On a beautiful summer evening my boyfriend and I decided to go to Schiphol Amsterdam Airport to see planes and have a drink. I remember it was shortly after I got my driver’s license so this was in another millennium.
As it turned out, while watching arriving and departing planes from a nice view at the restaurant on the top of the building, something entirely different would get our attention.
Apparently it was a quiet night, because part of the restaurant was closed down. It said so on a sign, which was overlooked by most visitors. When for the third time some people wanted to take a seat in that particular area the waitress lost her patience. I remember precisely what she called out with a raised voice: ‘Gentlemen, gentlemen, can’t you read that sign?’ At the same time the group of men turned, the lady’s face turned pale. Among them was Prince Willem Alexander (now King of the Netherlands) and one of his younger brothers. Before the waitress managed to end her stammering, the men took a seat at a table in the middle of the room. As she wrote down the orders, her face was a bright crimson by then.
We left not long afterwards. Not because we were republicans and took a dislike to anything royal. I was bothered by a man who had a seat at the table behind me. He kept bumping the back of his chair into mine and at one point he almost put his cheek on my shoulder to have a better look at the VIP’s drinking beer. With hindsight I should have asked the rude gentleman if he wanted to buy my seat.
This happened years ago and since then my life changed dramatically. I got ill with an unknown viral infection and ended up with M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). That same boyfriend is now my partner, caregiver, and the one who pays the bills. I have been chronically ill for ten years, and had to anticipate on many disappointments ever since: the regular healthcare kept sending me home empty handed (nothing wrong with me, according to the routine tests), and even being insured for disability meant nothing (no allowance for me).
I feel like I am left out. Indeed like an empty part of a restaurant, where I am sitting all alone between empty chairs and tables. People go by. They are chatting, laughing and drinking beer. However, it is not impossible for me to (partly) recover one day. Perhaps the odds of again meeting the king by chance are smaller than getting my health back ever?
This post is also available in: Dutch