Shortlisted for BIBLIOPHONE 1000 Words Heard for INARA competition [August 2020]
It was a Snuggler who tried to steal my sleep.
Did he have terrible teeth and terrible claws?
Not at all! He had beautiful feet with hardly any flaws.
He got so close he seeped in through my pores. He travelled through my veins until he somehow got into my brain; closing behind him nearly all the doors. I’ve tried to ignore him, to get him out, but he just won’t leave. He says he likes it in here ‘let me stay pretty please’.
Sometimes he causes havoc inside my mind. Bashing around; god knows what he is trying to find! Then all of a sudden, before I know it ‘Bang’ I’ve fallen to the cold hard floor. I see them rushing towards me with their concerned faces full of fear and pity. I look at them trying not to show that I feel shitty. They scramble around me attempting to make things as they used to be, but don’t they know that’s no longer a possibility.
I’ve tried to tell them so many times ‘It’s not my fault, its the Snuggler that makes me commit all of these crimes’. You see it’s because of him I make mistakes. He makes me say silly things and gives me the shakes. He makes me drop my food, dribble and drool. So often that every day, I feel more and more like a fool. He even gets into my ears and plays on my drums. All I can hear is a funny buzzing and a hum.
So when you say ‘shall I make cake’ all I hear is ‘I’m taking a long hard earned break’. I do understand it’s not easy looking after me and cleaning up my mess. But, honestly with my hand on my heart, I really, really try hard not to be an almighty pest. I try hard not to hurt you with the things I say, I still try to walk by your side day by day, I try to be a good girl and play nice. Even though any day soon, I’ll be going away. It’s the Snuggler you see he says ‘We can’t stay’.
I tell him I like it here; I’ve got my family and friends. He laughs at me and says ‘Come on now; they’re simply just a means to an end’. He tells me ‘Nobody stays forever. It’s almost time to go. I’ll take you to a place where sparkling rivers flow. Where you can dance with peacocks and talk to the bees. Where you can swim like fish and fly like a bird. Where no more drumming or humming can be heard’.
It all sounds very nice, so why does everything still seem absurd? You see it wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was supposed to be wild and free, but instead the Snuggler has imprisoned you . . . with me. I wish I could change it, but this is how it was meant to be.
It’s funny how I’m the one with the memory problem, but you’re the one who just moved on with your life. Without a second thought, you somehow forgot I’m still your wife! Have you forgotten I’m not dead, when you fell asleep peacefully in someone else’s bed? Have you forgotten the woman who was there through sickness and health? The one who stood by your side and helped you make wealth. The one who bore your children and sang them songs. The one who took care of you all and made sure nothing was wrong. The one who was always so strong.
I might be the one who sees things that aren’t there, but after everything I’ve given you, ask yourself if you think you’re being fair? When it counted and I needed you the most, you look at me like you’ve seen a ghost. You don’t see the woman you used to adore, simply because you’re not looking with your heart anymore. All you see now is a lopsided face, my mismatched socks and greying disheveled hair, all bundled together in a wheelchair. Just wishing and longing that you could be elsewhere.
I may have lost my mind, but I can still see how I’ve caused you misery. I don’t know how and why this all happened. It will always remain a mystery. I’ve tried and tried with all my might to put up a fight, instead all I end up doing is getting mixed up between day and night. I feel I’m slowly losing the battle, as I’m reduced to being not much more than cattle. The Snuggler is way too strong. The longer I stay, the more I feel like I no longer belong. I say to the Snuggler ‘You’ve been right all along. I’m the one who has gotten it wrong. I think it’s time to go and end my story of woe’.
So the Snuggler says with a smile ‘We’ve outstayed our welcome. It’s time to say goodbye. Don’t cry, one day everyone will die’. He says ‘I know it’s been a while, try to relax don’t worry from this day forth no pain will remain’ as he drains himself from my veins.
And this is where it ends, when the Snuggler made amends. He returned back my sleep, until nothing could be heard . . . not even a peep!
THE SNUGGLER: A tribute to those who have been lost to dementia.
Ever wondered how it would feel if you couldn’t make your body do what you wanted it to do? What if your mind started to play tricks on you as well? You could swear someone is sitting next to you, but everyone else tells you nobody is there! Is it them or you?
The Snuggler plays this game well. He smuggles into people’s bodies and steals their sleep. He sneaks around inside messing things up; changing night into day and day into night. Until nothing makes sense and it’s as if they are living inside of someone else’s body and living someone else’s life.
The Snuggler is a tribute to loved ones that often suffer in silence due to the debilitating effects of Dementia. It provides a sneak peek into the world of Dementia sufferers and sees things from their perspective: inside out!