I had a daughter once, she had a red coat. Red, just like that yarn that woman’s knitting with. I remember when we bought it. The wife had been doubtful
‘she’s only two. Red is a bit harsh for a two year old don’t you think? They’ve got it in pink. Let’s get the pink’
But I stood my ground. My girl was going to be feisty. Look out world she’s coming to get you! And (and I think the wife would agree in hindsight) it did make her easier to spot when she ran off, which she did, often.
Yes, it makes me cry when I think about her. You got something to say about it? I miss her. And the wife. I’ve got no-one now. I’ve just been left in that place to rot. Of course, they do wheel me out from time to time ‘to get some fresh air’. I guess they’re obliged to.
Well, not ‘wheel’ me exactly. I’ve still got use of me pins. Quite sprightly really. Not like some of those old buggers in there. Sitting in their chairs all day, dribbling.
It is quite nice to get out in the park, instead of sitting in the sweltering conservatory which they insist is ‘lovely’, and this young woman seems friendly enough, though she does insist on holding my hand to stop me wandering off. Perhaps they ought to put me in a red sweater.
What’s he blubbering about now? He used to be so sharp. ‘ Cut hisself on his own tongue one ‘o these days’ me mam used to say. Now though, he’s a sentimental old fool. Cries at anything. Good job I bought the tissues. He forgets about his nose. Leaves snot dribbling down his chin all the blooming time, It’s disgusting. Can’t even be trusted to wipe his own bum these days. I’m just glad we found him a place in the home. They can do the dirty work.
Mam insisted I take him for a stroll
‘hang on to him though, he’ll run off and fall in the duck pond if you’re not careful.’
Run off my foot. He can only just put one foot in front of the other. I don’t think he enjoys ‘strolling’ anyway. It seems a bit of an effort, and he just cries all the time. No point in asking him why, he’ll probably only say ‘sausages’, that’s about all he says these days. Can’t get his words out since the stroke. What with that and the dementia, he’s pretty well gone. Doesn’t recognise us. I don’t know why we bother visiting really, but mam insists.
‘We can’t just leave him there. He’s still your dad somewhere inside.’
It’s alright for her. She just sits there knitting. That jumpers going to be way too small for Keiran. Like he’d wear it anyway. I keep telling her 10 year old boys don’t want knitted jumpers, especially not red ones.
Nice to see them together holding hands, just like they did when she was little. She used to skip alongside her dad, and he used to swing her with one hand, lifting her little feet right up off the floor. You should have heard her laugh! Him too. He used to laugh a lot. Now he cries a lot. Looks like he’s blubbing again now.
I wonder what goes on in his head. He doesn’t recognise us at all these days, and I don’t recognise him. He’s certainly not the man I married… goodness, nearly 60 years ago now. He used to be dashing then. What my mam called ‘suave’. I think it’s a word she picked up from a novel. Swept me off my feet he did. Now look at him. Poor old soul. It’s been better since he’s been in the home. I couldn’t look after him, he kept wandering off down the street muttering to himself and frightening the kids.
I miss him though. Really miss him. Even as he was at the end. The day before he was due to go in the home, I looked up from my knitting and he was sitting there holding my ball of red wool in his hands and smiling, a warm smile, not a cheesy grin, but as if he was remembering all the old times with a glint in his eye. It nearly broke my heart. I nearly caved in and kept him at home. But it was only for a few minutes, and then he went all vacant again. Just like that. There’s nothing behind the eyes now. Just blank I think. I’ve just got the knitting to keep me occupied now.
Julie keeps telling me not to bother knitting any more jumpers.
‘People don’t wear ‘em these days mam. You can get nicer ones from Primark.’ She’d said.
She’s wrong though. Primark one’s don’t have memories attached.
Written as part of the writing 101 challenge – three points of view
You brought tears to my eyes as I read this. Powerful image you have here. Thank you for sharing this.
Thanks Isabella. So glad you enjoyed it.