Mr Al-Zheimer by Steve Goodlad

Alzh. I cannot yet write that awful word in its entirety. I do not yet want to come to terms with it. It’s too real. A diagnosis that is heading my way. It’s mine to deal with in its inevitability, its finality. All outward expression will be internalised for me to deal with alone, my feelings, my personality caged in, and you will be locked out forever. Alzheimer’s. 

There, I’ve written it while I still can. Whilst I still know what I have to deal with even though I don’t know. 

“Hello, I’m Al-Zheimer pleased to meet you” he’ll say, like the smarmiest car salesman ever. And under the bonnet will be a dud. An engine that coughs to life in the morning, less and less frequently. Switch to first gear and it will reverse, indicate left and the wipers will come on, turn on the beams and the boot will open. I’m about to unwittingly purchase a clown car. I know it and can do little about it. 

Al-Zheimer starts to show me around my future in a world not geared up to meet my impending needs. A world that can only protect me from harm by reducing my barriers like ever decreasing circles until I’ll be confined to a chair or a bed and the company, I keep will all be like me. 

I am welcomed into his confusing world of mazes and obstacles I once recognised and reconnoitre with ease. I am drawn as if by a spell towards a light that obscures my vision and prevents me recognising anything I once knew. When I fall, I don’t know which way is back up. When I touch, I am numb. I taste nothing. 

“Come in, come in” says Al-Zheimer 

“Shut the door after you.” 

Published in Issue #20

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