Simple Not

She answers the phone.

I am too old to be in charge of this ship. Too old and too tired.

Brain shuffle called for- which way to jump here. Think, rewind.

Where are we tonight? Keep it simple, don’t contradict.

(Ping. Oh. Light on the ocean. Take a leap.) What’s the name of the ship?


(Of course it is. Right.)

I’m just too old and too tired to be in charge of  the ship.

Well, you are ninety one, my friend, so you deserve to be off duty.

Isn’t Yandra the name of the little steamer

your Granny used to take

between Adelaide and Streaky Bay when she came to visit?

Yes. She loved it, the voyage, the swish and the smell of the sea.

And the skies.

Did you ever sail on the Yandra yourself to get to boarding school?

Once or twice I seem to remember,

but mostly I went by road, a long way.

You love the sea too, don’t you?

Yes. We loved going to

Perlubie Beach.

Once we found a whale that had been washed up.

(Tiny brown photos attest.)

Our Dad made a swing on the big gum tree at home-

a few miles from the sea-

and I loved to swing higher and higher

to catch a glimpse of the blue in the distance.

I’m just too old and too tired to be in charge of the ship.

(Slippage. And again.)

Well, how about you go off duty now and I’ll keep watch?

You settle down to sleep. Are your feet warm?

Getting warm. You’ll look after things, yes?

Yes, I’ll stay on the bridge and keep watch.

You have a good sleep.

Good night, now. Talk to you tomorrow- we’ll have a handover in the morning.

(The games we play with Alzheimer’s.)