‘Betty, d’you know where my glasses are?’ Jack called out from the living room to the study where Betty was busy writing an email.
‘What d’you want?’ came her answer.Jack with a raised voice,
‘Do you know where my reading glasses are?’
‘I have trouble looking after my own, never mind yours,’ she called back. ‘The first thing you do is to look into a mirror. It is more likely the glasses are right on your nose, than anywhere else.’
‘Eureka!’ Jack could be heard. ‘D’you know where I found them?’
‘How can I? Can’t you even remember that? I’m not a clairvoyant.’
‘Don’t be sarcastic, Betty. But have a guess!’
‘On your nose,’ Betty said.
‘Naw. I would have known. No, they were still on my bedside table. I forgot, I have not used them yet this morning.’
‘Could you leave me alone,’ Betty called out to him. ‘I’m trying to concentrate on what I’m writing. Now, look what I have done. The email has disappeared. Could you come here and help me?’
‘What have you done,’ asked Jack as he entered the study.
‘Nothing. You and your silly glasses. I lost all concentration and now the whole email is gone. Kaput!’ She felt like screaming but she reminded herself to control her temper.
‘The first thing you do….’
‘I’m not looking into a mirror,’ she interrupted him.
‘No, no, you look into Drafts or Deleted. I told you that at least a hundred times.’
‘I forgot or you never did. You never show me anything. You always do it for me. How can I learn anything. It is the same with driving. Only the driver remembers the road.’
‘Do you see, there on the left, Drafts and Deleted.?’Jack asked, irritated.
‘Have you taken your medication this morning.’ Betty asked instead of answering him, ‘You seem a little irritated.’
‘I don’t think I am,’ he said. ‘But think of it – I have forgotten to take the pill,’
‘I knew it,’ Betty said triumphantly. She continued with her email and Jack went back to the living room to look for a book in the book shelf.
‘Honey,’ he called out, ‘I’m looking for a book – do you know where it is?’
‘How can you be that dumb?’ she asked. ‘There is no way I can answer that one, because I have no clue what book you have in mind.’
‘We only talked about it this morning. You know the book on …..on the history of Rome.’
‘That was yesterday,’ Betty said, ‘ after we watched the documentary on TV.’
‘Yes, yes, now I remember,’ Jack said, ‘It is in the history section, but I can’t see it, because I must have mislaid my glasses again.’
‘Don’t be silly, they are right here beside the computer where you left them after you helped me with the email. I think you are suffering from Alzheimer’s.’
‘I do not,’ Jack protested, ‘I have a good memory. I still remember my father giving me a mighty hiding for forgetting something or other – I forgot now what it was – but I haven’t forgotten the hiding I got.’
‘I’ll bet, you haven’t forgotten that you still have a bottle of beer in the fridge.’
‘Have I?’ Jack said feigning, ‘But you are right. There are things men never forget.’
‘You know,’ he continued, ‘It is good to have a partner as an auxiliary brain. What one forgets, the other will remember.’
‘I can do without your scatter brain. I think, it is time for a cuppa.’
For a while there was peace and quiet as both were busy. Later, when they had their cup of tea they became more relaxed. They were sitting in the backyard among the greenery. Birds were singing in the trees and lizards were darting about. They enjoyed those uncomplicated moments together.
‘It’s Melbourne Cup Day and we still have to place our bets,’ Betty said.
‘Oh yes, I haven’t forgotten. We can go straight after we had our tea,’
They got ready and went to the shopping centre. As they had other shopping to do they decided that Betty would start the shopping and Jack would place the bets at the TAB and join her later.
‘You know what, Jack? I must have forgotten to bring my purse. Would you give me your wallet, please?’
‘So you are forgetting things too,’ Jack said as he handed her his wallet after he took a Twenty Dollar note for the bets.
‘But don’t spend it all,’ he joked and started to walk to the TAB. When he arrived there it was full of happy, expectant punters. Everyone wanted to be in it. The excitement was palpable. The din only died down when a race was shown on the TV screen. Jack heard a voice talking to him.
‘Do you want a hand ‘Old Fella’? an elderly man asked him.
‘No thanks,’ Jack answered, ‘I still remember it from last year how to do it.’ Another man came in and asked the eager volunteer for help. Jack filled in his tickets and proceeded to the window. All went quickly without a hitch.
‘Twenty Dollars,’ the female cashier said on the other side of the window.
‘And so it should be,’ Jack said, ‘I only need to win now!’ He walked out of the TAB and wanted to put the tickets away. That’s when he noticed that his wallet was missing. He got a big shock. He must have left the wallet on the table where he filled in the tickets or at the window. He rushed back in and looked first on the table, then went to the window. Nothing.
‘Have you seen a wallet or anybody handed one in?’ he asked the woman.
‘No, but you didn’t have a wallet. You had the money ready in your hand,’ came the answer. That is when he remembered, that he had given his wallet to Betty. He calmed down and went to the shop where Betty wanted to do the shopping. He told her his adventure and she called him a ‘silly duffer’, but in a friendly way.
In the afternoon, when they were back home, they followed the proceedings at the race course on TV. Melbourne Cup Day is always a big occasion. They opened a bottle of bubbly and had some cake and nibbles. And as the horses turned into the straight, during the main event, they got excited as two of the horses they had placed their bets on got in front and went first and second over the finish line.
Late that evening, they were in bed and both were reading. Jack closed his book and turned towards Betty. One of his hands touched her as he searched for an opening in her night dress.
‘What are you up to?’ she asked. ‘It seems you haven’t forgotten that aspect of your life.’
‘Never,’ Jack said and grinned, ‘Pure instinct, that is what it is. Even Alzheimer patients have a need for some action. I mean intimacy.’
Betty smiled, put her book down and turned towards him.
‘You win, but turn off the light or have you forgotten it?’
‘No, no, I haven’t. I want to see were we are going.’
‘You haven’t changed a bit,’ were Betty’s last words for the day as she smiled and touched his nose with her index finger.