I am going out today.
I like to go out of my four walls
Decorated with pictures and my ceiling with mobiles;
To be out of my bed and away
In my chair with Adrian my husband
Or a son or two with their partners and babies;
To go away from this nursing home
Which is full of carers and other residents, twenty years my senior;
Or sometimes I am taken by friends.
When I get away from the routine of the home
I feel free.
Depending on the weather we might go out for a walk
In tree-lined valleys, maybe by a river.
I don’t see the birds but I can hear them
And I see the green leaves of trees and hedges beside me.
After walking for a while we stop and I might have a cigarette;
It is one of the perks of going out that I can have a cigarette when I want one.
After an hour or two we turn round and return to the car
Which we might get into and drive either home for lunch or to a café.
I then dread the wait until about half past three when I am taken back.
I hear the car leaving and feel a great sadness;
Adrian says he feels sad when he leaves me here.
For all this, this is meant to be a particularly good home.
But being part of this institution brings no joy.
The carers all ask me where I’ve been and I tell them,
And they say “Did you have a good time?”
And I always say “Yes!”
To be honest though, it is a mixed blessing
Going out for these walks
When the only person who doesn’t walk is me.
Mary Smith, 5 September 2013