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The woman found it impossible to sleep. She tossed and turned and from the other room she heard the old man snoring. They had long since given up sharing a bed - it seemed so pointless.
It had seemed pointless many years before the illness took over his life. Pointless and inconvenient.
Now the little old man went to sleep automatically as if there was a body clock inside his frame. He no longer had to think about it. In many ways he had returned to childhood. He went to sleep oblivious of anything or anyone around him. Sleep was in that respect very much like his life itself.
Anger and guilt no long invaded his world. He no longer shared existence with remorse or any other function that could be classed as human.
For the woman it had been the best way for years. She had long since given up feeling guilty, given up feeling anger towards him. In fact she had long since given up full stop. She stayed with him because there was nowhere for him to go and nowhere for her to go and she had become used to this style of life.
Everything around her seemed to be decaying and nobody really cared.
Three a.m sees the same little old woman awake and in the kitchen making tea. What a normal everyday thing to do among this world of anything but normal everyday things. Sadly her life would never again be normal, although it scarcely ever had been.
Perhaps sleep would never come again and if it did what nightmares would it bring. What memories were somewhere locked in her subconscious.
She felt so alone. There was nobody she could convey her thoughts to. The two people who knew of them or who could share them were either dead or decaying.
She felt so alone, unable to grasp reality, unable to understand what was happening to her. Was it really that she was unable to grasp things or that she really didn't want to face up to things. Who could she turn to, who could she confide in. The little old man took so much of her time.
"I just can't cope with it. Why should I cope with it," she said almost out loud.
But then she answered her own question: "Because he is my husband, always has been and always will be."
But on this night of nights she could not waste time feeling sorry for herself or the little old man. As dawn approached she grieved for her son. The son she had lost many years before. The son she had fought hard to save but the son who had always been moving away from her.
She took her handbag down from the table and remembered a parcel in a plain brown wrapper that Grimble had given to her at the inquest. She had thought nothing more of it then. But at three in the morning thoughts come to torment that do not rear their head in the daytime. low she wondered what the package contained.
"The boy left this by his bed. It was the only thing of value that he had," Grimble told her.
Grimble had then sidled off out of her life and into the lives of others that are not concerned with this narrative.
She hadn't known whether to thank him or not. In a way Grimble had been responsible for her son's death, but she couldn't blame him. She knew that the blame lay elsewhere1 she knew that the real blame lay with her.
Now she opened the package. It contained a black diary from a year in the past. But it didn't contain Just one year in her son's life. What it contained was his life itself. His thoughts, his dreams, his anguish, his despair and his death.
She began to read and as she sat at the table the years rolled away, the memories returned
and she learned the truth at last. Here were the reasons that ultimately he had been unable
to face existence.
She read and she read and hour overlapped hour... and this is what she read.