Fireworks of Happiness
Fireworks of Happiness
It’s noon on Monday, time for our weekly visit to the Neurological Hospital on Rosenhügel in Vienna. It’s a very special visit for us because life has been cruel to all the children who end up here: they suffer from a total lack of structure in the family, and have witnessed or even personally experienced physical violence, abuse and neglect. There is often nobody around to give them support, set important boundaries, or give them confidence, recognition and love.
We, the clowns Dr. Vincenzo and Dr. Dagmar, found 9-year-old Marcel crouching on a chair, sitting immersed in himself. His body language portrays a picture of misery. Introverted, he gazes half out of the window, half staring at the wall. He suddenly registers that we are present, but isn’t quite sure what’s happening and how to react. After all, two clowns are standing right on his doorstep. Marcel’s realm of emotions wavers between insecurity, withdrawal and amazement.
We’ve been able to make a little bit of contact with him, so we draw closer - we’re allowed to now. Marcel is the boss here and only he dictates. Others have been making all the decisions over him and his life for too long. In tragic family situations, he was often tossed around like a ping pong ball from the family to the crisis intervention centre, from there to supervised living facilities, then back to the family, and presently he’s been relocated once again and landed here in hospital.
Marcel discovered my colourful glittering bag. “What’s inside?” His first words! Great! “Lots of magical things!” I reply. The boy’s interest grows, his eyes start to shine brightly. Dagmar brings out a little bottle, opens it, and plop! “Oh, just soap bubbles!” Marcel comments almost in a disappointed manner. But that’s really part of the plan and whoa! Just as I catch one bubble, I open my hand and suddenly have a glass marble sitting in my palm instead! “WOW! How did you do that?” We’ve got him! But without any long explanations, the marble disappears and reappears in the most impossible places. First, it pops up near us, then suddenly it rolls out of Marcel’s ear, and the next moment it emerges out of his shoe. Hearty laughter fills the room. “Do it again! Please! Let it come out of there, or there!”
Without warning a glass marble converts into an egg shaker! Marcel is delighted. He grabs the egg and is hooked on the beat, which he himself is enticing out of the instrument. We pick up his rhythm, grab the ukulele, plus the garden hose trumpet, and - away we go, rocking the room! Cool! “That’s greeeeat, Marcel. He’s got the beat - hip and faaaast! Yes, Marcel’s music makes us feel happy and light-hearted,” we sing out loud. Marcel feels so good being the one delivering the song. Right at this moment, he’s important, we are taking notice of him, and we admire him. He feels needed and valuable.
As a reward for his courage, vibrantly coloured scarves explode in the air like a magical fireworks display illuminating the room. As they gently float down onto Marcel’s head, he joyfully throws them back up. What beautiful forms and movements they make...
For us the time has come to say goodbye, as other children are also waiting for our visit. For Marcel, however, this carefree and liberating scenario could go on and on forever. “No, don’t go yet! Stay a bit longer with me!” A pleading look, a big hug. Then a shy smile crept up over his lips when he heard we would be back next Monday.