Thursday 22nd April 1993 Morning surgery 11:30
“How are you, Mr Elias?”
“To be honest, doctor, I have not been feeling too well. I have been sleeping badly. I have been tired. I’ve felt a bit depressed, really.”
“I am sorry to hear that.”
“It’s my wife, I think. I hardly ever see her. She is out all day. She comes home late at night. I am usually in bed by then. She is sleeping in the spare bedroom now.”
“Look, Mr Elias,” my Dad said, leaning forwards, “Sylvia’s dead. She died almost a year ago. You know that. You looked after her yourself, at home.”
Mr Elias nodded. His eyes filled with tears. “I miss her. I thought I would get used to it. I thought I would get used to not seeing her as much. Things don’t seem to be getting any easier. I don’t know why she never comes home early. I hear her at night. She keeps me awake. She will be talking for hours. It is usually a man that she talks to. It shouldn’t make me annoyed but it does. I do try to trust her.”
Mr Elias sighed and continued.
“She’s not eating much. She gets up late so I put her breakfast out every morning. She never touches it. I think she drinks her tea. She washes and dries the cup after. She has always liked Earl Grey. They are out all day, then. I suppose they have lunch out. Maybe they have a big meal. She never takes our car. I imagine he drives. There must be something going on. I don’t see how this man can just be a friend. She had a very serious boyfriend before we met. They were engaged. She has often wondered about him, over the years. Sixty years we were married, Dr Desmond.”
“Yes, there aren’t many of us who can say that, these days.” My Dad said.
“The time drags when you are on your own. I never go out in case she comes back. She doesn’t like coming home to an empty house. I make dinner for us both. I put hers out on the table and cover it; ready to pop into the oven. She never touches it. I don’t make food for him. Their voices are loud. I don’t like hearing them talk. Even her voice grates. It gets on my nerves.”
“Listen, Harry! Sylvia’s gone. She’s died. You have to accept it. Sometimes, people imagine these things. It is not surprising when you think of how long you were together.”
“How would I imagine all this, doctor? She wears a new set of clothes every day. I wash and iron them for her. She always takes the bit of pocket money I leave out. Of course, she has stopped doing the shopping now and she doesn’t like cooking. She hasn’t baked a cake for a long time : not since she was ill. I was wondering, Dr Dennis, if you could come to talk to her. You could explain how I feel. She has always had a lot of faith in you.”