Microcosms this week prompted us with Convict prison camp memoir
Solitary Confinement Can Still Be Crowded
Jospeh slumped onto the sofa, watching the flickering TV. He wondered who had turned it on.
The woman fussed and talked, incoherent babble competing with the shouting TV and its babbling incoherent images.
He wondered who the woman was. His daughter maybe. Did he have a daughter? It felt like he did. He let the word ‘daughter’ roll around his mouth like a mint. He’d like a mint. Extra strong. Like Uncle Peter used to bring from..
‘Your daughter’s dead Joseph. We went to her funeral last year. You remember? You liked the lilies.’
‘No, dear, lilies. Shall I bring some? Would you like that?’
He nodded and received a smile in return. He’d really like a mint. ‘Is Peter coming?’
‘Who’s Peter, dear?’ The woman went back to whatever she was doing.
Jospeh tried to remember if Peter had that moustache. He rubbed his top lip, feeling the stubble. It made a nice feeling on his finger. Slowly he rubbed back and forth. The phone rang but Joseph kept rubbing.
‘Hello? Yes, Maureen. Yes my week this week. Your father’s been talking. About your sister and some flowers at her funeral and someone called Peter.’
Joseph looked at the woman. ‘Is Peter coming?’ He went back to his rubbing.
‘Yes he’s asked again. His uncle? Is he still alive…? No I suppose not; he’d be over 100. Yes well it’s good when he has these moments, isn’t it? Like he’s found a way out briefly. Horrid to be trapped so.’
Maureen made tea. She stopped his rubbing, the lip looking sore. ‘So what was Peter like?’
Jospeh looked blank.
‘This is so cruel. You’ve known so much, so many people and now it’s like you’re a prisoner in your own head.’
Joseph nodded. ‘Yes, a mint please.’