Somehow the sight of my wee Granny gave me the biggest fright of all. More than the state of my flat, more than Craig’s new girlfriend, more than Solveig’s tummy. She seemed to have shrunk. I don’t just mean lose weight, it’s as though her bones, her face, everything is smaller and more fragile. Everything except her eyes, which now look too big for her face, like she’s an inquisitive fly.
What you need to understand is that my Granny is a force of nature. She raised me singlehandedly after my mother died when I was a toddler (father MIA since conception). She made the papers when I was at school for breaking up a knife fight by battering gang members with her handbag, and again last year – two years ago? – when she stormed out of Mass at the chapel she’s been attending for more than seventy years. She was protesting the priest “banging on about” (her words, she picks up a lot of vocabulary from Eastenders) the evils of gay marriage, when Granny doesn’t believe that anyone loving anyone is evil. Can I remind you she’s in her late 80s? She was also a single mother herself in the 40s and 50s, having had a fling with an American GI during the war which resulted in my mum.
She cuddled me a long time on her doorstep, then bustled me in and set about making tea. I sat in front of the toasty orange glow from the electric fire with the false flames that she’s had since electric fires were invented, listened to the kettle singing and felt the kind of calm that I was beginning to think I’d never feel again steal over me . Granny would make everything better, she always does.
Sure enough, when she came back through with the tea and a plate piled high with every cake and biscuit known to man, the first thing she said was the most important thing is that I’m back and I’m okay. She told me that when you’ve lived as long as she has, you learn that very few things matter as much as you think, and that being healthy and with those you love are two of those that do.
I felt a physical lift when she said that, as though I’d been wearing a cloak of medieval armour or something ever since I went round to Craig’s and everything started to unravel. Maybe it didn’t float away entirely, but it released its grip on me a wee bit. Because she’s right. I need to know what happened to me, but I am okay. I’m back and I’m safe and remembering that does make me feel a wee bit better.
Or at least as though I can think straight enough to start figuring out what happened to me.
What did I say? Granny to the rescue.
The tests at the hospital showed nothing, by the way. It’ll be a few days before the full results come from the scan, but they did all the shining lights in my eyes and whacking my knees with a hammer and making me say the alphabet backwards, and it appears that my mind is in working order. Other than the small matter of the missing fourteen months. Oh, and I got the Prime Minister wrong, but in my defence it sounds like you wouldn’t need brain damage to struggle to make head nor tail of what seems to have been going on in the UK the last few months. Solveig and the doctor tried explaining when I replied “David Cameron” to the Prime Minister question… and within seconds I begged them to stop.
Oh, welcome back taking the piss out of politics. I’ve definitely got the beginnings of me back.
But then Granny asked me to put her in a home, which was the last thing I was expecting. I tried talking her out of it, but she’s determined. She’s got it all worked out, how the sale of her flat will pay for it and I won’t need to worry, which obviously I wouldn’t anyway but trust her to sort it all out. She says she’s been seeing things, and she thinks it’s the beginning of her mind going.
But she’s clearly as sharp as a tack. Unlike me knows who the Prime Minister is, and has plenty of opinions on the matter (that was quite a lengthy diversion, in fact). She’s not been leaving the cooker on or forgetting her way home.
She’s just convinced she keeps seeing a ghost.