Anthony has always been really good at encapsulating what would take me paragraphs to describe. And, in between the worsening mumblingishness of his speech, he comes out with extraordinary witticisms.
This afternoon, for instance, we were drinking red wine and watching an appallingly good soap opera on TV when the guy in the next room (I’ll call him John for anonymity) accidentally walked in.
I see Anthony’s eyes, usually expressionless, harden. So I get up and gently steer John back into the hallway where a nurse takes his arm and tells him she has made a cup of tea. He looks back at me and says, Tomorrow we gistust this potatoes worry, okay?
Leaping back into Anthony’s room (before he drinks my wine!) I ask him about John.
What do you do when he comes into your room and disturbs you? I ask.
He looks at me really seriously and quietly says, PANIC!
I laugh so loud that a nurse comes in, worried that I am upset about the John incident. I tell her what Ants said and she guffaws too.
As I am leaving, I hug my husband and he whispers in my ear, I am making people laugh again, Jules!
So you’ve stopped the grumpy thing? I ask, hopefully (knowing that my gentle man has become uncharacteristically cantankerous lately).
But in just these few minutes of saying goodbye, he has gone somewhere and there is no point trying to follow him.
So I go to where my sobs won’t be heard – the disabled toilet near the exit from the nursing lodge – then I wash my face, put my lipstick back on, and go back to say seeya to Ants.