The Unilever Series: Dominique Gonzales Foerster - TH.2058


It’s my birthday!

By Malcolm Culkin

Today I am 105.
I’m not in bad shape – heart working OK so the Doc says. I can still walk the entire length of the hall 5 times a day and that’s with only one new knee joint.
Mind you with all this rain I do feel the change when it gives up slightly. The joints tend to stop aching then. There was a time when I could predict the rain with my knee aches but that’s just history now with the incessant dampness.
The other thing is the smell of damp. That used to be a cause for worry in the flat – meant the rain was seeping through the walls. Now it’s there all the time and the patterns the damp makes allows me to drift off into my own imagination. Just like I used to on sunny days with N, finding animals, hearts and angels in the cloud shapes. This morning I saw a bunch of flowers in the damp. I’m sure that was a horse yesterday. Oh well at least Leonardo would be pleased – he always encouraged people to find shapes in the abstract.
I know the others around me find it amusing that I insist on a top bunk. And it does take me a good five minutes to get up there but once there I can see the roof. What a glorious sight the stalactites make. Just like that cave in Barbados all glistening and colourful. The only difference here is that they’re about three times the size and have appeared in a fraction of the time it took the cave ones to grow. Of course it means that all the minerals are being leeched out of the roof. And that flimsy netting isn’t going to stop a big piece injuring someone or devastating an area of the hall when it breaks off. Oh well perhaps someone has got a project plan for that eventuality.
Mind you it’s not all sitting or lying around here. Some bright spark has just finished reopening the bottom end of a crack that was made in the hall floor a long time ago. Of course it immediately filled with water and a lady from the next section tells me she thinks its opened up an aquifer. The science guys are testing it to see if it’s suitable for drinking. As long as it goes with the whiskey and gin I’m happy.
It would be nice to get out but I can’t risk slipping. Hospital care is so problematical these days. Apparently they can’t operate for more than 20 minutes without having to reboot the humidity machines. Anyway the gene replacement drops seem to be stopping any critical osteoporosis.
The one thing I’d really like is to find true silence. The sounds of rain outside, on the roof, against the walls, even the drops that make it through the building’s skin are incessant. Sometimes they’re like an enormous drum and bass track, other times its like the most minimalist noise – drop by drop. I use my old digital player to provide some relief; but you can’t play silence on there.
And, of course, there’s a constant barrage of human noise. Shuffling feet. No one seems to pick up their feet properly anymore, I suppose it’s having to wade through all that water. That irritating cough from the woman who smokes her home grown herbal tobacco. Children playing, laughing and screaming. Music from that funny old radio and sometimes they put the sound on for the movies.
Still had another good year. Made some fine new friends and that B introduced me to a chap who makes the most fantastic coffee. Had a birthday haircut this morning, just had a double espresso and now feel ready to face the day.
What on earth is that noise? Singing coming from all over. Oh and here comes N with a big cake. I don’t believe it. Where on earth did they get all those candles?

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