Tuesday, July 03, 2012

When you are very old

The house does not stand out from its neighbours: Victorian, two-storied, with perhaps 16 apartments. As you enter the hallway, stepping onto the fading pile carpet, it could almost be student digs.

First you are assailed by the overpowering smell of lingering food; then you notice that the narrow staircase ahead is further obstructed by a stairlift contraption bolted to the wall; finally you note that all the rooms are open, blocked by sitting, sagging old ladies while blue-uniformed young women flit between them like harassed bees on their rounds.

I'm not sure what is worse: to be slouched oblivious all day long, to persist in an angry eternal present when memory has departed, or to be a caged spirit in a clapped-out body.

We saw all three but sadly my mother's life-long friend was in the middle category. We could not stay long.