Life is a Rose

This is one I wrote for a Write’s of Passage competition in High Sch0ol. I thought it gave a pretty interesting perspective from the mind of an elderly woman who hates the fact that she’s in a retirement home, and who has nothing left except her memories of youth. Enjoy 🙂

There are so many old people in this place! I swear, the last time I was around this many old people was at my first birthday party. And what’s with all these drab clothes? Would it kill them to bring a little colour in here? It’s as plain as a glass of milk, like the one I spilled eighty years ago . . . was it eighty? My mother was so upset with me. That was the last time I ever drank milk near my mother’s good coat.

“Hello Mrs. Paddy.”

I can’t stand those people, always patronizing me. You’d think I was some kind of helpless child or something. Why, I could teach them a thing or two about what it takes to be a real woman. Now, I wonder where my slippers are . . .

“Mrs. Paddy, it’s time for you medication.”

Yah, you’d like that, wouldn’t you? Giving me something that’ll make me forget. Haven’t I forgotten enough? Now, I wonder where my slippers went . . . it would help if I wasn’t sitting in the brightest part of this damn building!

“Hey Paddy, you up for a game of chess? I’ll bet my own dentures that I’ll beat
you this time.”

Ah chess, now that’s an old person’s game. Why must they treat me like I’m about to fall into a coma at any second? Damn! I wish I could find those stupid slippers of mine . . I remember back when I was a kid; when I was allowed to walk down to the store all by myself and buy a bag of really good candy. I wish I could remember what that candy tasted like. . . I wish I could remember how to taste anything.

“There are some flowers here for you, Mrs. Paddy.” For the first time that day, I actually looked up at the lady in blue. She was leaning close to my face, a hand on the side of my wheelchair. My eyes slowly wandered to the flowers, and I nearly cried; half a dozen of the deepest crimson roses ties together with a silver silk ribbon.

“They’re beautiful,” I whispered, remembering how to make my voice work. “Who sent them?”

“I do believe they’re from your son, Timothy.” Oh, my sweet little baby boy. I took the roses with shaking hands, and never took my eyes off of them. All of my memories seemed to come flooding back to me. My first porcelain doll, garbed in a silk red dress . . my first ride on the big red steam engine . . . my first kiss wearing my mother’s ruby red lipstick . . . and the birth of my son, crying until his cheeks were as red as these roses.

“Are you ready for your nap?” I nodded, still gazing at my bouquet of roses, not caring that I didn’t have my slippers as she wheeled me into my room.

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