imgresThe ‘White Queen” castle was still intact. Even though Patches early morning screams or “Aieee” and “No!” or even “Shit, shit, shit!” seemed loud enough to wake anybody and yes, why not even crumble a few walls? In Gelledge’s head, he seemed to be going mad.

Having met Patches last year through a musicien friend (leaving for trip to the states) he had accepted to play night time babysitter to the woman from Kansas who now sat in a wheelchair. The MS (muscular sclerosis) continued on its’ merry way, reeking havoc on poor Patches’ body and brain. From the time she woke up life was a battle – at least in her dreams she could still do anything, still be anyone she wanted. Her mal être (feelings of misplacement) in life had never gone away finally, they had only become stronger. Her engineering days long past thanks to MS, she had forgotten that she didn’t run anything at all anymore – and her rigid concepts of how life should be constantly irked her to the bone. Now even her body would not respond to her commands, so her hired help would be her hands and her legs. They would be of her mind set, whether they liked it or not.

Last year Gelledge had worked out a comfortable exchange of services with her, following the definite separation from his “ex” and a year of having to combat against evil. The evil in question was in part due to a pathology called Borderline Personality Disorder. O. had it as did his Mom who was apparently continuing to care for him. The dogs had been rescued from their forced habitat and the mother-in-laws purgery of that day had (so he hoped) been squashed, though France being slow on the administrative level, maybe letters had not yet been written. Hmmm. Gelledge still questioned whether 10 years was enough to battle for his investment. O. wanted everything.

Patches each day woke up late. The hired help arrived at 10 a.m., then it was the preparation of a healthy breakfast along with her many medications. Her feet would be massaged with a special cream while responding to the current temperature  ie :”It’s too hot” or “It’s too cold” or perhaps “Could you turn the fan on?” “Pick up my phone?” “Give me my pill?” “Help me find my zapette?” and so on. One request could keep you bound by her side for hours if you didn’t know how to extricate yourself from her non-stop verbal agenda, which was always me, me and then me again.

Gelledge had been clear about his return in April, that he would only be renting. Even while on his long awaited trip to the states (fifteen years of absence) he made sure to explain carefully to her that this year he would not be available during Brandon’s absence. But her ears had selective hearing and did not want to heed those words. It worked for a week and so Gelledge helped her out in the evenings but with annoyance.

“My price is 50 euros an hour Patches – I’m too expensive for you. Even at half rate, I’ve paid my rent for 2 months already. Next week you’ll have to pay someone to come in the evenings. I won’t charge you for my presence during the nights while we’re sleeping. I’ll just be renting – but of course if there’s an emergency, I’ll be there.” It sounded a bit calous but Patches only understood numbers when push came to shove.

“My rental price is a friends’ price,” she said to Gelledge during the numerous negotiations. “I could get alot more for that room upstairs.” She declared and she was probably right, at least partially. Gelledge had pointed out that if she went through a company, she would be paying a great deal more for overnight care. Peace of mind however, wasn’t so easy to find. But living in a medically prepared housing situation was not for the faint of heart. You had little privacy, even if you lived in a nice sector of Paris. You had to stomach the ranting and the raving, the constating ringing of bells, buzzers and telephones, the numerous “subjects” who took care of her majesty, her “open toilet” policy as the only toilet that could reception “TONY” her automated person lifter, a rather large mechanism that carried Patches off to the toilet, well it was located in the hallway. So whether coming into the front door or going out through the front door, you automatically passed through the kithchen AND the hallway.. Helas, she didn’t seem to mind that everyone got more than a peek of her on the ‘jane’…

Today she had a new administrative assistant with a high squeeky voice, a bit like Minnie the Mouse, the disneyland character, but with the irritating lilt at the end of every sentence or question that some parisiens have. It sounde much like “Squeak, squeak, squeak, squuuueeeak!!!”

And for about two hours. Of course, Gelledge could’ve closed the upstairs door to the landing, but it was too hot if air didn’t circulate. He put his ear phones on and watched a couple of Star Trek videos, while hoping that inspiration would soon return.

He was in fact almost finished with his new CV in English…


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