They say when your senses diminish, other senses become more astute, so your eyes improve if you’re deaf, your ears if you’re blind. I don’t know how truthful that is, but it seems as my body has diminished the strength of my mind has grown.
All those books I read are now proving their worth. People used to tell me “you’ll never get a husband with your nose in a book”. As if I wanted that! I learnt a lot about the power locked in the human mind from those pages. I was a scholar, a teacher, a thinker.
You wouldn’t think I thought anything now. All you’d see is a hunched bag of bones, wrapped up in wool cardigans and sensible shoes. I cannot walk, I struggle to lift a spoon let alone a book. My body has failed me, but my mind well, that is another matter.
I had so much to offer the worlds, I was just born at the wrong time. I did as much as I could, but I never quite got what I should have. They say things are better now, they’re certainly different. No-one cares if you wear trousers or who you fall in love with.
Melanie is my great-niece and carer. No good at ‘caring’ mind. She spends more time staring at her phone than she does helping me. She shouts because she thinks I’m deaf and never listens to what I say because I take too long to get my words out. She smells like cheap perfume.
She’s rough too, pulling me this way and that to get me dressed. Doesn’t care what she puts on me so I sit here looking like a ruddy scarecrow. Always in a hurry as well, just sticks me in a chair and puts the TV on, then dashes off. I’ve learnt to block out the twaddle from that wretched box. I go inside.
My mind is a vast library, filled with memories. It smells of leather and sunbeams. I can feel the paper as I read all those old books that I love. They’re as real as I am, in my head. I have found all the nooks and cranny’s that most people never will. Living out there, they’ll never understand.
Unfortunately, this time never lasts. I am pulled back by pain, a lack of breath or a need I cannot fulfill by myself. I have to wait for Melanie. I hate having to rely on her for those moments. She calls me names if I have an accident. I know she’s waiting for me to die so she can get her hands on my things.
But she lives out there so she doesn’t know either. I’ve started to try out all those ideas I read about. And lo, my mind has responded, has shown it’s mettle. I can move things. I’ve turned off the TV without lifting a finger. I’ve even managed to leave my body. Just for a few moments, but it happened. I’ve stood outside of it, staring down at the poor creature that is myself. It was so tiring though. When I came back I was slumped sideways and I couldn’t right myself. Melanie called me a stupid old cow when she found me.
Tomorrow will be another day. And when she comes round I will use what strength I have to grasp her hand and stare into her eyes. It will only take a moment. There’s a brave new world out there and I want to explore it on brand new feet.