Issue 87 Aug 2020

Issue 87 Aug 2020

Kirsty slouched along the rest room corridor accompanied by the young nurse. Sucks, she thought. Life sucks.

She took in the sights of the old people, some sitting in wheelchairs, mouths open, staring into space. A few shuffled around on Zimmer frames. One of these reached out a hand to the nurse as the two passed by.

“Hello, Julie,” she muttered. “How’s cousin George?”

The nurse clasped the elderly woman’s hand in both of hers. “George is doing well, Elizabeth” she said, articulating each word slowly and clearly. “He sends his regards.”

“That’s good, that’s good.” The old lady’s gaping gaze fixed on Kirsty.

“Your daughter has grown,” she said.

“That’s right. This is my daughter, Anne. Say hello to Aunt Elizabeth, Anne.”

Kirsty glared alternately at the nurse and the old lady. “Hello, Aunt Elizabeth,” she muttered after a long pause.

“Well, good to see you both,” the old lady said. “Better be going now. I’m very busy, you know.”

“I’m sure you are,” said the nurse.

“Poor Elizabeth,” said the nurse as the old lady meandered off. “One of our worst dementia cases.”

You don’t say.

Cassie cries in the Marshall’s bathroom.

Her back is pressed against the porcelain toilet as she sits on the floor, her head buried in her arms. Her shoulders heave, thudding up-down, up-down.

I can’t see it, but I can imagine her cheap mascara running down her face, trickling over the acne spots on her cheeks that the concealer’s doing a very poor job of concealing.

I had expected wailing from her. Loud, noisy sobbing, with snot dripping onto the blue-and-black floor tiles. Messy, gross, disgusting crying.

But the sobs are quiet. Stilted, choked with irregular breaths.

Probably she doesn’t want anyone to hear.

Too bad I can.