I was on the landing turning off the immersion-heater when the Old Man called me in to his bedrorom. I noticed that he was wearing his golf shirt, not his pyjamas.
“Never mind about that,” he said, and he asked me to feel at the end of his pillow. I felt something inside the pillowcase, underneath the foam pillow, which clearly was the remote control for the Old Man’s bedroom TV. That remote control has been missing for a while. The Old Man insisted that he had not put it there. I patted his shoulder and said, “Pull the other one.” It was 05:09 by the clock radio.
The Old Man didn’t want to put his pyjamas on, because he was getting up; so I decided that I would get up first. When I returned from the bathroom to my bedroom, the time was 05:01. I reckon the events in the Old Man’s bedroom must have taken place around 04:50-04:55.
The Old Man actually got up towards 06:00.
When I went downstairs, I found that the Old Man had put the wooden stick in place to block the sliding glass door — so I dropped the stick behind the bookcase in the sun-lounge.
The Old Man claimed that Mrs PM had refused the red-and-pink-patterned cup and saucer when they were offered to her; but it became clear that he was referring to Mrs CJ. In fact she accepted the cup and saucer we offered her; Mr CJ has yet to be offered his.)
After breakfast I told the Old Man that I was going back to Suburbia Somnolenta that day.
“I’m frightened,” he said, and clarified: “Of next door.”
When the Old Man was dreaming in his armchair sometime in the middle of the day, one of the disjointed things he said in his sleep was the word “elderly”.
When I left with his medals and passbook, he asked me whether my home was safer than his. I replied that they were, for different reasons, probably about as safe as each other. He seemed satisfied with that.
I also brought with me a cardboard cutlery-box containing five knives that I doubt have ever been used. The paper wrapper for the sixth knife was also in the box. The knives are of the same design as some others that the Old Man and I use regularly. I have no proof, but I strongly suspect that all those knives were a wedding-present to the Old Man and the Deceased Lady.
As I got everything ready for my trip back to Suburbia Somnolenta, I had a distinct “it’s the end of an era” feeling.
[Original posting 11 April 2011]