Writing 101 – Day Six: A Character-Building Experience

Her much wrinkled hands, spotted with brown, hold tightly to the mangled tissue. Bony, knobbed fingers wrapped around it, squeezing and shredding, her mind totally oblivious of this act. She rocks slowly back and forth to the song that only she hears. Her sweet tired face changing expression as the words to her song lead her in different directions. Her cloudy gray eyes, once vivid blue, widen occasionally as though she is looking into the distance.

This little old lady, barely a hand full, rocking and smiling to some memory of long ago. Hair now a wiry gray pulled loosely into a bun behind her head. Dentures forgotten today, her shriveled cheeks sink into themselves. They sit her in this rocker and walk away knowing she will be content here for hours. At lunch they will come and retrieve her, seeing her to the dining room where she will spoon up her pureed meal. Never one to complain she swallows the swill before she is led to her room for a long afternoon nap. Her attendant asks her about her morning and the little darling tells of escapades with friends at the beach. She reports on the morning spent canoe riding up the river with her beau and the campfire songs they sang in the evening. The attendant nods absently, she has heard this story a hundred times before.

This is a character that I created from a montage of people I met in the nursing home I worked in as a teenager.


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