I really wanted waffles

It was a grey cold winter day when our class was interrupted by a knock on the door. Our grade 3 teacher opened the door to reveal S's mother on the other side much to our surprise. S was a girl in our class and her parents owned a bakery with a little tea-room just one block away from school. We always joked about it since she often arrived late in class although she lived closest by of all of us.

Our teacher and S's mother had a brief conversation on the outside of the door after which our teacher came back in leaving the mother nervously smiling at us from the opening.

"The mother of S has invited us all to come and eat waffles in the bakery"

We were surprised & confused about this unexpected announcement during about 2 seconds after which a round of enthusiastic cheers took over.
"She'd like us to come right now, so you can leave all your stuff on your desk. Go to the hallway and put on your coats".
These instructions didn't need to get repeated to get us going.

When we got into the hallway I noticed that both grade 5 classes next doors were emptying as well and I was confused that S's mom would have invited them as well? Why would she do that? Could we all fit in the bakery?
I did not get much time to think about it as we went downstairs immediately. From the next building more kids were getting outside. At this point our teacher didn't direct us to the nearby gate but we followed the flow of classes towards the high school's basketball field passed the playground. We started picking up parts of conversations in the other classes. Some words kept vibrating in the air and we repeated them among ourselves with question marks as if my friends would be able to confirm or not. Really, was this true?

I could see that my mom had gathered her grade 6 class on the field as well and I quickly ran towards her.
"Mom mom, we are going to eat waffles at S's...what's going on, is it true what they are saying? Why are you here too? Where are you going to?"
"Yes it's true, but you have to stay with your own class. Be happy that you can go to the bakery, everyone else has to go the the park or the city event hall if they'll open it up for us. Her mom must have heard the news on the radio. Come on, go back to your teacher. "

I ran back to my class where in the mean time G. was crying hysterically. We gathered around G. and tried to comfort her although I got quickly annoyed by her melodramatic reaction.
"The bomb is only going to explode at 4PM, we won't be here, nothing is going to happen to us." we said. "The police is coming to search the buildings. And the bomb can be hidden in a different school as well" "Come on, stop crying, why are you crying so hard?"

After a short moment the police indeed arrived at the school and we all left. Most classes headed to the city hall that had been opened up but we turned off towards the bakery. Halfway we were crossed by a class from a different school and I recognized my best friend from the neighbourhood in the group. "Hey where are you guys going?" "To the park" "Oh cool, we're going to the bakery" "Bye" "Yeah see ya!"
I was disappointed not to be going to the park either.

We all settled into the tea-room and filled the space with amazing stories of exploding buildings, spectacular fires and police searches through our class room etc... It didn't take long though before G launched another panic attack that forced us to quiet down.

And then we were bored. We had only our fingers to drum the table and S's mother made no move at all to make us some waffles. My suggestion to S whether I had to help to set the tables was ignored. And the clock simply didn't move. Not with the help of S's childish coloring books either. The cold city park looked so attracting!

And then all of a sudden it was a quarter to 4. And I couldn't help stare at the clock.
Did I hear sirens? Did I hear an explosion? Weren't we awfully close to the school? Wouldn't the bakery blow up as well? How on earth could the police search all schools of the city center full of bags & coats and cabinets in a couple of hours time and be certain that they had found the bomb or that there was no bomb? All of a sudden the thought that school would be closed for weeks wasn't so exciting anymore. Where would we go? I would have to buy new pencils and I'd loose my favourite binder as well.

Our teacher was making some phone calls and a little after 4 we were going back towards the school. I thought that was way too early. What if the bomb would go off a bit after 4?
But all seemed very peaceful and everyone returned to pick up their stuff in order to go home. Like any other day...without waffles .



some background info:
In the mid-80ies Belgium was in the grip of a communist terrorist organisation (the CCC) who were responsible for several bomb attacks on international organisations such as NATO and business organisations in the wide area around Brussels. They were "nice" enough to always warn their targets so they "only" caused 2 deadly victims. Their last bombing was in dec 4, 1985 in Antwerp. They got arrested that same month, served their time in prison and are currently free on parole. In the same period '84- 85 one of the bloodiest gangs was active: 'the Nijvel gang' or the 'killers from Brabant', responsible for severe hold-ups in Belgian supermarkets...usually with a lot of victims and extremely little stolen money. In total they made over 28 deadly victims. The investigation to the gang has been marked by blunders and has never had any result despite regular re-opening of the files. The entire story of the gang is often inspiration for many police/para-military/political conspiracy theories in the media, books and movies. Personally I remember asking my parents not to go shopping on a Friday evening as most hold-ups seemed to take place on a Friday evening.

The false bomb warning in my home town that had set 5 high schools & 3 elementary schools in the city center on the street was in this atmosphere. That same week a military robot has blown up a suspicious but harmless left behind briefcase at the train station.

Comments

Brian Miller said…
oh wow. intense story...you had me all the way...and i want waffles too after that...
Snooker said…
I agree with Brian. Very intense story, and very well told.
Jenn said…
wow, what a scary thing for a kid to go through.

Jenn
yab said…
Goh, jammer dat die wafels er nooit gekomen zijn.
zusjesenzo said…
Allez zeg, wel stom van die moeder om wafels te beloven en dan niks te bakken. Maar wel een spannend verhaal!