Put the kettle on as soon as you arrive.
Her snack; she will eat it sitting on the commode. Peeled fruit in the fridge. The herb tea. Rice cakes with bean pate. Cut the wet, brown parts off. She pees and eats at the same time.
She wants a list of what is in the freezer. Wash up cup, plate, plastic spoon. Prepare tray. Print out e-mails. Polish wood. Put stones on builder’s bags in the garden (the wind worrying them and making a noise disturbs her).
Empty commode. Smell of poo. Discretely retch over sink. Washing machine. Remember a dream from last night. I am with a young man, he is gorgeous. I am an art student again. It is the Royal College of Art, although it is a different sort of building. Amazing views out of the windows of coastal landscape, inhabited, bushy cliff-tops… We wander around corridors and studios. That smell of art college. Oily and rich, slightly dusty ideas. Plaster dust on the floor. I want to show him what was my studio, in my old department. The door, in my dream, is not a door. To get there, you have to climb up to a sort of window roughly cut into a screen, only about a foot and a half wide. When I peer through this, there is a vertical drop on the other side, roughly made with old curtains and mattresses. Surely I can’t get through it, I am scared of the height and the drop at the other side. Getting through, a decision to just do it.
I am thinking of this dream, and this difficult “door”. Vaginal? Then I realise, what a good, Freudian joke it is! Of course, the RoyalCollege is very difficult to get in to.
Scrape dishes, put lunch on. Bring back commode bowl from soaking in the bathroom. Medications. Feed her. Face wipe. Bring tablet. Rest. Start supper. Feed, wash, teeth, headphones on, because she does not like the noise in the bathroom. Nighty. Wheelchair back to bedroom. Put everything away. Give her a back-rub. Final wash-up. Check she has her snack for the morning, drink, wheelchair is on to charge.
Walking. Dark, now.
My daughter, holding, cuddling, check she has done homework, packed her schoolbag for tomorrow, washed her hair.
Tomorrow: childminding. Coldest walk along the canal. Singing songs.