Monday, August 03, 2009

bear knows best

‘I really don’t know what he wants with me. I think he thinks I’m gaga.’
Deidre loons at us through her glasses and taps the side of her head, missing with the last tap and almost falling out of her arm chair with the momentum of it. ‘But it’s all there,’ she says, righting herself. ‘I just wish I could find my glasses.’
Frank looks up from his clipboard.
‘You’re wearing them, Deidre,’ he says, then carries on writing.
Deidre makes a whooshing noise.
‘Not these glasses, silly,’ she says, taking them off, waving them around, then holding them at arms length and frowning. ‘My other glasses. The ones that help me see.’
Frank sighs.
‘As you have probably worked out, Deidre has been drinking this afternoon.’
‘I like a drop of whisky and I don’t care who knows it,’ she says, straightening up and scrunching her face into a dreadful mug of indignation. But just as suddenly she deflates onto her right arm which struggles to keep her propped up. ‘What on earth does he want with me?’
There is half a bottle of Teacher’s by the side of her chair, and the mahogany sideboard opposite is bright and clink-full of spirit glass. Deidre’s flat is an overheated, lace-edged box of disorder, just one neatly arranged bookshelf of hardback first editions standing like a last stockade of sobriety and reason.
‘I found her crashed out on the landing,’ says Frank, clicking his pen shut. ‘I woke her up and helped her walk into the flat. There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong, so would you mind if I push off now? I finish in quarter of an hour.’
Deidre reaches out to tug at his elbow.
‘I know you,’ she says, wagging her finger at him. ‘I’ve seen that handsome face before.’
Frank takes her hand.
‘Deidre. Take care of yourself. Don’t drink too much and don’t go worrying the residents by falling asleep in the hallway.’
She stares at him, focuses, then splutters into a laugh.
‘I love you when you’re cross,’ she says. ‘I absolutely love you, pet.’
Frank shakes her hand.
‘I love you too, Deidre. But I have to be going.’
Suddenly she wraps her other hand around his, and Frank struggles to pull away, caught like a careless diver in a giant clam.
‘What have you done with my glasses?’ she says.
‘These lovely people will help you with that,’ he says, and smiles across at Rae and me. ‘Won’t you?’
I sit down on the sofa and grab a teddy bear onto my lap.
I’ll find your glasses, Deidre,’ I make it say. It leaps off my lap and stomps off around the edge of the sofa.
‘Look at that silly bear,’ she laughs, throwing her hands up to clap them together, allowing Frank to go free. ‘He hasn’t got a clue. As if I’d have dropped them down there.’


Mum's the word said...

Ok, this one I like too.
Lovely anecdote.
More please.

Spence Kennedy said...

Thanks Jo! A relief not to be serving up another dark slice of deprivation and tragedy. I'll def try to lighten the mix of stories (where I can!) x

drunkenspaniel said...

You made me smile with this. My partner went out to a lady who rang 999 because her cat was talking to her. When he arrived, there was no cat at all, but she was wearing her swimming costume over her clothes. Quite clearly she wasn't mentally well. He only got her in the ambulance because he promised there was a swimming pool at the hospital...

Wren said...

You've a heart of gold and you're clever on top of it! Lovely vignette!

Spence Kennedy said...

Hey DS! That reminds me of the woman we took in once who insisted that her husband follow up in the car with her mobile phone wrapped in a jacket and put in the boot. She said the phone was giving off fumes and terrifying instructions that she would have to follow if she heard them. It was an awful case really. A heavy weekend with the in-laws had seemed to push her into a full blown psychotic episode (no prev history of psych probs). :0/

Hey Wren! That's very sweet of you. I don't know about the heart of gold. More like cubic zirconium. Def feet of clay (and an asbestos throat - I can drink coffee really quickly, prob a bad thing). :0) xxx

Nickie Goomba said...

Treasure these moments, my friend.

Spence Kennedy said...

They make the job bear-able ;0)

loveinvienna said...

Hehe :) Lovely little snapshot of the happier side of your job!

Liv xxx

Spence Kennedy said...

Thanks Liv!
I must admit, there are plenty more happier moments. It's just lately I've been drawn to the dark side... (cue marching music, big cape, heavy breathing behind a mask - Star Wars, not an S&M party) xx

loveinvienna said...



Liv xxx