It is so cold, even in the house, because I cannot afford to put the heating on this winter, and that is why my hands are perpetually numb, and that is why I have just tipped the bits of the apple I am slicing up all over the floor. I had worse disasters, here, in the kitchen, for the same reason, a few days ago, and as I stoop to recover the pieces of apple, thinking those very thoughts about the cold and my numb hands, thinking about this accident and the other ones, earlier on, I am struck by the realisation that in just a moment, when I have stood, and when I have deposited my collection in the bin by the washing-machine, that what I am doing now will be later a memory of what I am doing now, and my realising this will so engrave this moment on my memory that I will never forget it, and I will for the rest of my life, at intervals, bring it to mind, and for a second or two I will again be squatting here, groping with numb fingers for little bits of apple, all because I cannot afford to put the heating on.
I am right, for as I retreat upstairs to my bedroom – the single room that I am occupying for the duration of this winter, where I will now wrap myself in my electric throw, like an electric blanket but a throw instead, and where I will enfold my numb hands in the soft, warm fabric – I am already remembering the apple incident, and I am reliving my bending, squatting and gathering, and I am reliving my thought that I shall never forget this moment, but will recall it again and again and again all my life long days. I wish I could undo that silly, pointless, futile memory. But even having that thought serves to reinforce it. I shall remember the soft winter light on the old, worn, red quarry tiles, and I shall remember the day, nearly forty years ago, when I tried to repair the grouting that had broken away during the course of the floor’s long history, for I thought then, ‘I shall remember this moment forever.’