Article: 261255 of talk.bizarre
From: (Theresa Jean Flynn)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: Visit from St. Agnes
Date: 1 Dec 1995 03:55:44 GMT
Organization: Information & Media Technologies, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Lines: 86
Message-ID: <49luc0$>
Keywords: premature fts

She looks at her wrist, the one with the security alarm on it.  Criminals
and old people lose their freedom, and she has none left to lose.  She
can't remember if she's old or if she did something wrong.  She knows 
this isn't really her home; her home is with Frank, her home is where she 
cooks and cleans and babysits for her grandchildren.  This bright place 
isn't her home.  The efficent nurses are always checking on her every few
minutes to make sure she doesn't fall down again, or wander into another one
of the identical mazelike rooms.  They always make such a fuss, just because
she's in a different room.  They're all alike.  Three beds, a televsion,
windows along a wall.  White uniforms.  

She sits down on the bed.  She's not ready to go to sleep, but she could
just sit here.  Maybe this bed is hers.  They all look alike.  Light from 
the hallway plays on the blanket pattern and makes shaded colors.  Nice 
blanket, but it's not the blanket her aunt made for her.  It's not the
blanket from her real bed.  It is a nice blanket.  She puts the towel on
the bed next to her.  She'll need this.  She keeps forgetting, but then she
remembers, and she has to find the towel again.

A nurse comes into the room and turns the light on.  "There you are.  We've
been looking for you."  The nurse tries to remain cheerful; this is just
some more hide and seek with the residents.  

Agnes, the resident from room 105, grabs the towel from the bed and 
stands up, swaying slightly.  "I don't want to go to bed.  I want to go

The nurse nods.  "You don't have to go to bed.  That's fine.  Why don't you
come out to the television room?"

Agnes stairs out into the hall for a minute, and then she smiles, "May I have 
some ice cream for table four?"  

The nurse offers her arm. "Of course.  Come with me."

They walk down the hallway.  Agnes smiles at the other residents, stopping
to say hello to most of them.  She greets people often, sometimes four
times in an hour because the earlier greetings just don't stick with her.

"Is it time for ice cream?" one of the other residents asks Agnes. 

"Oh, I suppose I'll have a little, but I have to watch my calories."
Agnes lifts up her shirt to show some of her belly.  "But I hung out
the quilts today, so that's exercise."

The snack refrigerator has plastic sleeves of ice cream cups, and Agnes
chooses vanilla.  "I don't know how you can eat so much ice cream in the
middle of winter, Agnes."

The nurse looks at the clock -- it's time to give out evening meds.  Agnes 
can sit in the front lounge.  "Come here, Agnes.  Let's go sit down." 
Agnes shuffles into the lounge.  The television plays a sitcom, but it's 
not the one she likes.  Agnes sits down with her ice cream and smiles like 
she did at the ice cream socials where she was courted by Frank.  The nurse
goes to the bay window and closes the curtains on a freshly snow-covered 
winter scene.  Agnes opens her ice cream cup.

The nurse goes back to the hallway after making sure Agnes has a spoon and 
her security bracelet and Agnes makes sure she has her towel. 

The television has a commercial now, but Agnes just bought laundry
detergent this afternoon at the Prange Way, before she did her laundry.
She doesn't pay much attention to the commercial.  There's a little girl,
very thin, sitting next to her now.

"Agnes, if you give me your ice cream I'll show you a trick I used," the
little girl whispers.  Agnes takes another spoonful and looks at the 
television.  Too many calories, too many calories. Fat fat fat.  She give 
the little girl the ice cream.  The girl eats a spoonful and smiles just 
like Agnes used to.  Then the little girl sets down the ice cream and takes
Agnes' hand into her own.  She moves the bracelet from Agnes' wrist over
her own hand and onto her own wrist; she lets go of Agnes' hand and
lets the bracelet slip off her child-sized hand to the carpet.  She smiles
more brightly, then she scoops up the ice cream and finishes it in one
gulp.  "Do you still have your towel?"

Agnes feels the towel next to her.  She puts it on her head and around her
face.  She will need it until she gets home.

Agnes walks out the door without setting off the alarm.

  we don't need no government loans and we don't get no checks from home...
The Last Apartment/1947 N. Prospect Ave. #305/Milwaukee, WI 53202/(414) 278-7413