He follows the route that the man has drawn for him. He leads him through a path with enormous trees looming behind a house. The entire house is lit. In the garden, there is an old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh with a number of reindeer in front of it who are waiting to come back into action. He hears the wind humming through the trees, and it starts to snow softly. For a moment he laughs at his own thoughts. Job walks up to the porch and he hears Christmas music coming out of the house.

Just when he wants to knock, the door is opened, and he sees Simon the wanderer standing in front of him. He takes him in his arms and shouts that he is so happy that he has come.

‘Man, I looked for you and looked for you. Nobody knew where you were, but finally, here you are. We already thought you were dead.’

Not understanding Job looks at him and asks how it is possible that he found him and what is the purpose of this.

‘That doesn’t matter now. You are here. Come I have a surprise for you. Gosh, my Christmas can’t go wrong. I can’t believe you are standing in front of me, alive and well. Stay here, promised. Oh dear, this will be the most beautiful Christmas Eve of …,’

Simon closes the door and Job still doesn’t know what to think about it. Why is he here and what does Simon the Wanderer have to do with this? Not much later Simon returns and asks him to come in. Job follows him and when he is inside, he sees a room full of people staring at him. For a moment he intends to turn around, as far away as possible from here. He lets his gaze go over the crowd and he thinks he recognizes some. Janneke, yes it cannot be otherwise. She has grown up and she is beautiful. Simon walks still ahead of him and then urges him to sits on one of the chairs. He doesn’t understand a thing but decides to sit down anyway. Then he suddenly hears that someone is playing the piano Silent Night, Holy Night and then the people present to accompany the pianist while singing. It gives him goosebumps.

When it becomes quiet, the men and women walk past him. Make a knee bend and express his regret for having treated him so ugly and hostile.

He doesn’t understand a thing what is happening. Suddenly he gets up and starts addressing them.

‘Thank you, even though it is richly late. I don’t get Truus back with this.’

He gets up and walks towards the door. Just when he wants to open him, a woman is standing on his way.

‘Hello, Job.’

He doesn’t look at the woman with understanding and he certainly doesn’t understand why she is crying. He wants to ask her to let him through, but then he recognizes something in her eyes and a familiar smell comes to him.

‘It’s really me Job,’ she whispers whit a trembling voice. ‘I am so happy that you are here.’

She sees his confusion ‘You aren’t dreaming Job, I am for real, believe me. Take a good look at me, please.’

Investigating, he keeps looking at her and discovers the light brown spot on her cheek that he had always found so special. Very occasionally, in the summer when her skin colored, it had looked like a butterfly. He grabs both of her hands and says softly: ‘You really are Truus. You really are. Do you still love me,’ he asks smiling?

‘If I remember correctly, those were the last words I said to you. I remember well. You held me in your arms and comforted me. I still think you’re sweet. I love you,’ and she kissed him dearly.

Truus led him back into the room and it was a beautiful Christmas Eve. They ot to know each other again. There were so many questions. Truus told that Simon had told her about the tree that he had wanted to buy for Janneke. Simon told everyone how he picked up Truus after she was wounded and that he cared for her home to her mother. After a while, she and her mother had moved, and they never knew that there was such a fuss had arisen about the accident in the village.

‘My mother unfortunately died. I hope you can forgive everyone in the village, even though it will be a difficult task for you after everything you’ve experienced,’ says Truus.

For a moment it becomes too much for Job and says it will take some time before he is over it. When everyone has left, Job and Truus are alone in the big room.

‘Don’t you have to go with Simon,’ he asks.

Truus looks at him in surprise and says: ‘Why would I?’

‘He is your father, or did I misunderstand that?’

‘No, I received a card asking if I wanted to come here to celebrate Christmas Eve. I actually thought it was your father.’

‘Oh … strange. This looks like one of those Christmas legends,’ he whispers.

‘Oh well …, after all, it’s Christmas Eve,’ and she gives kisses him.

When they leave the house, they look back once more. They look at each other in wonder. The house has disappeared, and they saw Simon waving at them in the darkness.

He slowly changes into a radiant golden ball that suddenly starts to spin and detaches itself from the earth and disappears into the light of the moon.