Stolen Moments PAGES

SAMPLE PAGES
FROM
'Stolen Moments'
by
Elizabeth Bezant and Pamela Eaves

SAMPLE STORIES

Lost in Time
by Elizabeth Bezant

‘I remember my childhood, but I remember little of the last twenty years.’

I look at Henry as he’s talking, my gaze flitting across to his wife, Mabel, as she sits back on the sofa. This is so new to all of us. Eight months ago Henry’s memory was great and he and Mabel lived happily on a handful of acres in a country town. Now they live in a small cottage in Perth, closer to family and doctors.

‘So what do you remember?’ I ask, curiosity getting the better of me, and hoping our long friendship will eclipse my directness.

‘Nothing,’ Henry says, shaking his head.

‘Do you remember us always calling around for cups of tea?’ I ask.

‘No.’

‘Do you remember all the times that you took our baby daughter around your garden to look at the flowers and to visit the sheep?’

‘No, but I wish I did.’

‘Do you,’ I said, grasping at anything that would trigger a recollection, ‘remember us regularly driving you to Perth in the ute?’

‘No, but I remember going. You know I don’t even remember our neighbours there.’

I stare at Mabel and laugh, a secret joke.

‘Well, I won’t take it personally,’ I say with a grin.

Both his wife and I laugh as Henry’s bewildered look changes to a smile. He points his finger at me, and when I nod his whole body shakes in laughter.

Half an hour later, as I get ready to step out the door, Henry gets carefully to his feet and envelops me in a hug so typical of him and his wife.

‘I may not remember you were our neighbour,’ he says, ‘but I do remember you.’

***

Frozen in Time
by Pamela Eaves

‘Mum,’ I said down the phone. ‘I’ve just picked up Aunty Betty’s prescription so I’ll be at your home in about half an hour. I can’t stay though, I have an appointment at 2.00pm. I’m going to phone Aunty Betty and ask her to go to your place to save time.’

‘Aunty Betty,’ I say minutes later. ‘I’ve got your prescription, but do you mind popping down to Mum’s place so I can give you your tablets there. ‘I haven’t got long, and it will be quicker if I meet you at Mum’s.’

My widowed mother and her sister, my spinster Aunty Betty, both live in their own self-contained villas a couple of hundred metres apart in a pleasant, friendly, suburban retirement village. They are in their eighties and sadly, both are a little vague and get confused quite easily.

On arriving at the retirement village I’m lucky and claim a scarce parking space. Dashing into Mum’s, I hope that Aunty Betty has understood why I wanted her at Mum’s villa and hopefully she is there.

Aunty is at Mum’s, sitting comfortably in the sunroom together with Mum and, despite the warning, there in front of them is a table set for three, scones and biscuits in abundance.

‘I’ve got the kettle on, dear.’ Mum smiles and gives me a hug and a kiss. My aunty expectantly inclines her head for her kiss. Quickly I glance at my watch.

While kissing Mum and aunty I’m mentally calculating how late I can politely arrive at my appointment. I decide perhaps ten minutes before I am inexcusably late. I could phone to delay the meeting. Yes I decide, that’s the best option, I’ll phone as I’m leaving here.

These thoughts are racing through my mind as I encourage Mum into the kitchen to complete making the cups of tea.

‘Mum, I’m sorry, but I have an appointment I must keep. The people will be waiting for me.’

‘Oh, why didn’t you tell me, dear?’ she replies. ‘Now, how will you have your tea?’

‘Mum, I always have it black. Here let me help you.’

‘No, it’s all right. I’ve everything under control. You go and talk with your aunt.’

I see my ten minutes evaporating in front of me. I’ve given my aunt her prescription tablets and explained the written instructions. Eventually Mum brings out the three cups of tea on a tray and settles in her chair opposite my aunt. I take a tentative sip of the hot tea.

‘I was just telling Pam that I dreamt a funny dream last night,’ Aunty Betty says as I put down my cup.

‘Did you dear?’ says Mum. ‘What was it about?’

