“O, wat bent u mooi,” zingt Foleo. Bimo doet tweede stem. “O, wat ben ik mooi!”

“O ja?” vraagt mevrouw Huisjes kritisch.

Vanuit een hoekje kijk ik toe. Naar de dames rond de grote tafel. Grijze hoofden knikkebollen, magere vingers plukken aan het plakje cake dat de ochtend iets feestelijks moet geven.

Dan komen de clowns. De CareClowns.

Ik houd niet van clowns. Ik moet altijd denken aan ‘It’ van Stephen King. Of aan het drama in Oude Pekela. Mijn allergrootste angst is ooit uit een narcose te ontwaken en een lollige CliniClown te ontwaren aan mijn voeteneinde. Wat een ramp. Ik vind clowns ook zo triest. ’s Avonds al die bende weer van je toet poetsen en dan naast de veel te dikke trapezeartieste in bed kruipen in een afgeragde circuscaravan op een treurig onder water gelopen voetbalveldje in een klein provinciestadje. Dat beeld. Dat vertel ik dan ook eerlijk aan de stichting die me uitnodigt eens te komen kijken naar de CareClowns.

“Je moet het zien,” verzekeren ze me.

Ja ja.

Foleo en Bimo komen zingend door de gang. Hier en daar komt een grijs hoofd omhoog. Een mevrouw begint alvast in haar handen te klappen. Een andere mevrouw lacht hardop. De mist trekt op. Ogen stralen. En één mevrouw bekijkt ze vertederd. Alsof ze denkt: ‘Die malle jongens. Laten we maar meespelen, want volgens mij zijn ze een beetje in de war!’ De dames voeren de clowns hapjes cake en iedereen gaat mee in improvisatie en samenzang.

Iedereen. Behalve mevrouw Schillings. Die doet niet mee. Ze heeft haar ogen dicht.

“Zij slaapt,” merkt Foleo op.

“Sssssst,” waarschuwt Bimo.

Dan zie ik de magere schouders van mevrouw Schillings  schudden. Schudden van de ingehouden lach. Foleo schrikt ervan. Ik zie de ontroering dwars door zijn clownsmasker heen. Mevrouw Schillings slaapt niet! Ze speelt mee. Ze speelt stiekem de hoofdrol! Ik zit stil in mijn hoekje. Ik kijk toe. Tranen in mijn ogen.

“We sparen om dit maandelijks te kunnen betalen,” fluistert activiteitenbegeleidster Monique me toe. “Want er gebeurt iedere keer weer een wonder.”

Foleo en Bimo vertrekken met een afscheidslied. Iedereen zingt mee en zwaait. Dan zakken hoofden in, ogen keren naar binnen. De mist is terug. Mevrouw Schillings slaapt.

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