Recognition (references dementia)

My granddaughter, Aylufa, came to live with me last year. I pretended I needed care, but honestly, her free board is just this grandma’s way of helping a beloved mokopuna save for her dreams.

That’s why I’m so disappointed, and, let’s be honest, bloody angry.

Discovering my hard-earned cash hidden in her bedroom is the final blow. I knew she’d been systematically stealing my precious mementoes, but now, this.

What to do? In the family’s eyes, Aylufa’s the golden one, little miss perfect. I’m just the old kuia who needs looking after.

I’ve got to get some solid proof. Thank goodness I have photos of my precious things.

I put on my best coat and hat, a touch of make-up, and my most determined skin. This won’t be easy. Mentally, I stride into town, but in reality my traitor feet only shuffle, worn down by nearly ninety years of supporting my journey.

Entering the pawn shop, I pause to get my bearings, before inspecting the jewelry display. Sure enough, there lies a precious brooch; it matches one in my photos.

I’m mildly surprised when the shop assistant addresses me by name, but then he asks after Aylufa, which explains it. In small towns, connections are easily made.

In case he’s Aylufa’s friend, I resort to cunning plan B, asking to see yesterday’s security film.

The lad is curious, but obliging. It’s a slow day. I tell him nothing.

My heart is numbed; seeking confirmation feels worse than just harboring suspicion.

I watch the slightly fuzzy footage, afraid of the unequivocal truth to come.

A shock of recognition runs through my body, escaping my lips in a gasp. I stumble away, horrified. Tears drip onto my coat. All trust obliterated by a single frame.

I know that face.  It has accompanied me everywhere for nearly ninety years.

Maybe I need a carer after all.

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