This piece is part of our 2022 Community Flash Series showcasing new writing by the Wandsworth Carers Centre Writers Group. You can read more about the background to this project in our introduction to this series, find out more about Wandsworth Carers Centre on their website, and find them on Twitter @CarerWandeworth.
Can you hear me?
Author's note: This story is just a reminder how easy it is to forget the person we are looking after has a tale to tell and how we can lose the fact that they are trying to tell us in some way, a reminder to stop talking and just listen.
"Sal, he had his breakfast did not eat it all, he is like that sometimes. He should eat his lunch, he’ll be hungry by then."
"Kim, You know when they get old they don't eat much."
"That's true, poor thing."
Can you hear me? you are rushing me. I am trying to tell you to feed me more slowly, can't chew fast, you did not put my teeth in, they’re still smiling at me in the glass.
"Come on we have lots to do today, Bob is taking me and the kids to that new place."
"What new place?"
"You know, it was the old factory at the corner of Newmarket street, have to put on my best frock, kids don't like dressing up but they’ll have to, it says smart dress."
I remember the old factory from my first job at fifteen. I could tell you a tale or two. I remember one time...
"Come on let's get him out of bed. Come on Larry, move your feet."
"I think he does this on purpose, Sal."
Can you hear me? Please look at me. I am trying but my body will not follow instructions from my mind. Please, can you hear me?
I too have a tale to tell, I recall the wet cold mud, we were packed like sardines in the trenches, would have been glad for sardines then. instead we had the dead and the living all packed head to toe in the trenches, wish I could tell you but like everything else it’s now silent. But it will go with me.
Can You Hear Me?
"Come on Larry, get a move on. Try to shuffle to the end of the bed."
"Sal did I tell you about that stuck up cow from next door? Her girl’s in the family way.”
"Didn't know she was married."
"Come on Sal, these days it's always the cart before the horse."