Her feet were always swollen now.
The shoes unsuitable for the weather.
But the only pair she owned that she could get on.
No money for new ones, after paying for her shopping.
The smooth soles couldn’t cope with the ice.
Over she went, the ankle breaking with a crunching sound.
The checkout lady looked up at her.
“Thirteen pounds fifty-nine pence please. Cash or card?”
She had just ten pounds in her purse.
What to leave behind? The dog food, or the lasagna for dinner tonight?
The people behind were muttering about the delay.
She put the lasagna to one side.
Deciding to feed the dog.
Two hundred and one friends on Facebook.
Ninety-six followers on Instagram.
Chatting on WhatsApp until mum said to turn out the light.
“School in the morning, young lady!”
One wrong comment. One that someone didn’t like.
They came for her, all two hundred and ninety seven of them.
Her mum found her hanging behind the bathroom door.
She had used a clean pair of tights, and had a shower first.
My mum, in a hospital bed.
Grinning at me as I approached.
“Lovely to see you”.
“I remember you coming to work at Hays Wharf”.
“Was that in forty-three, or closer to the end of the war?”
Realisation hits me.
She no longer knows who I am.
No sadder day in my life.
Post-it notes everywhere.
‘This is the tea’.
‘This is the light switch’.
‘Do not turn this off!’
‘Toilet rolls in here’.
Did she ever read them?
She looked nervous as we approached her chair.
“Good afternoon. Do I know you?”
His room was small, cramped.
Just enough gap between the furniture to navigate to the door.
He smiled. “Sorry, I know I have too much furniture”.
“I would love to have a bigger room, and some outside space”.
“Maybe not a garden, perhaps a large patio where I could sit outside”.
“I would love to spend time outside, in nature”.
“Yes, I know I wouldn’t be able to see it. But I could sense the space”.
I handed him his long white stick after we helped him stand up.
“The big tablet is for my stomach.
But it makes me feel sick.
So I take the little one to stop that.
But that makes me itchy.
So the cream is for the itch.
The red and green one?
No idea what that’s for. I take two a day”.
So many tablets on the side table now.
Bottles, packets, strips out of boxes.
The print too small to read.
No longer any room for the cup and plate to rest.
Using a lap tray instead.
Was it four of the green ones and two of the white ones?
Or four of the white, and two of the green?
Best not take any.
The slip-ons made sense.
Too hard to bend and tie laces now.
Elasticated sides made the trousers more comfortable too.
Feeling the cold more these days, but watching the cost of the heating.
A thick cardigan should do the job, no point wasting money.
There might be a nice one in the charity shop.
A good enough reason to go out for a walk.
One dead bird, on the path outside.
But many thousands in the sky.
Where do they all go?
When they die.