offer solace, take her hand. The worst of it, she told him, was the forgetting. She could receive a phone call and be given information and forgetit all within an hour. He suggested she keep a notebook by the telephone.His mother had done the same. His mother recorded the pertinent details of her conversations and reviewed them in the evening over a cupof green tea. The tea he recommended as a cellular restorative, a memorybooster of the first water. Her mother was dead, she told him, she rosesuddenly from the dining room table with her arms outstretched, as ifseeking her balance, and then fell to the floor. Or she sat in the chair,weeping. The bridge of his brow opening to her, bristling, Doctor Molloy cradled her hand in the warmth of his palm. His mother also kepta large desk diary in her bedroom in which she set down the principalevents of her long life, as she recalled them. The date was written andafter that a little memory. In that diary his family had later found muchcomfort. After some minutes Doctor Molloy ceased patting her handand, clearing his throat, returned to his position behind his desk. Herfather went too young, she said. They thought he was joking.
On the first of August 1991 the postman knocked on the front door andthen opened it slightly to place a parcel of books on the hall floor, as hehad done many times before. Coming into the hall from the kitchenand seeing the hand descending, she screamed and let fall the cup ofgreen tea she was carrying. Hearing the crash of the cup, the postmanpushed the door open and with a worried look asked if she was all right.She screamed again and backed towards the kitchen. It is only me, saidthe postman. It is only me, Mrs. O’Herlihy. Something about the voicestilled her. She had questions to put to him, but they would not come.The postman explained further, I am only after dropping in the parcel. She nodded mutely, a finger and thumb working fiercely the prominences of her collarbone. The postman’s worried face withdrew throughthe gap in the door; the door was softly shut. Through the thick oak shesaw momently his bowed head, his hand upon his hat. When Éadaoinreturned that evening he noticed his parcel on the hall table and said,Oh, my books have arrived. And from the living room she called outcheerfully, confidently, well-practised, Yes, Johnny dropped them in thismorning. I hope you’ll remember to tip him this Christmas.
On the sixth of June 1992 she received a phone call from a familiar voice.Beside the telephone was a notepad and a pencil which she took up be