In the thing where I keep the small metal circles I give the man in the shop where I buy bread, I find two papers I do not know. Why don’t I know them? This is my thing, it is mine because inside is a yellow paper with my name. Mary. Inside is my purse, this is where I keep the small metal circles and sometimes large paper things with people’s faces on. The lady at the bank, Annette, gives me the paper things every Friday. She says “Hello Mary, have you come for your money?” and she gives me the paper things. She always smiles and is ever so kind. I look at the two papers, they do not have my name on them, on one side there are words and on the other is a picture of two grey men. Who are these men? What are they doing in my thing? Someone must have put them there when I was asleep? I mustn’t go to sleep. People want to steal things. My Bill bought it for me, he said I needed a thing to keep my money in. Perhaps the papers are not mine. They do not have my name on. My name is Mary.
One paper says ‘musee dorsay paris’ and the other paper says ‘musee dorsay paris’. And ‘040613 1000’.
040613 1000 is a number. I was good at arithmetic at school.
Paris is in my atlas. Geography was my favourite class at school. Paris has a capital pee.
Look at my atlas. See here, Paris is on the paper called ‘FRANCE’. I can speak French, I learned French at school. I have been to France.
“Je m’appelle Mary.”
I remember drinking a coffee in a cup and the table moved, coffee on the floor, coffee on my hand. Hot. Dirty. I remember a toilet in the big building, my hand hurting. A thing to dry your hands after a wee. Not a towel. A hot noisy thing. You put your hands up and down in it, like putting your hands into the mouth of a dog with sharp teeth. And my hand hurt.
There was a man in France. Not a grey man. Bill. My Bill.
Bill is not Bill anymore. He is under the green.
I am on my own now. Did I tell you, I am on my own now. My name is Mary. I can speak French.
© Sandra Danby
[this story was first published at Ether Books]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
PARIS a #shortstory about #dementia & love via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2v1