I have been talking recently about writing exercises so I thought I would be brave and share one of mine with you!
Instructions: write for 15 minutes on the subject of Remember Me!
Please remember that this is a response to a writing exercise and NOT a polished final draft.
The nurses had found this purple, floral sack from the charity bag, called it a dress and persuaded me it was their best. “If you didn’t spend your pocket money on cigarettes, Martha, you could have Versace!” I puffed hard on the cigarette, forcing ribbons of blue smoke into the nurse’s face. She coughed; what was I supposed to do? Sit here, waiting to die slowly?
“It won’t speed up the process, you know. It just reduces the quality of your last days.”
Polly and Amanda didn’t seem to connect with the reality that being a wheelchair-bound, catheterised (“for your convenience, Martha!”) bilateral amputee did, in fact, reduce the quality of my last days.
It was all night clubs and love bites for Polly and Amanda. Over my head, they discussed the latest shenanigans at the club, and their latest conquests whilst they tortured me with washes and their food that was like last night’s vomit. And then, whilst they were out having alcohol and sex, my catheter bag was exploding on the sheets.
Yes, I smelt of piss. We all smelt of it. If I was like the mad woman in Room 10, I probably would have enjoyed smelling of urine and not minded that people spoke at me. Spoke over me.
The thing was..I wasn’t, am not, mad. I did mind. And really, though I would never tell those bitches, I was lonely.
Polly wheeled me out of the bathroom in the New Versace. It smelt of moth balls but I tried not to inhale. I could see a body in the bed in the room next to mine. They didn’t normally allow that here, staying in bed so late.
He was probably dead. That was the only reason to be in bed at this time of day. Dying was the only way to get a lie in!
“Close Arthur’s door!” Polly whispered urgently and Amanda obliged with a swing of her leg as she passed by.
As we entered my room, the screaming from Room 10 began. Amanda, a few steps ahead of me, tensed visibly as she put away my toiletries. Polly tutted loudly. I laughed quietly to myself. What a great release. To scream. To bellow. To piss off absolutely everyone around you. Dying insanely.
Instead, I had to live each day knowing that I was disabled, knowing everything and remembering everything that had happened to me.
Don’t think of me now, like this, legless and stinking. Having to smoke with someone else holding my cigarettes steady as my hands couldn’t.
Remember me as I was…as I was!
© Jacqui Thatcher 2015
If you try the exercise, I would love to read your response to it, if you feel you can share.