These days I go by the name of Freda McKenzie. The photograph before you was taken over fifty years ago; I was just twenty nine then and working for the British Government in occupied France. These days, I am too poorly to work. My body is that of a jellyfish washed up on the shore, my mind however, is as sharp as the teeth of a shark.
I have always enjoyed an affinity with the ocean, its harsh scent reminds me of life, and death; the impossibility of separating the two.
I call all inhabitants of the sea my, not pets but my friends. I feed them the swill that the 'care' assistants at the home put before me every day. It is testament to their lack of 'care' that they never notice this.
There is one room at the 'care' home of which I approve; I think you may guess what its long windows overlook. When the wind blows inland, I can detect the ocean with three senses.
Within the sanctity of my mind, I still look just as I did in the picture. Reality reminds me in the form of thoughtless young nurses and the callous words of young rascals on the promenade. But I look as I wish to believe I look. The soldiers caught me stealing the orders from their cruel and handsome officer. They tied me, naked in the town square and whipped and jeered me as they did the Christos.
Too often I awake, remembering the terrible sacrifice my comrades made to free me. I would like to return to that brick square, are the bullet holes still visible? I look forward to the sweet rest of death; to hear once more my beloved Bertrand speak of his love for me. I am not afraid.
Only one thing frightens me; that the Nazis will find me again.
TEXT by Richard O'Brien + IMAGES by Elizabeth Walker