The old lady was lying in bed on her side beneath a fleecy light brown over blanket. She wore an olive green sweater and cardigan. Olive green… her colour in her younger days. It used to match her olive green/hazel eyes and reflect the glow of her olive skin against her black hair – but now, in her autumn years, with her salt and pepper hair, the washed out colour made her look sallow and ill. Her salt and pepper hair… now desperately in need of a cut, stood up on one side – the side that she rested on when lying down, which was actually most of the day. It gave her the look of a surprised bird or of wearing a quiff over her left ear rather than the front of her crown. Her crown… not the regal type of course although her regal presence had always been that of a queen. She smiled with excitement when I walked into her room, causing her face to crease up and her moles to disappear beneath the wrinkles. When she smiled like this the warmth of her love radiated out and the room almost lit up. In spite of her years her lips were still a dark pink colour – no doubt as they had been in her youth and although her face had “dropped”, her mouth was still plump and symmetrical. Her eyes glistened as she asked, quizzically, “Is he here – has he come?”
If Rowan Atkinson had any idea how much my mum loves Mr Bean, or how much pleasure he brings to her, I’m sure he’d be delighted and if I could resurrect Jim I’d get him to “fix it” so that Mr Bean could visit my mum in person. Mum has few pleasures left in her life now: her plants, smoking (much less than she used to), food (sometimes) visits from family members that she can still remember and Mr Bean – the last two being the only ones that don’t get her into trouble. Yesterday mum was a bit confused and thought that Mr Bean was coming to visit her in person and when I reminded her that we watch him on DVDs (showing her the latest copy for our collection) she asked if I had to pay him for it.
So far we have accumulated three DVDs in our Mr Bean library and “Merry Christmas Mr Bean” is mum’s favourite – probably because she’s watched it several times now. Mum watches the sketches and I watch her - and answer her endless stream of questions… “Is that him?” ... “Yes mum, that’s him”. “Is he feeding it? (she asks as Mr Bean shovels handfuls of stuffing into a giant turkey)…. and so on.
The DVDs all begin with the standard copyright notice and as one of mum’s inclinations is to read all words put before her she inevitably starts reading what comes up on the screen and, inevitably, gets it wrong… mum starts chuckling. “What are you laughing at mum?” and mum replies, still chuckling, “You have to go and make me a coffee – it’s the coffee message”. I’m not quite sure if this is mum making a joke or if she has simply misread the notice but I dutifully go and make mum a drink – after which she is under strict instructions to keep her cup well away from my laptop (or should I call it my lifeline?).
At the end of it I say “That’s it for today” and mum replies, grinning broadly, “Where has he been that Mr Bean?” I left mum chuckling to herself and with a smile on her face when she finally nodded off.
Next time I think I’ll try her with Drop Dead Fred if I can get hold of a copy – though the consequences might be troublesome!