Every Saturday afternoon I spend with Rosie. She lives nearby and I usually walk over sometime between 2 and 2:30. After I arrive we sit and chat for an hour or so; we talk about her health, about what she’s been doing during the week. Then she calls a taxi and we head off to the supermarket where I help her do her weekly shopping. After we get back to her flat and put the groceries away, we sit down with a giant cup of tea each and a jaffa cake or two. And she tells me tales of her life. She’s a fantastic story teller and has had an incredibly rich and interesting life.
Rosie is 88 and was always very active and independent. But when she moved to
Rosie suffers from severe osteoporosis; she is almost completely deaf; she is registered blind; both her hands and feet are badly twisted from rheumatism, rendering them almost useless at performing simple tasks like opening a jar, or getting through the impossible plastic wrapping that covers most food items. Things I do mindlessly, can take her the best part of an hour. In many ways she is a prisoner, both in her body and in her flat.
When I called her after I returned from Istanbul on Tuesday, she told me that last Saturday she was robbed in the supermarket. Someone distracted her and while her back was turned, his accomplice snatched her purse from her bag, which was lying in the supermarket trolley.
How anyone could do something so cowardly is beyond me. I feel absolutely furious. At 4’8” she is clearly deemed an easy target. She is quite unsteady on her feet and walks with a cane. “Pick on someone your own size”, I feel like shouting. I still want to throttle them.