When memory isn’t enough #microcosms #flashfiction

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.’

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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24 Responses to When memory isn’t enough #microcosms #flashfiction

  1. Ritu says:

    Oh Geoffles…. this is so sad…. how the great fall eh… from a man who lived a full life to one who cannot distinguish reality from memory…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My mother has little flutters of memory where time really doesn’t matter and she may be a young girl, a bride, a mother, or just an elderly lady sitting in a hairdresser’s chair. My gift to her is to help her hold on to those memories, and let her relive them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I’d love to know how you stimulate her memory of you can. A friend of my wife’s uses music form her mothers day to help.


      • When we looked after Mum for a weekend, I played the old piano in the hall and it was great to hear Mum singing or humming along. The stuff I play is from old musicals, or classics of the day and as a kid, I would sit at this same piano and play for houts. Certain songs trigger particular memories, like Danny Boy will remind her of her father suddenly becoming aware I could play (cue pub visits to show me off to all his drinking buddies), or Bridge Over Troubled Water would remind her of Connie Stevens and she would recall films in which she starred, Wind Beneath my Wings would bring Bill Tarmy to mind, so I would agree that Music can be a universal aid to helping our loved ones feel included rather than alone.
        Taking Mum out to the park, the common sight of daffodils or daisies will trigger a memory of her own childhood. Her dementia isn’t as severe as many, but she is forgetful, repetitive and gets angry with herself. At 94, she can be cantankerous and stubborn, but when we visit, we literally go with the flow, and if she is reminiscing, we encourage her memory, sometimes being able to add our own in the same timeframe. This usually generates laughter too. And to hear that is priceless.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Lovely. Thank you


      • You are most welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Crowded in there…sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve certainly done justice to the subject, Geoff. Sad but true. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a surprisingly valid insight into the mind befuddled by Alzheimer’s and such like. You never cease to amaze me Geoff xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jan says:

    I have trouble remembering things I should never forget every now and then and it’s scary. You caught the feeling well and – perfect title!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Charli Mills says:

    What a horrific and realistic expression of the dementia. The fixation on the mint works well as the scene expands.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reminded me of the conversations I had with mum. Sad, but a nice story, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

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