It is that the taxi driver Marc Hesselink (57) himself says it: ‘I am a bit of one hoard† His little rental house in Amsterdam is filled with, yes, everything: records, CDs, a row of pets in the red sofa behind him, display cabinets with classic miniature cars. He is a member of the Gay Classic Car Club, a few weeks ago he drove through France with his best friend, him in a Triumph Spitfire, the friend in an MG B.
At that friend’s home, it is ‘almost sterile’, according to Hesselink. He immediately throws away everything he no longer needs. A tidy house is a tidy mind, he thinks, and I understand well that it works that way for him. My head is not cleared either, and I love it; to get lost, to rumble, to get lost. It’s nice to have your own little mess without anyone saying, ‘You have to clean up that mess.’
No one has ever said that one has to clean up ‘that mess’. ‘When it comes to living alone, I always say: it’s something that sneaks into your system. And it has also been spoon-fed to me. I am an only child. My father died when I was 14, my mother had a strange life. As a little girl, she lost her entire family in a Japanese camp and returned from India alone when she was ten. She ended up with a grandmother who did not understand her. After my dad died, she never got any more. She’s 86 and still lives in the house I grew up in. ‘
Have you had serious relationships?
‘I had the longest relationship with a Brazilian. It was a long-distance relationship that lasted two or three years. It broke down because he could not settle here, but I must admit that I was also afraid to live together. I thought it was a disturbing thought that he would move to Holland and move in with me.
‘I know now that I only work best and I really do not care what others think about it anymore. But I thought for a long time: everyone has a relationship, everyone has to live together, so it has to be done. I’m missing something. Am I missing something? I’m not crazy? ‘
How long is that period behind you now?
‘The Brazilian, that was more than ten years ago. After that, I became a little more cynical, also because I saw many relationships around me end in horrible ways. I have come to see the glorification of love as a form of religion and have even become an atheist. You are no one until someone loves youIt is instilled in us from an early age. It’s some shit, you can be very happy without a relationship. I envy people who have found great love, such as my best friend. But I can see that it is not for everyone and that you should not sit and wait for it. ”
Have you been waiting for that?
‘It used to be. I grew up as a rather lonely child with few friends. I was bullied and started idealizing the get-together: When I get old enough, I get a boyfriend and it gets more fun. Getting out changed my view of the norm. I met all kinds of people who were not directly interested in starting a family, and I saw that such a life could also be very nice.
‘I still have the illusion that everything will be simpler if it’s really great love that I do not get anxious feelings from living together or maintaining a relationship. I see it in those people with a happy relationship around me: it works, they should not force anything. It’s nice, that’s how I want it too ‘.
What makes it difficult?
‘There is a resistance in me. I think it has to do with growing up, being completely used to being alone, maybe even the bullying that makes me quickly put up shields.
‘My mother brought me up with the idea: you have to take care of yourself, because no one else will. I do not blame her, even though I think she sometimes let me dangle when I came to her with a problem. ‘It’s better if you solve this yourself’, I was told, while as a child you sometimes seek support. I now know that she could not do otherwise and that it has made me strong.
“I have a Taoist mantra. You should not try to be more than you are. I will not make myself unhappy by longing for or striving for something that is not there anyway. Of course I still fall in love sometimes .You meet someone you like and then you start filling things out.You try to fit that person into your life.Now that I’m getting older, I can better see it for what it is: a fantasy. “It’s nice to have certain fantasies, but you should not think that’s actually the case. When you’re younger, it’s always a disappointment. ‘
Is it also a form of self-protection to look at love in this way?
‘Oh yes, of course. You also run into a character issue here. I have a very even mood, without giant peaks and valleys, and I like that. When people want to mate me, I get itchy. Actually, of course, it’s meant to be sweet, they wish me the best. ‘
And then they are convinced: the best thing is to live with a loved one by your side.
laughs. ‘Yes, that’s the case with believers in general, not true. Jehovah’s Witnesses also believe they can get a foot in the door. ”
Can’t get a foot inside the door with you?
‘My grandfather was a widow at a young age and married his secretary when he was 65. They have been together for almost thirty years, happily. Well, then I think to myself: I’m not 65 yet, anything is still possible.
‘I buy a lottery ticket every month, even though I know the chances of me ever winning that million are minimal. But the idea that it is possible that it exists is nice. It’s great when it happens, but it should not be the goal. At this age, I can enjoy the imagination without it having to become a reality.
‘I have learned to live well with myself. “Sometimes I really hate having to go to bed alone, but I’m always happy to get up on my own.”