Loud bastards, disturbing an old man’s sleep. I’ve come up to my room so I’m out of the way; so they can’t complain about my snoring and the little slapping noises I make with my lips when I’m nervous.
It’s not that I object to their noise. It’s more that even if I did object, it wouldn’t make a difference. They would just ignore me and sadly, I’m getting used to being ignored.
Mostly, I stay in my room and snooze on the bed. Sometimes, I flick through the book on the bedside cabinet that I still can’t bring myself to finish. At other times, I just sit on the chair, thinking about when I was young. When I had some oomph and wasn’t tired all the time. Often, I just look out of the window. At the spring blossom, the summer garden frill, the autumn gusts, the nakedness of winter.
Wide mouth yawning is one of my favourite pastimes. Is there an age you reach when ennui is the default response to most situations? I suppose age can be freeing when you don’t have to pretend you’re interested any more.
When I feel perky enough to have a little wander round the house, I survey my family – my loud, in the midst of life, careless family. Narcissists all. My daughter with the terribly important job she defines herself by. My son in law with his business trips and secrets. My granddaughter, the inhabitant of a world of fake friends, false nails and exclamation marks. My grandson, the porn fiend and future killer. They make me shudder and I love them dearly.
When I walk past them, they carry on talking. They sniff the air as though they can smell me, scrunching up their noses with distaste. I whisper in their ears and boo in their faces, but they take no notice. Hello, I bellow, Hello. To no avail. Yet they still seem very attuned to my bodily noises – the snores and lip slaps and bleak, weak farting. And they keep on magpie chattering, peacock shrieking, so I go and look in the mirror over the fireplace and re-make my acquaintance.
Old man, white face, brown lips, silver hair. No discernible shape, indistinct like wisps of smoke. Does no one see me?
When I go out of the room, slamming the door shut like a petulant teenager, it’s as if no one even knows I’ve gone - and it occurs to me that I don’t know I’ve gone either.