"Years ago I went to school in this area. Every day I rode ten kilometres there and back sometimes with the sea wind behind me, but mostly straight into it."
Sabine is now 23, working in a bank in Amsterdam, but she grew up just south of Den Helder.
I love cities with a soul, with a historic centre. But the only thing old about Den Helderare the people. All the young people go to Alkmaar and Amsterdam when they leave school. The only people left are sailors and tourists, taking the boat to Texel.
School was a misery for Sabine, who found herself bullied and excluded by a girl who was once a friend. One day, as she is cycling home along the Lange Vliet, she sees her tormentor just ahead. At the junction between Jan Verfaillerweg and Seringen Avenue (Seringenlaan, marked A), Isabel turns right towards a the Dark Dunes.
She is going to meet a boy, and Sabine decides to follow her. What happens next has been blocked from Sabine's memory, and might be the reason for the severe depression that means she is absent from work for many months.
One of the many reasons I enjoyed The Reunion is that I have cycled many times through and around Den Helder, staying at Julianadorp, and passing the Dark Dunes (De Donkere Duinen), even catching the ferry to Texel.
- I read The Reunion (trans Michele Hutchison) as part of my Read the Walk Zoo City Challenge.