During her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village this morning, The Maakster stopped abruptly when she saw something glistening in the sun in the driveway to a house. Bending down, she saw that it was a bank card. The address on the card matched that of the house she was standing in front of, so she decided to ring the bell. The door didn’t open, but out of the corner of her eye she saw a movement behind the window. She rang the bell a second time and this time looked directly at the window. There she saw someone just ducking behind a curtain. When the front door still didn’t open after ringing a third time, she walked across the neatly mowed lawn and knocked on the window. An elderly woman appeared, hesitantly, cheeks flushed with excitement. The Maakster smiled kindly, held up the bank card with one hand and pointed at it with her other hand. The old woman put her hands over her mouth, got even redder, and finally decided to open the front door just a little bit. She cleared her throat and tried to sound stern: ‘Yeeeees? We never open the door to strangers!’ ‘Don’t worry, I’m not dangerous,’ The Maakster reassured her. She held up the bank card: ‘Could this be yours?’ The resident let out a little cry of relief. ‘Oh, that’s my husband’s. We have been looking for it for hours! Won’t you come in for a minute?’ and she opened the door wide. For someone who claimed to never open the door to strangers, that was very brave. The Maakster politely declined though and continued her walk.
Two streets further, you won’t believe it, The Maakster found, yes, another bank card in the driveway of a house! This one too lay shining in the sun. It had a woman’s name on it and ‘resident’ below it, but no address. The Maakster saw that the house she was standing in front of had three doorbells with name tags, so she decided to ring. While she patiently tried the entire row of bells twice, this front door also remained hermetically closed. Either nobody was at home, or here they didn’t open to strangers either.
The Maakster had seen an elderly couple washing a car on the other side of the road. She walked over there and explained about the bank card she had found in the driveway across the street. The woman carefully took the card and studied it in silence for several minutes. Then her husband asked if he could also see it. He turned the card over and over. After the silence became uncomfortable, the woman suddenly said, “Well…, that’s a ralartive of ours.” The man, also still with a pensive look on his face, agreed, “Yeah, that’s a ralartive.” After at least another full minute of silence, the woman slowly pointed to the house across the street and said, “Well…., they live there. And other resadents live there too. Disarbeled people, yes…’ The Maakster reacted with relief: ‘Ah, that’s why it says ‘resident’ on the card. You know those people?” “Jeah…?” the woman hesitated, and “Jeah…?” her husband echoed faintly in the background. “Can I leave the card with you then? Will you make sure it gets returned to its owner?” The couple needed to have another deep think about that too, him with the garden hose and her with a sponge in hand. Just when De Maakster got the feeling that she had lost all contact with the couple who were staring into nothingness, the man decided ‘Well…. leave it here then. We’ll give it to them. That’s our ralartive.’ Phew!
And once chance has run amok, it won’t stop.
Further on her walk, just past the cash machine and the eyewear shop, The Maakster saw yet another plastic card shining on the sidewalk in front of her feet. She picked it up. It couldn’t be a bank card, for this one was square instead of rectangular. It turned out to be a season ticket for the soccer club in the nearest big city. The Maakster decided she’d done enough good deeds for today, threw the card back on the sidewalk, and walked on.