Asem deur Jan Vermeulen | Chapter 8 | English Summary

Asem deur Jan Vermeulen

Chapter 8 Summary

They eventually arrive at Paul Barnard’s home. He looks very little like what Barries remembers, with interesting accents like tattoos and of course, a much calmer demeanour. Putting Barries’s luggage into his room, Paul explains that the house does not run on electricity and rather various forms of renewable energy, as well as batteries. He built the entire property himself. That being said, he does not expect them to have power for about two days. Barries is already livid with the situation due to the fact that he wants to contact Nico but has no phone, not to mention the fact that Paul’s phone is dead and Jonker’s has no signal. Barries asks to be shown the toilet, which turns out to be a pit toilet outside. Revealing that he had one of Aunt Millie’s Oven pies, Barries is suddenly overcome with the discomfort of an upset stomach. He makes several trips to the pit toilet that day, experiencing symptoms like chills and fatigue. He struggles to take a nap, so Paul gives him a few sips of a sports drink to replenish his electrolytes. He wakes up to Paul’s presence in the room. Barries asks again for his cell phone, or even the one his father was supposed to have for him, but Paul tells him that his battery’s still dead and he has no phone for him.


Barries looks around at some of the artwork, pausing to take a closer look at a work of a partially nude woman in a floral sarong. He notes it to be “Olga”, noting the fact that he saw the same sarong in the buggy. He sees another one of Olga, laying on her back with her head tilted back. Barries takes a shot at Paul for the paintings, saying that Paul ought to feel ashamed for the age difference between himself and Olga. She and Stef Jonker live close by on the other side of the hill. Barries looks around and spots the calendar, with all the days before the current crossed out. Paul mentions that it is a counter of the number of days he has been clear of alcohol. The last time he drank was two years ago, but Barries, eager to provoke him, asks Paul if he still keeps a bottle inside his mattress. He does. Barries notices that his own birthday has been scratched onto the calendar – November 26th. Barries begins to press on about his childhood abuse, reminding his father about the times he’d use a belt to beat him. He also asks Paul why he left home and Paul mentioned the interdict against him. The interdict was against the abuse; however, not against Paul’s presence in Barries and Vera’s lives. Barries starts punching Paul’s shoulder in an attempt to provoke a violent reaction from him, but he didn’t react. Paul merely says, “When the time is right and we’re alone, we’ll talk about it”.

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