The small, flat building sits haphazardly on the grass. Windows like eyes look down on a beaten parking lot. A scattered assortment of cars litter the empty pavement. It is a sad sight.
I have been here many times.
I never enjoy it.
A sign introduces the building as Cherry Blossom Manor. Its a nice name.
It doesn't fit.
The halls are full of resignation. Aged relics of an era long past are scattered in dark rooms. Eyes gaze listlessly from behind wrinkled lids. In every room I can hear the drone of a television. Or I can hear the eerie emptiness of silence..
There is an elderly man who sits in a chair. He is there everyday. He has impeccable timing. He smiles at everyone, his face a mask. He tells me "My son is coming to get me today!"
A year later, he still sits in that chair, waiting. Smiling.
There is a woman down the hall. She is friends with everybody. She is friends with nobody. One day, she is not longer there. There is some speculation on where she went. It doesn't last. Within a week, the woman from down the hall is forgotten.
The resiliancy of the elderly surprises me. They cling to memories of an age long past much like a drowning man clings to a lifevest. The present scares them. The past comforts them.
I have walked these immaculate halls many times. I have seen the empty lives that reside in forgotten rooms. It is a place of masked death, a grim reminder to the frailty of life. As I walk these halls, I recall a quote by William Hazlitt:
"We do not die wholly at our deaths: we have moldered away gradually long before. Faculty after faculty, interest after interest, attachment after attachment disappear: we are torn from ourselves while living."