The Object of Pursuit of an Inner-Saboteur

15/03/2010

“Somewhere in Time” (based on “Hearing a Piano”)

Filed under: fiction,shorty story — Monika Thornton @ 11:44
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Roman walked into the main lounge and without hesitation approached Grace. She was sitting near the window in her tatty recliner chair staring at the outside world. Her bony, wrinkled fingers were busy folding and unfolding worn flowery handkerchief. Roman noticed that her hair was neatly arranged in a bun and that she was smartly dressed in a paisley pattern green dress. On the table next to her chair there were two china mugs and a tray with shortbread biscuits.

            ‘Gracie, your tea’s getting cold.’ He lifted one of the mugs and gently placed it in her trembling hand. She nervously glanced at the empty chair opposite her and reluctantly took a couple of tiny sips. Then her shaking hand placed the mug gently back on the coffee table.

            Roman hated to see her like that, fading away like the stars in the morning. She reminded him of a porcelain doll: pale, delicate and ever so fragile. Only one year ago she was full of life and her smile regularly spread sunbeams on her cheeks.

            The first blow came so suddenly. Theo passed away only three months after they had both come to live in the Sunnydale Residential Home. One sunny morning, Grace woke up with a song on her lips, only to have her whole world crash down the next minute. Theo’s tired heart stopped beating and her own refused to follow. It was broken into million tiny pieces but still fully functional despite its unwilling owner.

            The next months saw Grace slowly removing herself from the world around her. Roman remembered too well watching her struggle to walk through the narrow corridors, every day that little bit slower and with more difficulty, shuffling aimlessly from door to door. The worst were the days when she’d become confused and delusional. Sometimes she screamed her husband’s name at night, other times she spoke to him with her tender loving voice. The diagnosis was simple yet cruel: Dementia with Lewy Bodies.

            Roman sat down in an armchair opposite Grace. The strong smell of urine was only just bearable. As her key-worker he was able to spend a lot of time in her company. He supported her independence for as long as her body and mind were willing to cooperate. She had a passion for classical music, just like her husband, so Roman arranged a loan of cd’s from the local library. Grace felt a connection with him and was always pleased to see her favourite nurse. Roman was the only one who listened to her stories about Theo’s daily visits.

            ‘What’s it going to be tonight, Gracie? One of Chopin’s Waltzes you like so much?’

            ‘Well, I’m hoping for Rachmaninoff’s “Somewhere in Time”, but he likes to surprise me,’ she said. ‘I wonder why he’s so late today?’

She scrunched the handkerchief in her fidgety hands. Her legs were trembling so Roman took the blanket that was draped over the back of his armchair and placed it on Grace’s lap. Her lavender perfume reminded him of his grandmother. 

                                                                      ***                                                       

Grace refused to go to bed that night. When Roman had arrived on his night duty, he was told that she insisted on waiting for her husband to play her bedtime tune. The fireplace had been left on and Grace was allowed to stay in her usual spot. Roman ignored the ringing telephone and concerned went in to see her. The loud steps made her look in his direction.

            ‘They keep telling me I’m crazy. They want to keep us apart, just like he said they would. I won’t let them, I won’t!’

            ‘It’s okay, Gracie. Please, don’t get upset. Theo wouldn’t want to see you sad.’ Roman kneeled down in front of her. Grace’s hair was messy, her pyjama top buttoned up wrong, her cheeks wet and red.

            ‘They broke my necklace, look.’ Her opened palm revealed that the string of pearls had its fastener missing.

            ‘Oh Gracie, I’m sure we can fix that.’ Roman looked up and saw her face lightening up with the most enchanting smile.

            ‘No need, my dear. Theo is finally here. He can take care of my pearls now.’

            Roman felt the shivers down his back. He wasn’t quite sure whether it was the sudden cold breeze that caused them or the sound of one of the most beautiful piano pieces – Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”-that suddenly filled the lounge.

13/03/2010

“My Last Meal”

The door to my wardrobe creaked open. I had no idea what to wear. I was happy to go ahead with our plan but I wasn’t in a celebratory mood. My hand reached for the black dress that was still in a clear bag from the dry cleaners. I haven’t worn it since the funerals. Was it an appropriate choice for tonight?

Marcel picked me up at 7. He looked incredibly good in his smartly-cut velvet jacket and well-pressed trousers. We didn’t speak until we got to the Giardino Fresco restaurant.

‘I need to know you are certain.’

‘Marcel, that fire took away everything, everyone I love. I can’t lose you as well.’

He kissed my hand and pulled me gently towards the door.

I chose this small quaint Italian restaurant for its ambiance. We sat down in one of the booths. I looked at familiar wall paintings and started to relax. The unmistakable aroma of roasted garlic penetrated my nostrils. ‘I’m going to miss this,’ I thought.

I don’t usually order starters, but tonight I decided to make an exception. My last meal had to be perfect. Portabello Mushrooms Stuffed with Garlic, Walnuts and Parmesan Topping. It smelled heavenly. I savored every single precious bite.

Marcel watched me with a mixture of delight and amusement. He raised his great big glass of vintage Vioigner and said:

‘I’m so proud of you. I love you. Forever.’

I wanted to say something back to him, but the waiter arrived with our main course. Tortellini with Spinach and Gorgonzola Sauce.

Marcel faked his way through the meal, but I devoured this luscious main course followed by excitedly anticipated dessert of Rum-Soaked Chocolate Terrine with Vanilla Wafers.

Our gazes met and I saw hunger in his increasingly darker eyes.

‘Oh Marcel, this was ambrosial. I am now ready to become a vampire.’

“Is there a prince in there?” K. Blixen

I have decided to create a blog purely for my creative writing projects. I want all of my stories and poems in one place. Some of them I am happy with, some still need work… I used to hide my unfinished projects in a drawer promising to come back to them, but I never did. This is my virtual drawer, my compost heap, a place where I’m hoping my work will mature 🙂  I’m also hoping for a boost of motivation and inspiration, you can never have enough of that!

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