Saturday, February 4, 2017

Found Objects

She'd wondered about it many times. Living alone in an enclave of frightened neighbours, the gates electronically controlled, people peering through lace curtained windows at unfamiliar cars - What would happen if she died, alone!

"I could be dead for days before anyone finds me!" she'd lamented to her kids. They were now grown with wives and children of their own. Rarely seen, rarely contacted other than the odd phone call or message. It had been a constant fear since she'd gone beyond her 70's.

There was no reason to believe anything would happen. She was frail but healthy. She had a panic button in the bathroom and a remote to carry round in the event of an emergency. She'd only used it once when she fell from the second stair and sprained her ankle. Help came . . .eventually. It gave her some solace, but not much.

She had a frame. Since her knee had been replaced, it had been pain free but even harder to traverse those stairs. It was inflexible which is why for an hour, twice a day, she would watch television and use a mini cycle to increase it's reach. Which is why, she'd hired a Zimmer frame temporarily to help her get around. The instability was palpable and her recovery slow. She should have had the surgery done 10 years earlier if only the surgeons had been cooperative and she hadn't been so afraid of convalescing. They wanted to put her into assisted living but she wasn't that unfit. Her curled hair, now white made her look a little mad and her rather random selection of poorly matched clothes might have been a little unorthodox but she knew she wasn't crazy.

She'd become forgetful.  Years of trying to learn a language, mastering sudoku, trying to be alert and forcing memories had only been slightly successful. She still couldn't remember what day it was or where she was supposed to be at any given time without a calendar reminder or a phone call. She lost things, all sorts of things. For one, the remote panic control. Her rubber gloves. That other slipper. She could have her glasses on her head whilst searching for them, her mobile phone in her hand whilst forgetting where she'd left it. She'd left the garage door open overnight then panicked realising that anyone could have entered during her broken slumber, but she knew that wasn't really true. Nobody would come, nobody ever did.

She'd always intended to get a tattoo. A specific tattoo with a specific message. She'd banged on about it for years but never managed to pluck up the courage to be inked. She wasn't afraid of dying. She was afraid of living. That's why she'd chosen this little Villa in it's enclave of fear. All her neighbours were the same. Quiet, unobtrusive. Never waved, never spoke. That's why electronic gates and high walls formed a virtually impenetrable fortress around her. She knew once 'in' she was safe. She also knew once 'in', she was vulnerable to not being found.

As she limped across the lounge room to grab the TV remote control, her brain exploded. She felt weak, sweaty and her hand couldn't grasp the oversized item, bought specifically to help with arthritic hands. She could see the red and green buttons jumping at her - stop then go, in focus, then blurred. She could feel the vertigo take over as she gripped the frame tightly with both hands, leaning her now frail and atrophied body against it, her knees weakening but not prepared to bend. There was nobody to talk to, nobody to help, and where was that damned remote panic button. She began to speak. Not in an ordered fashion but words jumbled like letters newly collected from a Scrabble board and randomly placed in their little rack.

As she glanced upward, pins and needles stabbed relentlessly at her wizened hands. She caught a glimpse of the wedding photo on the mantle. Her voice quivering with fear she asked the handsome man holding her hand for help but the words exiting her mouth made no sense. They'd been so clear in her head but had got lost between brain and mouth. The handsome face smiled back at her giving cold comfort as she slipped.

Her eyes moved rapidly. She felt the aluminium frame beneath her wobble and loose it's footing, only helping her lose hers. She fell. A long, slow fall, the room dashing sideways in a blur of diagonally lined colour.  No-one saw her hit her head on the coffee table as a small spew of red stained the rug. No-one heard her plea for help although she wasn't even sure the words had been anywhere but inside her mind.  As she and her tiny frame covered the ground in a stupor of confusion and a stab of pain, she was sentient enough to realise this would only kill her if she wasn't found. She began to wish that perhaps that would be better and how she should have followed through with the long forgotten intention to have that tattoo. As she lost consciousness she gazed at the inside of her wrist and imagined it there. "Do Not Resucitate".

Muse 1 - Covering the Ground with Great Intentions
Posted for 10th Daughter of Memory - 8th River of Mnemosyne Challenge 
Continued in Found Objects 2


  1. Gosh, I've had this thought a lot. How parents can raise us for 18 years and then we just sort of go off and do our own thing. How for 18 or so years, you must feel so integral to this human's existence and safety and sustenance - and then they just seemingly don't need you. Man.

    This is really sad, "She'd left the garage door open overnight then panicked realising that anyone could have entered during her broken slumber, but she knew that wasn't really true. Nobody would come, nobody ever did."

    I really enjoy your writing, Helen.

  2. Pretty sad, Helen, but well done. I feel this poor woman's pain and fear.

  3. yes, a couple really great lines in here. Super start, and maybe the best use of muse ever. I should call my mom

  4. Excellent start. Bunch of typos and grammar errors, but it's solid.

    Pity you quit. :P