My aunt describes her dream at length and Mum contributes to the conversation with her comments about the dream. I see an opportunity to interrupt. I’m feeling sad that I have to tell my mother and aunty that I can’t stay any longer, especially after the trouble my mother has gone to in anticipation of my ‘visit’.

‘I am so sorry,’ I plead, ‘but I have to go. I have an appointment. Don’t get up, I can see myself out,’

As I walk to the door, weighed down with the guilt of leaving them, I hear my aunt.

‘I dreamt a funny dream last night.’

‘Did you dear?’ my mother replies. ‘What was it about?’

***
Peripheral Focus and Dangling Legs
by Connie and Norrie Wishart

What are you looking for? What have you lost? These seem to be questions I ask my elderly aunt frequently, more now than ever.

At first, I thought my aunt was losing her sight, or at least her peripheral vision. Now I have recognised that there is something else happening, sinister and insidious.

‘I’ve lost my purse. I think it’s been stolen,’ my aunt complained plaintively. ‘I’ve looked everywhere! Robbers must have been here!’

Having heard these statements many times previously, I knew that the purse hadn’t been stolen, but presumably put down in a position that wasn’t its normal place. Anything out of its normal position, now creates great confusion for my aunt.

‘Don’t worry,’ I said, trying to placate my aunt and scanning the room. ‘I’ll find your purse for you. There you are! Here it is, next to your chair where you were sitting in the sunroom.’

My aunt blusters. ‘I don’t know how it got there. I didn’t put it there. Someone’s been in the house!’

I’ve decided it is not her peripheral vision, but her peripheral focus which is diminishing.

I received a phone call early this morning. It was my aunt in a terrible state.

‘I’ve had robbers in the house!’ she squeaked raspily. (She loses her voice when she’s upset.)

‘What have you lost now, darling?’ I asked, trying to keep the exasperation from my voice at 6.00 in the morning.

‘Nothing, of course!’ my aunt announced indignantly, as though I should have automatically known that nothing had been taken. ‘I got my stick and was about to hit their legs, when their legs disappeared!’ feistily stated my tiny, frail, 85-year-old aunt.

‘Their legs disappeared?’ Oh dear, I thought, did I hear right? Now she’s really lost it.

‘Do you think you might have dreamt that robbers came into your house?’ I tentatively enquire.

‘No? Why do you ask that? They’ve even taken Elsie’s purse from next door.

Now my mind shifts gear. ‘What do you mean when you say that “their legs disappeared”?’

‘Well, I woke and heard noises. At first I thought there was someone at the front door so I thought I’d better check, and then when I turned on my lamp, I saw legs dangling from the ceiling. But when I got out of bed to get my stick, the legs disappeared.’

It all became clear. My aunt isn’t getting her reality mixed up with her dreaming this time. This time she is telling it as it is!! Robbers had been in her house. She hadn’t been imagining it. They had taken tiles off the roof and climbed into the ceiling, and had tried to enter my aunt’s home through the manhole. It was only her good fortune that for some reason, she heard them (normally she is extremely hard of hearing), and when she turned on her lamp, it obviously startled them, so they swiftly withdrew their legs back through the manhole and left.

One wonders what would have happened if the intruders had actually continued their descent into my aunt’s home. They would have found a little old lady wielding a broken handle of an old broom, ready to defend herself, home and possessions. She would have easily been overwhelmed, but I’m sure they would have received a good few bruises along the way.

However, we will never know, and hopefully we will never need to know. The manhole cover is now securely bolted from the ceiling, allowing workmen into the ceiling from inside the home, but definitely not allowing any intruders to use the manhole to enter through the roof!

Even though my aunt loses her purse and other items on a regular basis, and continues to confuse her dreams and imagination with her everyday life, I can never take for granted again, that whatever tales and stories she shares with me, might not be actual reality.

***
If you're interested in getting a paperback copy of this book it's currently available from: 
The Bodhi Tree bookstore cafe, cnr Oxford & Scarborough Beach Rd, Mt Hawthorn. WA 
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