Hero Child

Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
Table of Contents
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Jan wanted to be a singer
he studied singing in a big city
and returned to his home, the island, for the summer
he taught tennis and was a lifeguard at the beach
my father was a passionate tennis player and loved sports
so I had to take tennis lessons—Jan became my teacher

I was allowed to go over to his home to practice the piano
I was always welcome—I could just enter the house to play
sometimes Jan listened or even made music with me
I accompanied him while he sang songs
I loved to hear him sing
his company made me deeply happy

I see his gentle alive face with a warm and joyful expression
his warm, blue eyes shining at me with a twinkle
I never experienced him angry or cold

I was twelve when we started to write letters during the time
when we were away from the island
how I treasured those letters—this relationship
he was fourteen years older—I was thrilled by his interest in me

I remember standing next to him on my father’s boat
in a wild storm—I felt safe and confident next to him
as wave after wave hit the boat and us
until it was decided that we had to turn around and go back

indescribable joy—the joy of being with Jan—next to Jan
the joy of making music with Jan
of receiving letters from Jan—of writing to him
the joy of meeting him, secretly, at the beach at sunset
the joy of walking with him through the dunes
pushing our bicycles—while our hands are touching and holding
the joy of riding my bike—and of suddenly
feeling his arm around me
the joy of having him by my side

the joy when one day during a tennis lesson
we heard a dog cry in the distance—and I said
listen, it is your dog
we looked for him in the dunes and found him
caught in a trap—and Jan freed him

the joy of our eyes meeting when I arrived at the beach
where the light and glory of summer
were dancing and sparkling on the water
and I looked forward to him joining me in the water
where we enjoyed playfully each other’s company
or jumped high waves in the stormy sea

the joy of our eyes meeting
when he left his home across from ours
in the evening on his bike
I would always find a way to join him
so that no one knew or noticed where I was going
because I had to escape brothers or sisters
who wanted to come along for a ride

the joy of the very first kiss I received when I was fourteen
the joy of finally being embraced by another human being
the joy of my company being enjoyed and treasured
the joy of doing so many things with him
the joy of being recognized for who I was
the joy of heavenly moments we had together

on the last evening
during that unforgettable summer when he kissed me
I remember sitting on his lap and stroking my hands
through his dark blond hair, over and over again
looking at him, overflowing with love and joy, delighted to be alive
the joy of having a nickname—Herzchen—my little heart
the joy of those little notes which he would hide after that summer
in the envelope’s casing—so that my mother would not find them
notes where he wrote loving words—and my nickname
the joy of reading them over and over again
the joy of Jan

I know that I would not be who I am
without his powerful presence in my life

thirty years later I met a man who loves and treasures me
the memories of Jan and the island returned overwhelmingly
in the beginning of our relationship

how much he reminded me of my time with Jan

but this time
I was determined to get to the other side of the wall
where no one could ever again
take the joy of love away from me

© Barbara Rogers

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