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Moira

 

How did I meet my husband? Do you mean to say you have nothing better to do than talking to nutcases, is that right? Let me see, my husband, I’ll need to walk myself towards him.

I’m from Mull... all the relatives I’ve got are over the border. My father was born right on the sea... it’s like a tiny little port... about half a dozen ships in the bay... nothing there but some old houses... nothing new... who would want them? The architecture here is so much brighter. Who would have thought in this day and age we would still need such fine seductive furniture? I’m getting off the subject.

My father, oh the poor man he had such a complicated life... he had aunts... two old maids... he had violin lessons... though he showed no aptitude for violin at all... he just toddled along. His father was still alive but he knew nothing about children... so his sisters, two sisters, took my father in. They already had money... didn’t need to take more money... they didn’t want to be married... they weren’t ugly. Now I’ve forgotten what I’m saying.

DC. You started to tell me about your husband.

He was brought up as a Little Lord Fauntleroy until he was about... no, that’s not how it starts... He did play the pipes, fact. But then all Scottish men must play the pipes, so it’s neither here not there... and he played the violin did you say? I don’t think I ever heard about that. His mother toppled off a cliff when he was three or four... she couldn’t get on... something like that... then his brother goes and dies. There was always something hidden in the background with my father... a cloud... as if he doesn’t want to discuss it. It stays there.

My mother was more artistic... from chalk to cheese. It was my mother said to me, why don’t you become a model? It’s true, she did... this is before I was old. My mother was that way inclined... it’s a good job really because my father was far too shy... she said, be the best there is... and he said, be the best you can be. My mother was far too fat to be a model.

I never dreamt that I’d be living in a bed-sitter again. I went first to the man who was giving care... calligraphy... that’s writing isn’t it? What is speaking the same as calligraphy? It was... elocution... El... Oh... Queue... Sssh... On.

I know I wanted to go on the stage but I don’t know if I ever went on the stage... why don’t I know that? It’s funny that I don’t know that... I wanted to be a singer... or was that my sister? Funny I can’t remember if I ever did anything but get born and get married. I can’t even remember how I met my husband. Can’t remember where he went.

Is this my husband or my son in the photograph? My son is it? I’ve forgotten his name... it’s not important... Sometimes I should tell you I genuinely do forget... no joke... the thing goes out of my mind completely as if it’s never been there... one minute it’s there and then it goes... and then later it comes back to me when I have no use for it at all. The memories weren’t lost they were just... delayed.

These are all nutty women here... one or two who are right on the border, even over the border. I’m not one of them. They’re talking to themselves all the time... and they come in my room... there are no locks on the doors apart from the front door... I feel for them but they drive me mad.

It’s hard to grip on to names but you do this all your life... you forget what you’re going to say, don’t you do that? I didn’t even notice at first. Well how can you? How can you tell if you’re forgetting something when you don’t remember ever knowing it? My husband left me. It was my sister more or less dragged me to the doctor. I think I was invited specially, but the whole school could come to a big five storey house in the country, and they were going to talk to you and see how fast you answer and then they ask you to remember some pictures... I thought I did very well but it seems I didn’t... I thought all my answers were correct... four times the teacher called the names of the people who’d passed and not once did they call my name... I had no chance.

The teacher said something or other to my sister... in Latin this is... oh God what was it? Don’t say I’ve forgotten... dementia, that’s what he said... strokes. This is how it comes on now... the forgetting.

Suddenly days go missing. I started to forget things... little things... my keys... then I lost some money. It was my sister who started to complain. Who’s to know? It wasn’t her money. I don’t remember my memory going so I don’t know how I’d tell if it came back or if it got much worse. There used to be, what do you call them, asylums... but I don’t think they would even cast me as mad... not yet... there’s one here can’t even talk... she pulls everything to pieces. 

I could only live in the nut house if I accepted all the conditions... one of the conditions to my sister handing me in like a prisoner was that I give up all my money... give it to her... I mustn’t have any money at all. My sister agreed, yes, yes, to everything... of course she did. I didn’t get a chance.

I want my own money again... what was I doing? I think I was modelling... money was good... sixty-five pounds... my own money to spend. I don’t know what’s left for me now... I can’t have any money... and I can’t earn any money. You wouldn’t get an ugly old woman on the catwalk... you can’t, it’s one of the conditions.

My husband died in the eighties, I think... yeah... he is dead isn’t he? He went to heaven... I went to pieces.

I don’t remember when he died... if he died... it’s not important. He had something wrong with his brain... deadly. Sooner or later you go and for my husband it was sooner or later. He was 50 or something like that... God, so young when people are living to be 110... it’s no life to be so old! More women commit suicide than men, fact... you don’t know exactly why... you can never know what finally tips mother off the cliff.