When I was five my father explained to me how I had come to be named Myrtle. He sat on my favorite wooden chair, opening a packet of Cornish wafers delicately and passed me one. The smell wafted through the air like smoke and from then on there has never been a finer smell in my mind.
Now at 79 sitting in the lounge, my favorite room, I can hear him telling me the story of the Myrtle bush outside our house- how him and my mother had grown it on the day of their marriage- how they brought me home and sat me under it in the morning sun. Even now there is nothing that relaxes me more than the shine of myrtle leaves under sunlight.
Looking in the mirror now it is hard to believe I ever was that little girl- liver spots and crows feet have slyly crept over my face. They disgust me still as they appear faintly under the face powder I use so liberally to try and hide them. But I still have fun- 79 is not an age that cuts you off from everything. Indeed only yesterday I stole a grape from the supermarket fruit counter and for the rest of the day felt very proud of myself. The walk there and the excitement of crime have always been in my opinion the best way to exercise; yet it's hard to find the energy. As the cars swoosh by my window at night I try to imagine they are the sea but I am still kept awake. Scared. Of what I do not know.
TEXT by Laura Cushing-Harries + IMAGES by Lindsay Grime