I make up the sofa bed for Dad. I fetch him pillows, sheets and a blanket. The room looks cosy. He is not overwhelmed with gratitude but hey.
In the morning when I go down, he is sitting on the floor about one meter from the bed. He can’t get up, he says. I feel sick. It is a terrible sight: my dear Dad is on the carpet and he can’t get up. I remember when he was young, when we both were young, he slipped a disc while loading his van and the noise that came from just beyond the back door was terrible. This is different though. A whimper not a howl.
I try and help him but he won’t budge. It’s like he’s not even trying. The sofa is so near. It’s as though a boat is capsizing one yard from the shore.
“Why did you make it so dark?” he says. “I couldn’t see a thing and I fell over.”
I think, so now I’m responsible for the sky at night.
“You should have called me,” I say.
“I did,” he says.
I send Mini up to get my husband, the muscle. She disappears up the stairs, sucking her thumb. She knows this is important. Arnie comes down and looks frighted. I tell him, “It’s fine honey. Grandad is on the floor.” Ray comes down and starts reading his Warhammer book on the sofa.
My husband does not appear. I go up trembling.
“Didn’t Mini come up?”
“Yeah I told her off, she was pulling at the door.”
“Oh,” I say. Poor Mini. “Grandad’s stuck.” My voice is croaky. “He can’t get up.” It seems like the worst thing that’s ever happened.
“I’ll be down in a minute,” he says. I try to make my eyes say its urgent but he’s not looking at my eyes.
I can’t tell if he is playing a power game with Grandad – this is my house and I’ll come down when I like – or if he urgently needs a poo. I think its the latter.
Ten minutes pass. Grandad doesn’t want tea. Or a biscuit. He too is getting desperate.
Ray puts down his book and holds Grandad’s hands. I hover behind. Na-da. He will not budge.
“I’m a dead weight,” sighs Grandad.
Husband comes down brightly. He has an idea. He demonstrates the lifting manoevre we will employ on little Arnie. Arnie laughs and laughs. It involves the tickly elbows. He laughs bordering on hysterics.
“It will never work,” I announce. Me and Grandad look at each other. We are united, for once, in our mutual scepticism of husband. I get in position one side and my husband on the other. “He’s a dead weight,” I say.
But Grandad glides upright to his feet. He is Lazarus! Husband is as smug as he is running late. “I can’t remember where I learned it but it was good, wasn’t it? I’d better go. Bye.” I want to say that this is the jam jar effect. One person does all the hard work to no avail only for the other person to come along and achieve it – based on the first’s efforts. But it wouldn’t be true, I have flapped but I have not done anything.
There is more news from Barcelona. My sister is staying somewhere near Las Ramblas and she is having a brilliant time.
Later that day, I see there were three missed calls on my phone from Dad at 4 am.