|Last station nursing home, a photo by ulrichkarljoho on Flickr.|
Here it is: my little stretch of hall. Right by the nursing station, off to the side where my wheelchair isn't in the way and I can still see the television at an angle (I can't hear the show or tell what it is, but that doesn't seem to matter to anyone). Dinner means fish and French fries--the same every Friday. I remember how Vernon used to fry fish, fresh caught from the Great Lakes. He never cooked but when he cooked fish, and I always stood beside and smiled.
The food gets cold if I don't eat it right away, but it's usually cold by the time the nurse brings it out. I don't mind. I just watch the hallway. It's more interesting than eating or watching TV. Shelly and Wanda talk at the nursing station, loud, as though I can't hear them, and I enjoy listening. Old Mr. Franks wheels himself to the dining hall and tips me a wink on the way, the sisters hobble across on their walkers, and Genevieve Donohew squeals a few doors down.
And then a fresh face--one I've never seen. A girl in a blue coat walking down the hall. I have to say "hello." She smiles, and says "hello" back. Then she's gone.