Our dog disappeared last week. It was my fortieth birthday. Big party. I was given a painting by Mark Rothko (Mark Rothko was the painter; I was given it by Tom Roger. Sir Tom ). And Monique arrived.
Was all that last week? When you’ve been ill for almost a year your short-term what’sit begins to go.
Some weeks are like that – one damned thing after another. Yes, it could well have been last week. But perhaps not. When you’ve been ill for a long time your short term your memory begins to go. A blessing in disguise really. Mental litter most of them.
I can remember this morning clearly enough. Up with the milkman. Went for a swim. First one there. Very echoey. Twenty lengths. Backstroke and crawl. Backstroke and crawl. Could have done another thirty. Must be getting stronger. Stingy eyes though. All that Chlorophyll.
Then a massage. Yes, then a
Had a coffee somewhere. Read a paper. Floods in China and bush fires in Australia. Funny that.
Ah yes, came home and on the way listened to Edwina on the car radio. She brought up that old chestnut about us all being able to remember where we were when Kennedy was assassinated. Kennedy who? I asked her then switched off the radio before she sent me to sleep. .
When I came home, as usual I hung the keys on their hook, picked up the mail from the hall table, went through to the living room to have my first drink of the day.
I sort the ones I’ll read immediately from the ones I may read later. ( I’m talking personal letters. Business letters are dealt with by my secretary, thank God.)
The week before last?
Yes the week before last a letter arrived not so easy to categorize. A French stamp. Vaguely familiar hanswriying but I couldn’t make out the postmark. I remember thinking I’d put it with those maybe to be read later. Behind the clock. But it disturbed me. So I didn’t put it with the others. Letters that disturb me I put anyoldwhere and in most cases that’s the last I see of them. And so it was with the French letter.
And then I got the phone call. From Monique. She had expected me to meet her at the station. Where was I?
I was stunned by her. So was Roger. He didn’t even bark when she came in. Went to his basket and tried to make himself invisible. Monique, on the other hand, couldn’t have made herself more at home. While I ate, she moved around, picking things up, putting them down, not necessarily in the same place. “Aren’t you having something?” I asked. She indicated with thumb and forefinger just how small her appetite was. Pausing in front of the Rothko, she straightened it, took a step backwards and asked if it was real. ” As real as you are, ” I told her. ” It’s called ‘Green on Blue’.
“What does it mean?” she asked as if everything had to have a meaning to exist.
Then the next thing I remember was…….I can’t remember the next thing I remember…..but Roger was gone. And so was Monique.
I never saw either of them again.