Going Home (Trifecta Challenge Week 69, March 2013)

kevin dooley / Foter.com / CC BY

“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>


About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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50 Responses to Going Home (Trifecta Challenge Week 69, March 2013)

  1. James Toner says:

    One of your very best, Sandra JJ http://www.jjtoner.net


  2. Emily…the forgotten, how sad it is for the aged, for the parents, grandparents to feel neglected and not wanted. This brought a tear to my eye.


  3. Suzanne says:

    Oh Sandra, this is so good. So sad and sweet and tragic. Beautifully written!


  4. That is exceptional and having worked in that environment I can vouch for your words.. First class..x


  5. Excellent writing, and how you managed to sneak in the difficult word without me noticing at first made it even better. Vary sad and very real…


  6. So beautiful and precise. I really loved this piece!


  7. jannatwrites says:

    Nursing homes depress me for this reason. So sad when the elders become forgotten.

    When you first mentioned she was ready to go home, I wondered if ‘home’ was her final resting place. I like the idea of getting dressed up for that occasion!


  8. TheImaginator says:

    The last five paragraphs really did it for me, the way the perspective moves around from Emily to the hall to the electrician to Una and back to Emily.


  9. deanabo says:

    This is a very moving story. Sadly beautiful.


  10. Oh, I have tears. But they may be happy tears that finally, Emily has gone home.
    So well done, the scene was alive for me. And I wanted to come get Emily myself.


  11. habibadanyal says:

    Thank God, I live in a society where elders are loved, valued and even pampered. We believe they are our greatest source of God’s blessings.


  12. whimsygizmo says:

    Oh, Sandra. This is wonderful. I love the perspective of the loving caregivers at the home. Excellent.


    • Sandra says:

      I think carers have many facets to their personalities – probably necessary in order to cope with some of the things they have to witness or deal with. Thanks for commenting.


  13. Lumdog says:

    This is so sad. And very real. I’ve got two elderly parents who I should see more often. Well written piece.


  14. Nice story and great writing 🙂


  15. This is incredible. You’ve done it again


  16. Christine says:

    This is just wonderful, top-notch writing. The details are marvelous, and the tone is just right. I didn’t see where this was heading at all, so the last two lines made me catch my breath a bit. I love that you made me care in such a short piece.


  17. Draug419 says:

    Oh this is so sad )’:


  18. Lovely story, Sandra. Love the ‘perking up’ that tends to happen right before dying. Thinking it wouldn’t be such a bad way to go. Also remembering Water for Elephants.


  19. Linda Vernon says:

    Well, she knew she wanted to go home. My grandfather did the very same thing. He’d take his chair and sit facing the door. He wanted to go home! This was after they sold their big house moved to an apartment after he found out he had cancer. My grandmother never could never figure out if he meant the old house or that big house in the sky! A wonderful story Sandra. And I gotta say, I just love the picture of you. It’s so simple and yet so intriguing.


    • Sandra says:

      Thank you Linda! When I used to visit my father-in-law there was a lady who would sit by the door, just like she was ready to go somewhere. It was quite upsetting. Glad you liked it.


  20. atrm61 says:

    Sadly sweet-peace at last for the unwanted soul!Beautifully written Sandra.


  21. Very sad and real.


  22. Pb says:

    I like this – it is very real


  23. Sarah Ann says:

    So sad and touching.


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