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Visiting, Sunday afternoon

In Uncategorized on July 14, 2008 at 4:08 pm

The smell was lunches past. The besa bricks were dully white and the dusty flowers were silk. The fluoro lights were evenly spaced. Blu-tacked posters listed irrelevant rights.

If it had not been for following the squeak – his right shoe, after he lifted his heel and before he lifted his toe – he would not have timed his walk, and he would not have known that each door was fifteen steps from the next.

Not all of the doors were closed but all of the beds were made. Televisions flickering in darkened rooms, and all of them too loud. Brisbane versus the Crows.

A woman knitting, another with a book. A visitor with a cup of tea wrapped between her hands. A man asleep in his chair.

Photo frames in rows or clusters of threes on shelves and window sills and bar fridges and televisions which stood on four sturdy legs. Photos of people who echoed each other, but whose names could only now and then be dredged from between the holes of crumbling brains.

And then in a room at the sunroom end, a woman. Her chin lifted. Her mouth lightly open and her eyes lightly closed. A younger woman, one he’d never seen, bent over her, putting lipstick on in dabs.

‘There you are, love, gorgeous again…they’ll be here soon’. Her voice was round and strong and yet to let her down. He was seven steps past, but he thought of turning back and of wrapping her in his arms. She would not smell of voilets or cashmere bouquet or even Oil of Ulan. Her skin would not be paper thin and her eyes would not be pale. There would be no weight between them.

Somewhere down the corridor, a baby cried, another door closed.

He used the stairs because he could, went down them two at a time, then jumped the final four, pinned the number in, made sure the lock of the gate was clicked.

But still, the wanderer’s alarm followed him back to his car.

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