Note: This is posted “as is”, no editing or proof reading involved, as part of the 30 Shorts In 30 Days project. During April I will be attempting to write and post a new short story everyday.
Once upon a time, or was it twice. I forget now. That’s the problem when you get to be this old, the first thing to go is the memory, or so they keep telling me. It’s not too bad though to be honest, when your body gets to the point where you can’t actually get up and do the things that you want, all you’ve got left is telling your friends what you used to do, instead of going out and doing something new. And if they could remember all my tales, then they wouldn’t sit and listen to them again each time I tell them. And I probably wouldn’t listen to theirs.
Well, they say the first thing to go is the memory, but I reckon it’s the focus. I hardly make it to breakfast anymore without forgetting what I was doing. Or I’ll start telling one tale, and finish telling another. So I don’t think it’s the memory that’s the first to go, I think it’s the focus.
Although that itself isn’t quite true when you come to think of it, it’s the body that goes first. I can still just about remember things, long term things from my childhood or middle-age. Can’t remember what we had for breakfast though. Although it was probably the same thing that it always is. So the memory may be going, and the focus is almost certainly gone, but it was the body that went first. When I came here I was in fine mental health, but not fine physical health. Needed to plan my day around how far I was from the toilet. Back then I could even remember where all the toilets were. Now I can just about remember two or three of them. There’s the one in my room, the one by the canteen, and the one in the reception area. There, three of them. Maybe my memory’s not as bad as I thought.
The focus though, yeah, that’s gone ain’t it?
But the body, long gone. It’s been years since I was able to look after myself, for the last few I’ve needed assistance getting up in the morning, getting dressed, and occasionally eating. Let me tell you, tying your shoe laces isn’t easy when you can no longer reach your toes when you’re sat down. Why d’you think so many old people where slip-on shoes? It’s not because we think they’re fashionable, it’s because we’d like to get to the canteen for breakfast while it’s still morning. And we tend to rise early.
So maybe it’s the need for sleep that’s the first thing to go, not the body. For years before I came here I got by with just a few hours each night. As a youngster I needed a good eight or ten hours or I’d be crabby as anything, but as I got older, the amount I needed to sleep got less. And for the last year or so, it’s been half hour naps here and there. So maybe it is the need for sleep that’s the first to go.
One thing I know for certain though, the last thing to go is your breath. Mine went about five minutes ago, and this is my life flashing before my eyes. Thing is though, I’m having trouble remembering it. Maybe the trouble focussing on it is causing some of that problem, which is strange now that the body has finally gone and I’m now in the Big Sleep.