It was his handwriting went first...
like a spider crawled across the page;
and then, there was his gait.
He used to swing his arms; a jaunt –
his walk, she used to call it.
“Don’t worry,” the medics advised.
“Parkinson’s...it’s not life-shortening.”
As if that was any consolation to him.
To her, it meant the world, as she said
driving home in their car.
For a while – he dug a hole, climbed
right in; stayed there quite a time,
whilst she got by from seeing
the funny side of things. “Easy
for you,” he used to say...
And then he began to laugh too.
So what, if his hands shook? Tasks
just took a while longer, that’s all.
He even went so far as to invent
himself a catch phrase:- ‘Sorry,
but I don’t do quick!’
As a gift, she had it printed
on a T-shirt; still has it now...
ten years on. Except, his legs
don’t take him where he wants,
and the pills work less and less.
Sometimes, he gets depressed –
worries about the future, “What
the heck!” she quips. “We might
get mown down by a bus
in the high street next week.”
This morning, he stands at the top
of the stairs in just his bath-robe –
pants, vest and socks in his hands.
“Help us get dressed, love,” he calls,
frustration in his eyes.
Reassuringly, she smiles. “Clean
underclothes, eh love? You’re right,
of course. That bus could come along
anytime, even today, and I’ll be
right beside you. What do you say?"