“Emily thinks she’s going home again,” says Matron as I start my shift.
“Yes, I saw her in the hall.” Emily had been sitting primly on the chair by the front door, handbag firmly clasped between her feet, twisting a fresh linen handkerchief between her arthritic fingers.
“I’ve rung her family again. They said they’d try to come by and take her out for a drive.”
That would do it. Emily would think she’d gone home; she’d be content for a week or so. But the family won’t come, they seldom do these days.
Una and I wheel the tea trolley into the sitting room where the residents are more lively than usual; Emily has managed to infect them with her excitement and anticipation. One or two of the more agile keep wandering out to check if her people have arrived to pick her up. Thankfully, by the time it’s clear that no-one has come for Emily, they will have forgotten what the excitement was all about.
Mr Jackson is eyeing what he calls Una’s “tea party arse.” Today he will probably try to grab a handful and there’ll be a fuss. Matron says it’s a shame when they still experience sexual tension but I think it’s okay, it gives them an interest. Just so long as it’s not my arse they’re grabbing.
Later that morning the doorbell rings and I hear a hubbub of voices in the hall. My spirits lift; Emily’s family have come to take her home for a while.
I go out to say goodbye; it makes it seem real for them if they think it’s a permanent thing and not just a couple of hours driving around with a cup of tea in the middle.
But it’s the electrician, come to fix the cooker, and he’s standing there helplessly.
Matron is fussing around the figure on the chair and Una, wide-eyed, is on the telephone but I can see it’s already too late.
Emily has indeed gone home.
The Trifecta Weekly challenge this week was for a piece incorporating the following word/definition:
1: to contaminate with a disease-producing substance or agent (as bacteria)
2a : to communicate a pathogen or a disease to
b : of a pathogenic organism : to invade (an individual or organ) usually by penetration
c : of a computer virus : to become transmitted and copied to (as a computer)
3a : contaminate, corrupt <the inflated writing that infects such stories>
b : to work upon or seize upon so as to induce sympathy, belief, or support <trying to infect their salespeople with their enthusiasm>