Nursing home

The nursing home smelled of stale urine and had the wallpaper of a 1970s mental home, with calm colors and a bland boarder of flowers. An elderly lady clutched a baby doll with blue eyes and a prim smile as she rolled her wheel chair down the hall.  

“The baby’s smiling at you,” my uncle Matt said, pointing to the doll with a quiet chuckle. 

I smiled. Televisions droned in the background, filtering into the hall from open doors and an alarm sounded. 

“What do you think that alarm is?” my dad said. 

“Someone probably trying to get out,” said Matt with the same quiet chuckle. 

My dad nodded. 

A young nurse with blond hair pulled out of the room. Without smiling she said, “All set.”

We walked inside. My grandfather smiled as he saw us enter. He wore a blue woolen cap, khakis, and a striped blue shirt. His face looked like putty molded into a face–sunken cheeks, eyes dazed, mouth loosely hanging–and his body had skin stretched taut over thin bones. He was gray and tired. I shook his hand, a vague clasp that hung in my palm.

“Hey Grampa, nice to see you,” I said.

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