Zadissa Sisters and Mrs B.
and Mrs B.
Mrs B. is in her 90s. English is our common language. None of us has it as our first language. Like Mrs B. we’re migrants in this country. And like her, we are born in a country with a long history of political upheaval. We seldom talk about our birth countries or politics. Our political views are very different. Yet we have good conversations over a cup of tea. Sometimes we laugh about which one of us sports the largest bruise. Mrs B. often wins. She talks of the tree roots outside her yellow bricked council flat. They make her fall, hidden by fallen leaves, unmowed grass and deteriorating vision. When darkness falls the day has come to an end.
You shouldn’t put the security chain on, we advise helpfully, what if there is an accident and the nurse needs to come in? Mrs B. sighs and says: “But darlings, I am terrified. I don’t see what’s outside my window.“ Some days she wakes up well-rested and opens her eyes just to remember that she has no living relatives in this country, her sight is gone and with it a major part of her independence. All that awaits is another day of choosing to stay in a dark damp flat or going out; braving the unwelcoming path rolled outside her flat. The only path that would take her to a brief conversation. Navigating a polite English.