The character in Alison’s piece has trouble remembering anything at all – but the ocean takes her back to where she needs to be.
I don’t remember anything much these days. Life has become a kind of haze, where nothing starts or ends, it just suddenly is – then, is not. People loom into my view – my eyesight is not so good now – they give me food, or a drink, or pills… and then they fade away, and as often as not I feel sleepy and close my eyes for a bit. This woman in a blue cardy came to see me, said she was my niece. Well, she might have been and she might not, how can you tell? Truth has become a thing that bends and fades round the edges.
I still remember my lovely boy Connor though. Connor comes to visit me a lot. And sometimes he pops me in a wheelchair and makes a joke about me being behind the wheel of the Jaguar, and don’t go too fast Mum, the cops’ll be booking you for speeding. He wheels me out to the garden and we have a lovely chat out under the trees. He tells me all sorts of things I don’t remember now – but he’s such a lovely boy. He’s so kind.
It’s daytime. We’ve had lunch. And now I see Connor striding into my room.
“Off to the beach we go, Mum. Are you ready?”
I look startled.
“I told you yesterday, Mum, I’m taking you down to Bronte for a bit of a look at the sea. You used to be a swimmer, Mum, real fast. And a surfer.”
Some pictures drifted through my muzzy head. Water foaming up around me, getting up my nose. An ice cream on a stick, with chocolate to lick off the outside. My pink bubble swimmers.
And my arms slicing through the water, strong and brown.
“I swam?” I say.
“Mum, you were a champ. Remember?”
And, weirdly, I do remember.