Apr 21
tashapea's picture

Visitation Hours Are Over

I watch silently as a woman brings in another one, strapped to the chair. This one is quiet as she is placed in front of a table. Beside her, a fellow resident is pouring milk into his napkin with determination. The woman frowns and grabs his arm, “stop doing that.” He doesn’t reply, but puts the cup down. The minute that the woman disappears around the corner, he picks up the milk once more and continues his mission.

I look away.

One of them is seated to my left, strapped to what seems to be a rolling bed. She clutches at her clothes, almost as if they’re strangling her. A visitor signs in at the door and walks past us swiftly as they make their way to another corridor. I gaze at the person I’m here to see and wonder who she is now. She looks back at me with the same question. Her discoloured skin and shrivelled features make me look elsewhere. I noticed others have suffered worse than she has. Their chins seem to be trying to get away from the rest of their face, their shoulders are uneven, and the skin on their cheeks have succumbed to gravity.

This time it’s a man who brings in one of the residents. He doesn’t even try to soothe her as she squeals the entire way to the table. Although she is walking, he is practically dragging her to the chair. Once she is seated at the table with the milk man and another troubled individual, she stops screeching. The individual immediately leans forward and starts whispering conspiracies about the Germans, talking about World War II as if it is happening right now. I suppose for them, it is.

A loud alarm sounds, signalling that one of the residents is too close to the exit. People rush out from the main office and start directing them back to another corridor. I look down at the table and close my eyes for a moment. I haven’t said anything, but there isn’t much to say. My Polish isn’t that good and she doesn’t speak English as well as she used to.
I don’t want to be here anymore.

I stand up, but someone tugs on my sleeve. I look down at the woman I am here to visit and she looks up at me, trapped in the labrynth of her own mind. She doesn’t recognize me so I lean down and give her a kiss on the cheek. She lets go of me as if she forgot what she was doing and I quickly exit the building without signing out. Directly ahead of me, I see the big, red sign in front of the building, GEF Senior Housing. Avoiding any thoughts, I get into my car and drive away.

tashapea's picture
About the Author: tashapea