Memory Lane Rest Home

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Time passing in an elderly rest home

Submitted: July 10, 2012

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Submitted: July 10, 2012

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Of the twelve residents at the Memory Lane rest home that would sit, each afternoon, facing the large expanse of windows, it was only ever Mr Richards that would look past the panes of glass and take in the view. It was not for loss of sight, at least for most of the residents, that left them staring at the window sill, at the odd dead fly left in the corner, or simply at the glass itself as if they could not see through it but were mesmerised by its composition. As the tide went out each afternoon, they were washed away with it and left Mr Richards alone, scanning the mud flats, the cockle sheds and the seagulls who circled endlessly. The other residents were never really there. They were vacant, hollow people who had nothing left but their memory and their health – both of which soon washed away and left them like the battered old fishing boats stranded out in the mud. They were evidence only of the cruelty of time to which even the deepest sympathy could not ease. Mr Richards sat each day surrounded by flickering hearts and drowning minds and could do nothing. He knew the tide will continue its course as the swell inside their eyes washes away the last remnants of life lived and quiet desperation turns to submission, quieter still.

Mr Richards has watched the water lap around his ankles. He has seen the drip, steady as time, fill his cell where he sits each afternoon. Mr Richards is slowly drowning and he knows it more than anyone. He has seen friends and acquaintances float away as he stood firm upon the good ship of life. A care worker leans in and speaks dryly in a patronizing tone, “Mr Richards, Mr Richards it’s time sir”. He turns his head slowly to face her as if he is half expecting death itself but upon finding out that dinner’s served instead he turns back to face the tide as it edges back reluctantly towards the beach. Memory Lane is like a prison paid for by its inmates, or their resentful families, but with less security and worse food. Mr Richards is one of the last free men here, living among the shipwrecks that Time has strewn across life’s shores.  


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