When I was 12, the world was about to end. It was 1983 and talk of nuclear weapons, nuclear attacks and the world ending were daily occurrences. Radio, television, newspapers. You couldn't get away from it. And when they started haunting my dreams it was made very real.
The plane that flew over, the bomb that dropped. It was terrifying and my last week at my old school (we were about to move to a new town and that probably had a lot to do with it as well) was not good to say the least. Nor were the first few weeks at the new school for that matter. The fear I had felt and that had kept me from sleeping and eating was now replaced by something else. Something else that kept me from sleeping and eating. A boy called Willem. He was nice. He was the first boy I fell in love with. And I was terrified yet again. Because if the result of being afraid and being in love was the same: not sleeping, not eating, fretting all the time, I hated it!
The bomb was never dropped, causing a nuclear holocaust. The Dutch dykes never broke, causing a flooded country. The end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties saw some positive signs in the world. The wall was torn down, uniting a country that had been separated since World War II (Germany in case you need a reminder). For the first time ever in its history, all citizens over 18, regardless of colour were allowed to vote (South Africa). The world was on the way up!
And then somehow it got ruined. Over the past 20 years it seems as everybody tries to outdo each other. A will bomb B, B will flatten A. C gets in the mix wanting a piece of the action. And after a while, all the other letters of the alphabet (including Æ, Ø and Å) join in. Because they can, because they feel threatened, because of whatever. Millions on the run, hunger, devastation, violence. Lost children, lost parents, lost everything.
And that 12-year old? Sitting in her room right now? Fearing another idiot with a gun/bomb/lorry/suitcase? Invading her dreams and turning them into nightmares? Let's just hope that soon she dreams of the normal stuff again. Horses, flying bikes, butterflies. And boys (or girls)!