The world has forgotten me.
I am old – well, maybe not so old, but I look old, I feel old.
I walk slowly, with difficulty; I am always afraid I might fall, so I take careful, short steps, taking my time – after all, why should I hurry? I have all the time in the world, I have nothing to do, and no one is waiting for me. No one cares about what I do, they are all out there getting on with their busy lives and I’m inside this place, where they wash and feed me and most of all give me too much medication.
Some people here treat me kindly, but others are harsh; one can see they hate working here with the old and sick – but probably they have no other options, so they are here just to make sure they have a wage at the end of the month and they hate us because we still live. But at the same time they give us dozens of different pills every day so that they may keep us alive – even if this is not living, this is barely surviving, waiting for death but still dreading it…
Yes, I have some visitors…some friends show up and my children come to see me but of course they have busy lives and I’m clearly not their major concern, nor could I be…after all, they were never my top priority. I can see they feel sorry for me, but they are powerless to change my situation. I cannot live by myself as I always did, I need help at all times, I need someone to bathe me, to dress me, to take me out…it was never an option for me to go and stay with either of them, those bonds were never forged, I was probably too selfish, living only for myself; when you are young you never really think of a day like this when you will totally depend on others for survival. As I do now.
Once I was young and beautiful and healthy and full of life. I was much loved and I loved in return. I walked, I ran, I laughed and I made love. I learned many things, I cried about many others, I gave birth, I travelled, I made friends, I lied, I did all the things one does in life. I spent a lot of money and then I didn’t have any, but still life was a challenge that I took willingly.
I was wrong many times – and right so many others. But now, looking back, I made some serious mistakes, that I deeply regret. But then I didn’t know how to act differently, and life cruelly punished me for those mistakes. I’m still paying for them. But now there’s nothing to do, I can’t turn back the clock, there will be no time travelling for me to fix the past. It is what it is, and life cannot be changed.
I think of a time when life was bright and I was not living among the living dead as I am now – in fact I am one of them. As I slowly walk out of my room I hear one of my neighbours crying out that no one is coming to help her; another inmate passes by me like a sleepwalker and looks at me through her demented eyes – she has Alzheimer and lives in a different world; at the bottom of the corridor the retired coronel moves carefully in his wheelchair towards his room, where he spends most of the time dozing and watching TV…and now I just turn back, I don’t want to see all this, I’d rather stay in my room, shut away from all this misery that surrounds me. I go back and sit on my chair, the chair where I spend my days, like the coronel dozing and watching TV. After all what else is there for me to do? Maybe after I have my eye operation I will be able to read again – that would be wonderful. It would allow me to travel in time and to other places…away from the sad reality of my daily life.
The worst of it all is that there is no escape from here. There’s no getting better of my condition – I’ll be getting older, not younger, and increasingly frail. Only death will release me from this place – and yet, I don’t want it. Sometimes I say it would be better to die, but I don’t mean it. I just do it to make people pity me – but nobody cares if I live or die, in fact.
Nobody cares at all. No one remembers. I am invisible. I am forgotten.