Moving her dad into a nursing home is probably the hardest fear Nina’s ever had to conquer. It is far more excruciating than being thirsty and not having water to sip on. It is more sharply awakening than falling hard on her knees when learning to ride a bicycle. During those early days when dad was teaching her to keep her balance on four wheels, Nina remembers getting a red-ocher tinge slowly flowing down her thin calves. During the days after the cycling debacles, she’d want to pull the peeling skin off, shamelessly influenced by the slight masochistic streak she had no doubt inherited from her father.
Bum cleaners abound in geriatric hospitals and nursing care homes for the elderly. Bun cleaners-on-the-go, coming out of their giggling closet, where they keep their mops and plastic gloves and never-ending stock of soft sponges, safe in the knowledge that no elderly patients will be able to decipher those otherwise quite useless locks.
Sponges are no good when what one really, really, really wants is to author the next geriatric bestseller, though.
My dad remembers things that did not exist and lives his dreams and dreams his life. And while wiggling his hands, he ponders what to do next. He wants a watch and a magnifying glass. A watch to keep track of the passing time – they lie to him in hospital, he keeps complaining to no avail. A magnifying glass to observe the dirt and dust accumulating under the dining tables.
He takes notes of the things he wants to quietly observe and write about when he’s recovered. Latino male nurses recycling dirty mugs to alleviate the thirst of those poor souls. Those that accompany my dad in this ghastly journey through passing days and wrinkled afternoons and untidy evenings and sleepless nights.
Dad looks through the magnifying glass once more, his green iris glaring with infinite nous.
He caresses the glass, and smiles. Closes his eyes. Dad falls asleep.
I will see you again tomorrow, dad. Sleep tight.