The Object of Pursuit of an Inner-Saboteur

14/03/2010

“Hearing a Piano”

The summer was well and truly over. Most of the residents of the Sunnyside Residential Home gathered in the main lounge to get their share of the heat coming from the fireplace. There was a sense of nostalgia in the air and everyone appeared to have succumbed to it.

            Grace was sitting near the window in her brown recliner chair. She was staring at the colourful falling leaves, the children splashing in the rain puddles and the people on the other side of the road, who shared the same resigned expression, waiting for the crowded buses to take them home.  If you could see Grace’s face now you would notice that her mind was far away. Only her frail body was still here, hiding under the lapghan blanket. She seemed completely unaware of the church bells ringing for the Angelus prayer.

            Had she been able to speak she would tell you that he was now playing her favourite piano piece: Chopin’s “Grande Valse Brilliante”. She could see him sitting on a wooden stool wearing one of his elegant cardigans and his suede house slippers. He was utterly lost in music.

Alzheimer’s has affected her ability to speak and walk. She was no longer able to dress herself and her delicate silk dresses hang purposelessly in her wardrobe, as useless as the numerous items of jewellery and colourful head scarves. Losing Theo has affected her heart and soul, her ability to live the rest of her life. She cried herself to sleep every night, shivering from cold and loneliness in her unfamiliar and bare room. During the day she managed to escape to a place where lilac’s sweet aroma carried a promise of summer and joy, and where her beloved husband still played her favourite Chopin Waltzes.

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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.’

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