The Home Is Not The Heart


A nurse, carrying a tray of hot teas, halted, suddenly, upon entering the self-opening doors of the Home’s dementia ward as a woman in a wheelchair glided past her feet. People in wheelchairs seemed to be everywhere and those who weren’t were sunk into pastel coloured armchairs, unmoving. The hum of chatter between Residents seemed to rise and fall unpredictably, decorated with screams of rage, nonsensical laughter, and infantile noises that meant who knows what. The nurse brought round the tea.

Rosemary and Jean sat watching the nurse, wheelchairs side-by-side, facing the visitor’s entrance that led to their shared freedom – the World Beyond the Home. They had thus far managed to bypass their floors sympathetic taskmaster, scoot through the self-opening doors that they had opened with a stolen Staff Pass, make it to the lift undetected, descend the lift to the ground floor, feign dementia, and be taken by a hapless nurse to the dementia ward that just-so-happens to be a stone’s throw away from the visitors entrance. They felt hot pangs of sickness as they watched the nurse distribute the last of the tea. Their escape was imminent.

“Hello” said a raspy voice to Jeans left. A skinny old lady hunched inside of a wheelchair, who Jean thought resembled a praying mantis, waved, vacantly, in their direction.

“Hello, dear,”

“Do you know where my daughter is?”

“She’s on her way, dear,” replied Jean. The nurse left the room holding the now empty tray, meaning that there was a rough twenty second window before she returned with biscuits. Rosemary and Jean instinctively began wheeling in the direction of the entrance, mirroring each other’s pace as they manoeuvred around the Residents who blocked the way to the World Beyond like land mines prone to bark gibberish at any given moment. Rosemary reached for the Staff Pass inside of her cardigan pocket as she neared the post-like beeper just short of the entrance. Careening towards it at top speed, but not terribly fast, Rosemary lunged for the beeper and felt a wave of cold outside air as the doors swung apart. Straight ahead she could see carefully planted flowerbeds either side of the concrete pathway that led down towards the car park and, beyond that, hilly fields of sheep grazing in the distance. She looked behind her shoulder to see Jean trailing behind, each thrust of her wheelchair ricketier than the last. The doors were closing. “Goodbye,” said the raspy voice of the praying mantis from the other side of the room. Rosemary met Jean as the doors clicked shut.

“I’m so sorry, Rose,” panted Jean,

“We’ll have to work on those arms,” replied Rosemary, stroking the back of Jean’s hair. The couple aligned themselves side-by-side once more and looked through the glass panes of the electronic door and counted the sheep in the fields until the nurse returned.

Caolan Blaney

About Caolan Blaney

Writer from Birmingham. Studying English Lit in London.

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