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Pat

 

I saw my mother’s face in the mirror again today. There was nobody there at all. I saw her once before, on the day she took a tumble. I was at the hairdressers… getting my hair done. I was looking in the mirror and my face completely changed to my mother’s face… and I looked at it, and… the girl was doing my hair… and I said… “Mum?” The hairdresser said, “Did you say something, Pat?” I said no, but I was frightened. When I came out I was shaking. I’ll never forget it. It shook me for a bit. On the Monday we went to see a clairvoyant. He was asking questions… and the last question he asked was, “Has anybody seen their mother’s face through the glass mirror?” And I didn’t stand up… I was too frightened to stand up. I wish I had… it was a warning… I wish I stood up… I was a coward… I didn’t stand up… I’ll regret it for the rest of my days… but I can’t speak in public… why should I? I never saw my husband… but I wish I’d seen him… I never saw him… I just saw my mother through the glass.

I’ve had a good life and I was well looked after… no-one’s always happy… one of my children died in here… the wrong one. The other one comes every week, so I’m not forgotten. She’s a cantankerous old bitch.

My father died when I was two. I stood at the window to see the horses with the black plumes. Before my mother died she said she wanted the horses at her funeral. She didn’t get them.

I’ve been in here a couple of months[1] I couldn’t go home now… my grandson took me along in the car to see my old house… it’s all changed… I told him, “This is where my mother had a big house when I was a kid.” My mother don’t live there now… she’s moved out.

This is just like where I used to live but I can’t always find it now… my daughter brought my little granddaughter here and she said, “Granny, I don’t like it here.” I said, “Neither do I.” Whether somebody died here I don’t know, but that’s what I think… I didn’t believe in ghosts but I do now. There are ghosts in here.

I was talking to my mother the other day about it. She said, “Your memory is excellent.” It’s your feet that are the problem. I don’t know what happened… I’ve had lots of falls, sold the house. Mum was just here talking to me… I said to one of the carers that she’d only just gone… “I’m sorry,” he said, “But she went downstairs and collapsed.” It was a shock… I said, “It can’t be her… she was here talking to me… she was telling me about certain things that were going on in the family.” “No,” she said - this is the carer - “Your mother fell down the stairs.” It was a terrible shock.

When the bombing started I went to look after some of the soldiers in a sort of hospital near my mum’s cottage in the country… washing them and looking after them… a kind of country hospital but not a real hospital… more of a care home. I can’t remember where it was… it was all for old soldiers with problems. If you didn’t join one of the services you had to go and do national security… that was looking after people, and that’s what I did. I was some kind of warden… that’s it… no uniform… a clean white apron and a helmet.

Ernest had gone to the country to see his mother and that’s somehow where we met. I didn’t like him when I met him… or I did but my mother didn’t… she said, “Don’t have any truck with him, he’s common”. He had no money, no credentials. He kept after me… he would not leave me alone… I said, “Who are you?” and he said, “I’m your carer.” “What? You! I looked at him as you’re looking at me… and it seemed that I knew him years ago, like I knew you… that I knew his family… and… oh don’t tell me my memory’s gone again… it’s terrible. I tried to remember you in the hospital. I said to myself, “I know his face”, when you came in. When you were talking it seemed like I was your next-door neighbour… that you lived over the road… round the corner ten years ago… he said that it’s more than ten years… it was sixty years… I used to come into his shop for sweets. Just for a minute it’s like it was you in the mirror. My memory, it’s gone haywire. I’ve got a shaky memory at the moment… it worries me… I can still see your face in a years ago time. I’m glad you’ve come back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  



[1] In fact 4 years.