“Let’s just buy orange food today”.
We were in our mid twenties, first Christmas without our mum and our dad had not long met our stepmother and opted to spend the day with her. They had known each other for three months.
We were torn between great happiness for him because he had been so selfless, so lonely for so long as my mum gradually deteriorated. And total heartbreak because we had lost our mum and Christmas time had suddenly made us feel like little kids, while our dad was swanning off with a new family as if all our years together meant nothing.
We felt the need to cling together the way we always had. Defiant, putting on an insouciant grin and turning it all into our own private joke.
So we went to the supermarket and skidded through the aisles on runaway trolleys like the delinquent children we were – home alone without the parents.
It was a supermarket with orange branding and plastic bags so that became our theme.
We bought satsumas, orange peppers, Red Leicester cheese and chilli barbeque kettle chips and got tipsy on cheap sparkling wine (not orange) watching crappy TV. Crunchie bars for pudding. And silly silly jokes and rolling on the floor laughing.
Being with Nick was always fun.
The rubbish thing about being a carer (like there’s only one rubbish thing) is that you get bogged down in the detail, the drudge and the doo-doo. You’re doing things for someone, not with them.
Much of the time when I do try a quip with Nick, he doesn’t hear or his slowing brain finds it hard to take in new information. I get used to not having our jokes anymore. But then every now and then he will surprise me by saying something so funny and so dry that it cracks me up. Just out of the blue!
I know that witty, fun side is still there somewhere. It just maybe doesn’t surface as much as it used to but I mustn’t forget. It might seem hard from here but we will find some new things to laugh about.