I am as real as you want me to be

In 1989 at the age of twenty I left my parents’ home to move to the campus of the university. Students lived in groups. Newcomers had to do an interview before being admitted to a dormitory. It was my seventh interview. A female student asked most of the questions. She seemed to be the boss. She attracted my attention in other ways too. During the interview she said to me: “You have been warned of me during a previous interview.” She then mentioned the specifics of what had been said and the name of the student warning me. And indeed it had happened that way.

I was admitted and moved in. She often said peculiar things. For instance, she repeated the acronym HAFMO like a mantra many times. These letters formed the initials of the first and middle names Hans van Mierlo, the leader of the Dutch political party D66. He was good-looking and popular with the ladies. D66 was a pragmatic liberal party favouring referendums. The party later played an important role in the reforms that made the Netherlands one of the most liberal countries in the world.

Elections were upcoming so I guessed she would vote for D66 but that may not have been the reason why she said this. D66 and Hans van Mierlo have been used in a peculiar scheme related to D-Day. This is strange. Strange was another word she repeated often.

She was intimidating. It was better not to stand in her way. She dominated the scene. Once she said that all the women in her vicinity adapted their cycles to hers, perhaps to illustrate that point. She occupied herself with cryptic crosswords. These are about hidden meanings of words. She wanted the living room to be redecorated. And so it was done, like everything else she requested.

After a few weeks she began to make hateful remarks towards me. That was only when the others were around. When we were alone she tried to connect to me. And she was quite good at that. On one occasion she told me that you should always faithful to each other. This was a bit out-of-place as it was something a lover might say. She had a fancy man so I didn’t think much of it. And I didn’t give her reason to think that I fancied her. She nevertheless managed to get under my skin like no-one else had ever done.

She singled me out. It was as if she had moulded the group into her little version of Paradise and that I didn’t fit in. After some time a few others wanted me to leave too. She reproached me for being rude and hurting the feelings of others. The hysterical scenes she made convinced me that it was better to leave. I was a hapless autist and not much aware of the feelings of others but not willing to hurt these feelings. In other words, I wasn’t fit to live in such a group. And so there was no reason to suspect a hidden agenda.

Since then I never saw her again. It took some years to get my life on track. In the decades that followed a series of peculiar coincidences transpired, suggesting that my business with her wasn’t finished yet. Some of these incidents were eerie. For years I believed them to be just coincidences. That was until the autumn of 2008.

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