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At the Retirement Home

In Los Angeles, California

I went in with my grandmother and father,

to visit my great grandmother. The

retirement home is scarily clean

and the elderly are roaming

awfully slowly

and awfully curious about

who has come. Their beady

eyes scanning us. Wrinkled skin

like an old quilt. Were we the

visitors they were expecting? Was their

daughter finally free off work to check

on them or their son, sister, brother.

Or had they completely forgot that

they had their mother, grandma,

sister, trapped in this

retirement home because

they had grown too weak, and

frail and unaware and unable

to take care. God its like we age

backwards and we become

vulnerable as the babies we all

once were. Dependent on

a mother but in this case

their mother is most likely

dead and dependence is

now on another relative

or worse maybe everyone is

dead. We haven’t even found

her room yet and I am already

spiraling out of control.


I try my best not to peak

into the other rooms as we continue

to walk through the hallways of

the retirement home. Each dimly

lit by outdated televisions. Stuffy

from the shut windows and lack

of sunlight. Finally, the number

is familiar. We step in and my

great grandma is

laying per usual by the TV. She skims over

my father, and my grandmother and

glances back to the TV. I don’t think she recognizes

me. I greet her as usual and thump in

a chair. But the air is quiet than usual

and the cloud of age is hovering above

us and I can sense a certain dread in

all of us. A month ago this was untrue.

My great grandma was talking and

walking and now I watch her struggle to lift a

fork, to take a bite from her food. Her hand

shakes, I’m afraid it might break.

But my eyes do not drift away. This is

my last visit. A part of me, relieved.

As much as I hate to admit. The retirement home

reminds me of death and age and

how one day maybe I’ll  be stuck here

surrounded and reminded and unable

to lift a fork by myself. I’m only 15

I have plenty of years but maybe thats

exactly what my great grandma thought

and the next day she found herself

moving in this room.


I really don't want to be here. I don’t ever want to

be in a retirement home. I just feel bad and it's worse now

and it gets more and more worse because death is

the next step. I feel it clawing. Suffocating me and

I’m grasping for breath. Maybe it's better than being stuck in a

place where the reminder is there. But

at least we know how this might

feel. It is a possible situation

to imagine. But death? What is awaiting

there? What comes after? Do we feel the maggots

as they feast on our decaying flesh or do we no longer

exist so there is unawareness in the rot. What’s left when

we are pale bone and our only friend is the soil? But I can’t

seem to understand what might be worse. No longer

existing, breathing, dreaming.

being nothing. Black.

Pitch black. Darkness

Numbness. Nothingness.



back to biting my nails. I peel off a hangnail

and flinch as it starts to bleed. Metal reigns

over my taste buds. I am sure

heaven and hell are just human made

concepts so that the

fear of death doesn’t completely

eat us alive. Why would there be such

a thing where the evil

are punished and the good

rewarded. Satans

flames aren’t ablazing and the angels

wings don’t keep her afloat.

Life is never fair

and organized that nicely.

We are all human and we

are all ending up the same.

Retirement home or not. My great grandma

struggles to speak. She croakes

like a lonely frog and my dad’s

nod of time to leave snaps me back.

I wave a heavy goodbye as I am

brought back to March 11, 2015. My eyes

stick to the well scrubbed floors. And I  happily

push the door open to leave the reminders

that I may one day be in the same room

unable to lift a fork.

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