Naflafiwrimo Day 23: Memories

Quite a long one today and one that definitely needs redrafting. I don’t like the ending much, it seems a bit weak. The idea is that David starts to remember everything he’s ever done, good and bad. I’ll come back to this next month and improve it.

Memories

David’s arse is going numb so he fumbles down the side of his chair. Wasn’t there something, someone said–

Ah, he’s got it, whatever it is. He pulls it up and peers at it. He can’t have the right glasses on; everything is blurry. Is it a remote control? It looks like one, though there’s a wire coming out of it, would that make it a non-remote control? Ha. Haha.

He presses a button and something presses against his legs. It pushes them up until they’re almost horizontal. The pain is excruciating.

‘Jesus, feck!’ His voice surprises him; the words are slow and slurred.

He presses another button but it doesn’t seem to help.

‘Janey Mac!’

He presses all the buttons. Eventually the chair tilts back so he’s almost lying down. That wasn’t what he was trying to, bloody thing, why doesn’t it just listen?

His arse is still numb.

He‘ll have to ask someone, but who is there? What’s her name, that one, or the other, with the hair.

‘Nurse!’ he shouts. He shouts a few times but his voice is hoarse and doesn’t carry.

A nurse arrives a few minutes later and finds him asleep, the buttons for the chair clutched in his hand. She takes his half-drunk cup of now cold tea and leaves him.

*

He wakes up and finds a nurse smiling at him, the one with the hair. Big girl. Big hair, with pink in it. Looks ridiculous.

‘It’s time for your tea, David,’ she says.

He blinks. ‘I’ve got the wrong glasses on.’

‘You don’t need your glasses to eat,’ she says, sitting down on his bed, next to his armchair. She starts to feed him the mush on the plate. She alternates spoonfuls from the green to the brown to the white mush. He eats it up and in between each mouthful he tries to tell her about the pictures on the dresser next to him.

‘That’s my girl,’ he says. ‘That’s her.’

‘Is that Pam? The one who comes to visit you, David?’

‘Eh?’ Mouthful. Swallow. ‘No, that’s not her, that’s my other one, that’s–’ Mouthful. Swallow. ‘Good girl Pat, Pam. She looks after me, you know.’

‘She certainly does.’

‘She’s, that’s.’ David looks at the pictures. They are full of familiar faces surrounded by unfamiliar ones. The ones in the middle are the ones that matter, his family, at least he still knows them.

Mouthful. Swallow.

‘You’ve got to remember the important things,’ he says. The nurse nods.

Mouthful. ‘That’s. The other one.’ The nurse wipes his chin.

‘Careful, David, you’ll make a mess of yourself.’

Mouthful. ‘That’s–’

‘David, careful–’

‘That’s!’ he shouts, flinging his arms up and knocking his table and the plate onto the floor. He seethes for a moment, then sinks back into his chair, exhausted. He looks round for the nurse, the one with the stupid hair, but she’s gone.

‘He’s very forgetful, and recently he’s been prone to getting angry about it. He’s shouted at the nurses before.’

Someone’s talking, about him probably. They think he can’t hear, but his ears still work! You bet, everything else has gone to shit but his ears are still fine. Where are they? He can’t see anyone in his room. Are they hiding?

The door opens and someone comes in.

‘Hi Dad,’ she says.

‘Pat!’

For a moment she loses her smile. ‘Pam, Dad.’

‘Pam!’ He smiles and then looks at the pictures on the dresser beside him.

She looks for recognition in his eyes but doesn’t find any.

*

When Pam goes David looks at the photos once again. Names spring to mind but he can’t connect them up with faces.

‘I hate getting old,’ he mutters. No, he’s past that point. He is old. It would be fine if he could just remember things. He can remember things he did as a boy, like climbing trees and stealing apples, and how the farmer used to chase them all, that was a laugh!

He reminisces for a few moments and then loses his train of thought and he’s back where he began.

He wishes he could remember more things, like these people he should know in the pictures and the names of the nurses and everything.

‘I just… wish I could remember things,’ he says.

And like a wish granted, he does. He begins to remember everything.

When Pam arrives for her next visit her dad is being fed his tea.

‘Look who it is, David,’ the nurse says.

David looks up with a little prompting and smiles. ‘Pam,’ he says. The nurse wipes some dribble away from the corner of his mouth.

Pam laughs. ‘Yes, it’s me, Dad. How are you today?’ she asks, but his eyes have glazed over. He swallows the food the nurse gives him but only says a few more words that day.

‘He’s happy, lost in his memories,’ the nurses tells Pam. ‘Which memories do you think he likes best?’

‘I don’t know,’ she says. She hopes that, if memories are all he has left, then he’s remembering the good ones.

 

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About lemonmachine

I am Kieren McCallum, a third-year English Literature student at UEA, Norwich. View all posts by lemonmachine

3 responses to “Naflafiwrimo Day 23: Memories

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