This story is not about one person in particular, but an amalgamation of memories of people I have known, and experiences I have had. This story is in all likelihood born from feelings of guilt, balancing competing identities, and just not enough time.
She yawned again. It was one of those jaw crunching yawns like a hippo in a David Attenborough documentary. She giggled aloud, the noise breaking the silence of the room. All was quiet except the reassuring constant tick of the dark wooden clock on the sideboard, polished lovingly, a symbol of the past. Soon be time. She scowled at the other abomination which contributed nothing to the space, no reassurance just a horrible reminder that time did not stand still, but rushes past without any acknowledgement of those it tosses aside in its relentless speed. Her loving family had bought that monstrosity, out of good intentions of course. A cold white box plugged into a socket in order to bring it to life. It’s large bold letters shouted out the year, date, the day of the week, the time. For goodness sake, as if she didn’t know the day it was, or that time moves on. Because that lovely doctor had said, as he put his hand reassuringly on hers, that she had Alzheimer’s, her family seemed to think she was losing her mind and thus she needed help remembering. Silly. She could still answer those general knowledge quizzes she watched on TV, her brain still worked. Young people don’t seem to know their facts or remember anything these days. They were too wrapped up in those phones that seem to be glued to their hands. This is where they plucked their knowledge from. What about a good book? Which reminded her, where was that book she had been reading?
She sighed. Soon be time. Yesterday she had seen that lovely family, the black ones who lived in the street. Black like her, but luckily everyone seemed to like them, and they didn’t get those nasty comments because of their skin like she did. There was that lovely girl with her two babies. She was always shouting that one, but she loved her children. A good mum. Then there was the older one who had grown up children. Beautiful woman, but sad. She had suffered at the hands of a cruel man, shocking, but she had got passed all of that now. Then there was the old man who lived with them. He knew how to move to the music – a handsome chap if ever she saw one. He reminded her of her brother. They both liked the rum, perhaps a bit too much sometimes. She liked it when he talked to her, because it brought back those lovely memories of a time when she was so happy, and life was simple. They were like family those people who lived in the street, and she liked it when they came. Soon be time.
She shifted in her seat. There is the book she was reading, sitting accusingly on the floor next to her chair. She picked it up and opened it to the page with the lovely flowery bookmark that her daughter had given her. The poem on it reminded her, in lovely words, of the fact she was a special mum. Of course her own family did come to visit her. They filled the room with life and laughter, warmth and love. However, this was not one of those days when that happened. They all had such busy lives and important jobs, small families that needed looking after, and houses that needed attending to. She didn’t want to be a burden. Perhaps she should ring one of them now though. She looked at the list of telephone numbers that had been written on a whiteboard next to the phone. Which one? She reached out for the phone and then stopped. Which one? No, maybe later. Her hand touched the book in her lap. Where was she? She put the book on the floor next to her chair. She wasn’t in the mood for reading. Soon be time.
The phone rang, the shrill persistent call was so very loud in the silence of that room. Her family had turned up the volume because they said she couldn’t hear it. Silly. Just because she had thrown those horrid hearing aids in the bin one day, doesn’t mean she can’t hear the phone. They were ugly things anyway, and when she had them in people could see that she had been judged as getting old and infirm. She picked up the phone. She had been waiting for this call. “Hello, this is Michael from BT calling about your internet provider”. It was Michael today. It was always someone different, but regular as clockwork they would ring to speak to her specially. She started to tell him about her day, but he was very busy and so it was only a quick call. She put the phone back in its holder. There, that was done for today. It was nice of them to phone. Soon be time.
The room was silent except for that reassuring tick from her wooden companion on the sideboard. She squinted her eyes, trying to read the face. Now where were her glasses. People were always moving them, and those girls that came in to help didn’t understand where her things belonged. Her glasses case on the table was empty. She sighed turning her head toward that judgemental white box shouting the time in its bold figures as if to say, “Told you so.” The dark grey numbers proclaimed it was 7.30pm. She poked her tongue out at it and reached for that magic black box on the arm of her chair. She pressed the red button, faded and rubbed with use. The television in the corner sprang to life at the command, releasing that reassuring music. She sighed contentedly, wondering if that lovely black man who reminded her of times passed would talk to her this evening. They were like family those people who lived in the street and she liked it when they came.