These days, movie studios spend hundreds of millions of dollars on productions to scare people. But why? All they really need to do is follow me around for a day with a TV crew.
It wouldn’t matter which day. They’re all the same. They all blend into each other.
7:00 am - Get woken up by a harsh nurse with anger management issues, who administers a rough sponge bath after removing my overnight diaper.
8:00 am - Breakfast in the dining room, exchanging mumbled greetings with the other residents as we shovel grey gruel into our mouths with plastic spoons.
9:00 am - Medication. TV. Maybe a stroll outside if my hips are up to the task and the weather is between 16C and 21C.
10:00 am - Morning tea. Lukewarm tea or coffee. Soft, stale cake. All served by a hungover volunteer who’d rather be in a crack den than serving me food as penance for a drunk-driving charge.
11:00 am - Lunch. More mushy food. More greetings exchanged with other dead-eyed residents.
12:00 noon - Board games. Jigsaw puzzles. TV… hopefully the antenna is working. All interspersed with nurses wiping dribble from my various orifices.
2:00 pm - Afternoon tea. Leftovers from morning tea, served by a different volunteer. This one is a little perkier. Maybe the morning girl finally achieved her life-long ambition of dying from a heroin overdose.
4:00 pm - Dinner. More sloppy foods, easy to swallow. When I was young, I used to make fun of seniors having dinner so early. Now, I relish it. I especially love the jelly.
5:00 pm - Medication. I like the blue ones. TV. Daydream about my glory days. Imagine my son cares for me.
8:00 pm - Re-read one of the three worn books on my bookshelf. Sneak a cheeky piece of shortbread, stashed away from last year’s Christmas present. Or was it my birthday present?
8:45 pm - Nurse moans-a-lot wraps me in an adult diaper for bed.
8:55 pm - Check the cupboard.
9:00 pm - Go to bed.
There are some exceptions to this routine. Sometimes, rarely, my son will check me out for the day so I can spend some time with his family. They don’t feel like my family, however. They’re strangers. I see them so rarely, I can’t even remember their names.
I realise these outings are an obligation for him. I've tried to tell him not to bother. They normally occur on my birthday, or at Christmas. Normally he’ll pick me up on my birthday, or a day or two before Christmas (not on Christmas Day, mind you… I’d be too much of a burden to have around on the actual day). He'll take me to his home, introduce me to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, give me a box of shortbread, then take me back to the residential facility. Hopefully, not too late for dinner.
The repetitiveness of this mind-numbing routine is a form of slow death. Sometimes I envy the residents with Alzheimers. Sometimes I’d love to forget. I see the light in the eyes of the other residents slowly fade over time. The same must be happening to me.
Today, however, is different. Everything changed today.
8:55 pm - Check the cupboard.
“Hello,” Death said, his voice gentle and soothing. “Would you like to come with me now?”
“Yes," I replied, relief flooding my voice. "Yes, I most definitely would.”
Microfiction for Scifantor.
Theme: Doom & Gloom.