Sweet Treats (2)

I’ve been here nearly two years now. Saint Bonaventure’s Nursing Home. It’s warm and comfortable and someone comes every day to check that I’m eating and washing. They have a book which they have to sign each time they come. I like Cheryl. She takes a bit of time to ask how I am. “Same as yesterday,” I always say. There isn’t much happening here.

After the nurse, about eleven usually, I take my walking frame down to the lounge to talk to some of the others. I’m not sure if I need the frame but I feel safer since I did my hip in, falling over in the Post Office queue. I thought there was a rail but it was a rope. Well, I say ‘talk’ but some of them are away with the fairies. It’s hard to get away once they start so I’m careful to pick my spot, usually next to Marge or Beryl. Marge was a nurse and she can tell some tales of when she was young. She’s lived a bit I tell you. Got stuck in a window once, sneaking back into the nurses’ quarters after midnight. Beryl was an accountant but she’s not at all stuck up, got a wicked sense of humour and she can be a bit rude. That’s why I sit where I do.

I never worked. Bill said I didn’t need to. Of course, I had my hands full at first, with Janet, but then there didn’t seem any point. I didn’t want to work in a supermarket so I stayed home. I used to meet up with the other young mothers at first but they drifted away, got jobs or had another. Once Janet started school there was a flower arranging class and I joined a reading group at the library. We used to meet up once a week and just talk about what we were reading. Then there was ‘Keep Fit’ and we’d meet up for coffee afterwards. Bill was happy if the house was tidy and his dinner ready. I’ve never had to worry about money; Bill did all that.

Janet asked me if I wanted to sell the house. I told her I’ve never had to think about things like that and, anyway, it’s her legacy. She got a bit cross and said how expensive this place is but I told her it will all be hers when I’m gone. I don’t feel too ill or old myself though. If it hadn’t been for my hip I’d still be at home.

After a bit of lunch, we watch ‘Countdown’ and then I might nod off. I try not to sleep in the day but I just drop off. Well I do if there isn’t someone visiting. The nights can be very long if I can’t sleep.

Sometimes they, the people who come visiting, dress up like its wartime and sing songs from the time. Some of them are ok I suppose. There was a young girl last week with a guitar. She had a nice voice but I couldn’t hear the words and some of them started talking like she wasn’t there. It’s just rude but they don’t know they’re doing it.

Janet usually comes every other Sunday, sometimes with Mike and sometimes on her own. She brings me a packet of my favourite sweets: Werther’s Originals. I try to make them last.  At Christmas, she gave me a box of Turkish delight as well. Proper posh stuff it was. I didn’t like it but I didn’t like to say, so I said it was lovely when she asked. I left the box in the lounge for the others to have a go at. Trouble is she’s started bringing me a box every time she comes, as well as my favourites. She said she couldn’t get the fancy boxes any more so she started making her own. I don’t like to upset her so I just leave the box in the lounge for the others.

You get used to people dying here. We’re none of us young any more. Usually it’s one of the ones who are near the end and don’t know where they are anyway. It’s a relief for their relatives because they feel obliged to keep visiting but there’s nothing to say. There’s been a couple of them go in the last two weeks. Millie went this week and Helen went the week before. Come to think of it we’ve had a few go lately. There’ll be new ones in soon. I hope they still have a bit of life about them.

I got such a shock when the police came. They came to see me in my room. Asked me all sorts of questions about the Turkish delight. It seems they had Janet in custody but had let her go. Something to do with the CCTV. Now Marge has been taken by the policemen. I don’t know when she’ll be back.

Author: Ian

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