“Je m’appelle Elodie,” she would say as an introduction, which was odd, because she was English.
We became friends when I moved to the island. She had arrived 40 years before me, as the school teacher, and despite her neat white bun and little old lady appearance she was quite ferocious.
In her later years Elodie found a boyfriend, Henry, a Bahamian gentleman who had been a lighthouse keeper, he liked to go out late at night and dance, walking stick in hand.
Elodie had suffered a bad riding accident as a young girl and as a result had a severe limp and wore one built up platformed shoe which we often had to glue the sole back onto. It’s not easy to find one left shoe with a built up sole in the Bahamas.
As Elodie’s health declined we did what we could, but it soon became apparent she needed full time care and a nursing home in Nassau was found for her. Right next door to the notorious prison. Cosy.
I visited her there as often as I could, her body now unable to move, only her eyes roaming the damp, depressing Nassau nursing home. A lonely place for Elodie.
I gave her an iPod into which I had loaded the King James Bible, I would place the headphones over her ears and pushed play just before I left after each visit.
One day when I returned to see her the iPod was gone. Stolen in the night by a young attendant. I hope they liked the Bible.
Elodie died a few years ago. Thank goodness. She was not enjoying life any more.
Last week out of the blue a parcel arrived addressed to me, in Henry’s shaky writing. Inside was a crumpled dress, smelling slightly moldy and with a lot of ink stains. I recognized it immediately.