• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 03
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I heard the bed creak as you tossed and turned all night long. I saw fragments of your broken sleep scatter in your dreamworld storm. But when I asked you what was wrong the following morning, you looked at me with incomprehension, unable to utter a single word.

Now I see the panic you are wearing on your face every day. I keep imagining how frightening it is to witness your own mind losing its grip all the way. Meanings dissolve, shapes gone faint. How cruel is old age ― why has it dealt you this cruellest fate?

The other day I saw your smile crumbling into fear mid-sentence. I saw the effort you made ― your frown deepened, your eyes screwed up ― but no, nothing came! The word simply refused to offer you its name. I could sense the IDEA was there, right inside your head, large and incipient, and yet ― and yet its auditory identity remained intangibly vague. As hopelessness was about to invade, your face crumpled, tears ready to flow. I held your hands, suppressing my urge to say the word for you, trying to fathom your devastation, scorched by your paranoia of losing your soul.

Fifty years of being together vanish in a flash: your hippocampus can now only retain shards and scraps. My consolation is I still (up to this moment) mean a lot to you, even though you can’t put it into words. And, for better or for worse, here I stay, by your side: your maid. Sometimes tiredness overwhelms me, but this is a promise I’ll renew day after day. Please don’t lose the sense of who ‘you’ are, please don’t let your humour fade. I don’t mind you getting angry (even at me) but I dearly wish you could keep your sense of peace. There’s a new café somewhere on the riverside, and I’ll take you there one morning to try a cappuccino and perhaps an apple pie.



When the time comes for me to bid you a final farewell (O, let it be years from now!), I hope ‘you’ would still be there, and would still recognise, even for a last, desperate time, my familiar voice. From then on, I’ll take a long bath every evening and dream about all the fairies you’d told me over the years. I’ll be lying there, shedding all my tears until the tub overflows, so the water will carry me across the distant horizon into the clouds. You know I’ll keep your picture in my purse and take you everywhere. It’ll be on the floor next to the bath, and you’ll accompany me to the clouds night after night. We’ll dance like angels, and watch the mermaids frolic far below, until sunrise...