Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Where are my pegs?

It is a simple enough question surely? Where are those itty-bitty little things that attach the washing to the line?
I have a problem with pegs. They keep disappearing. The latest lot appear to be attaching the netting to the apricot and peach trees. I add 'pegs' to my mental shopping list.
At least I have managed to work out their whereabouts. I imagine them with a life of their own, strutting stiffly off and attaching themselves to net and tree.
It is going to be more difficult with the books that Dad's brother wished on us some years ago. Yesterday, having given them to us back then, he demanded their return - immediately. Where are my books? The letter he sent was confused and rambling but also clear enough for us to recognise that he can remember some of the books he passed over to us. He cannot see these books well enough to read them. The pictures would be nothing more than a vague blur on the page, if that. He wants them back. He did not give them to us. Books are old friends. Why would he give them away? The letter takes up an entire typed page. Where are my books? Someone else has had to type it for him. Goodness' knows what they think if he is in one of his apparently more rational moments. I suspect he has been pacing the house all night. Where are my books? Where are my books? He is irrational and not himself because of the frontal lobe damage inflicted by the strokes. We know that but it is hard for my father. His brother is younger than he is.
Most of the books have been sitting on my father's bedroom floor for the past few years. They have been piled waist high in the corner waiting for just such an occurrence. We half suspected something of this sort might happen. The problem is that some of the books mentioned are not books that we have. We have never had them. They are undoubtedly books that my uncle owns or has owned in the past. He does remember that sort of thing. He will accuse us of stealing them. He will threaten legal action and may even try to take it even though others will try to dissuade him.
His books do not, on the whole, interest me. Even when he was rational his taste in literature and mine were wildly divergent. I can, in a dim reaching, understand something of his feeling of loss. It is, I suspect, not so much those books and those contents but the fact that books and their contents are now beyond him. Even when we give him the books he gave us he is going to ask, "Where are my books?"

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