Eclectic Oatmeal

The Nursing Home

Posted in Depressing by Bryan on February 25, 2009

I sit here, trying not to move in fear of rattling my bones like a box full of coins. Florence says its all in my head, what does she know? She’s just as senile as the rest of these old bastards in the home. My days are spent sitting in my wheelchair, looking out at Peggy and Rodger playing soccer, showing no effects of crippling arthritis like me, how I wish to be them. Instead I sit with the window open, feeling the breeze tickle past my plastic bag of a face. Waiting for Osiris to sweep me out of my prison and into Shangri-La, or hell.
I’m in hell, I’m awaiting my bi-monthly letter, from my offspring, Mr. Miller. I get one page of 16 point, double spaced, empty words detailing his life. Telling me of his beautiful with many rooms, many rooms that I cant have. A room I cant take due to my age. I’m too difficult to deal with, sitting there looking out the window might give his neighbors the wrong impression.
It would be better than this place. Surrounded by youthful ancients fooling themselves that they aren’t in the food processor of life. Waiting to be grinded up and flushed down the drain. Fooling themselves into thinking they are immortal. Going out and swinging their wrists to and fro to the rhythm of the tennis balls. Smacking it around like the notion of dying. Serving it to the other court to deal with, hoping that their opponents don’t catch them off guard.
I get sick of watching them, I wheel myself into the cafeteria. For the first few minutes, I eat my lasagna, watching Carol slurping up pureed jello and watching in the distance the television screen playing daytime drama. Many of them watch the screen, not paying attention to the dialogue, just staring at the movements of the cast, dreaming of their lost vitality.
A bouncy couple comes in after I put down 2 layers of the lasagna. They look throughout the room, Catherine tells them that their leech is going to be a little late. She’s busy with water aerobics. They smile, happy that their abandoned sage is still pushing back the clock’s hand. They scan the room, looking for a place to sit, lasagna night is a real party for us, due to the fact we can’t sneak in liquor. They see me sitting alone, and they decide to shine a light like Apollo. I decide to play Hermes. They disgust me, with their jumpsuits and blond poofy hair. Acting like they jogged to this grave to share news of great tidings.
“Well hello there! My name is Sharon and this is Stanley!” The woman says.
“People just call me Styx though!” He chuckles, god is trying to tell me something.
“My name is George.” My ordinary name.
“Well George, mind if we sit with you and eat some Lasagna! It sure smells good!” Sharon says, treating me like an enfant. I was once a great historian, and here I am being talked to like Baby New Years.
“Sure.” I smile, wincing inside. I will make them pay.
Stanley leaves to grab some lasagna, Sharon smiles at him as he wades away. “We’re here to see his mother.” She fiddles with a straw, I make her feel uncomfortable. This might not be so bad.
“Who is the lucky matron, you know I might know her!”
“Lucille? Small, big glasses? Adorable, really!” If she was so adorable she wouldn’t be living here. I don’t know her all the same.
“Oh! I know her! She’s a feisty one, she sure is! Sassy Lucille everyone calls her. Always speaking her mind!” Sharon smiles, “So, which wife are you?”
Sharon cocks her head, “Excuse me?”
“Oh golly, I wasn’t supposed to say that, you know us old folks!”
“Tell me Gramps, what was with that comment?”
“Well, Lucille is a real chatterbox. And she is always talking about her unloyal son, according to her, he comes here with 3 different women. Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. I think they’re all sisters, I mean, they all have the same facial features and what not.”
“What kind of names are those! I bet they are black, social security, whores!” Wow, I picked a winner. A closet rascist, today is the best I had in a while.
Lucille comes into the room, still wearing her swimming cap. My luck persists, her nurse is black. Sharon stands up. “You!” She starts striding over to the nurse. “You and your skanky sisters, better stay away from my husband!”
The nurse is totally blind sided, “What?”
Lucille retorts, “What are you talking about Sharon?”
“You know damn well what I’m talking about! In fact I bet you told everyone in this hospital about your ass-son!”
“I don’t know what you are talking about, and I really don’t like your tone!”
The nurse tries to mediate, “Miss, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. You are causing trouble.”
“Yeah, I bet your kind knows about trouble.” The nurse is shocked, and strides out of the room with a mission.
“I can’t believe you said that to her! Sharon, I don’t know what has gotten into you.”
“I’ll tell you what has happened. Just when my life gets all pieced together, and my guilt about the miscarriages finally washed away I hear about my husband’s jungle bunny fever that YOU probably arranged. Hoping that someone could produce your… your… SPAWN!”
Lucille slapped her across the face, “How dare you speak of me, my son, and Peggy like that.
“Peggy…?” This is the time for me to roll on out. The last I see of Sharon is her putting her hands to her face and slowly collapsing to the floor as the security guards come to escort her out. Peggy is sitting at the nurse’s station, Dr. Schneider with his hand on her shoulder, as she looks into the eternity of her desk. Everyone played their parts well, I mosey on down to my room. When I enter though, I see a woman with skin radiating gold, and when she turns around, I see that her eyes aren’t eyes, They are coins. She is holding a bouquet of ever changing flowers.
“That was an interesting game you played there, George.”
“Who… what’re you…”
“I am death.”
I have to believe her, her eyes are the ancient coins of Greece.
“Have you come to take me?”
“In a sense.” There is a silence. “George, I have become enlightened. You do realize that don’t you?” I nod, staring at the ground. “ A thousand years ago, I was a mighty warrior. I ravished in slaughtering my enemies one by one. Relishing their blood against my blade. I felt death was a sport. Until one day I died suddenly from a chariot accident. The Grim Reaper came for me, telling me that becoming the god Death is my path to enlightenment.”
“Enlightenment?”
“Yes, there are many things to learn after you shift into your next entity. I spent the past millennium seeing deaths of all kind. At first I laughed at their weakness and mortality. But when I pondered, I realized how valuable life is. Then, I thought about the sins of my past, how I took great minds and great warriors away from me in my struggle for power.”
“Why me…?”
“You possess great knowledge. You treat human lives as entertainment, and when you aren’t corrupting people, you are spending it in this room. Watching ‘Livers’ with jealousy and contempt.” I stare at her ever changing bouquet. She smiles, “I’m excited for retirement. I hear they have great lasagna.”
“But, I’m not dead.” As I say that, I notice a bleeding from my stomach, I turn around, and see Sharon’s bloody hand holding a knife that was meant to cut pasta. I stare back at the Goddess. Her coins display a mixture of remorse, pity, and excitement to whatever destination awaits her. I slump onto the ground, feeling more powerful and free than ever. I stand up, looking at my body.
“You must take this.” She hands me the flowers.
“What is it for?”
“These flowers are all the flowers that are set on graves. It is one of the many items you need as death” As she hands me the flowers, the coins fall from her eyes, revealing a guilty ebony stare. The gold is turned into a deep tan, and she is wearing battle armor from ancient times. It remains for a while, as an entity I have no concept of time. After that, it slowly morphs into a matronly dress. Her supple skin starts to sag, and her hair grays. “Old age is something I’ve always pondered about.”
I look around, Sharon isn’t there. My body isn’t there. “I hope you don’t mind if I use your existence.”
I’m bewildered, “No… that’s okay.” I start walking out, carrying the flowers. I end up in front of the home, feeling as I did 53 years ago, when I moved out of the house.

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