Old people have a very distinct scent. It’s not to be rude, but rather an obvious observation of when elder citizens all live in one small environment. If you’ve ever walked into a nursing home, you know what I mean. The bitter scent of overworked and dying flesh pierces your nose, making it hard to breath. Pungent air that has been infected by people who are waiting for their bodies to finally give out stays in your nose long after you have left. Honestly, it’s depressing, a not so gentle preview of what your life could be in a mere seventy or so years.
Nurses swathed in their signature cerulean scrubs rush by, leaving a nauseating trail of antiseptic and too much hand sanitizer. Harsh wet coughing and raspy breathing seems to echo throughout the fluorescent hallways. I cringe inwardly, as I try not to run outside and escape the overwhelming smells and sounds of impending death. An elderly lady in a wheelchair rolls her way toward me. Her white hair is almost gone, leaving behind a clear view of her freckled skull. She smiles, unveiling teeth that have, remarkably, remained very straight and very white. I smile back tentatively, not quite sure if she is actually looking at me.
“Ms. Weathers, please let’s go to lunch now.” One of the blue swathed nurses grabs the chair firmly, turning it away from me. She looks apologetically at me, before wheeling the smiling lady away. I know that I have to move further inside to see her, but holding my breath is making my head start to spin. I inhale quickly trying to out breath the ripe air. Another nurse, this one dressed in a baby pink littered with some cartoon shaped animal beckons me to follow her. Inconspicuously I try to cover my face with my hair as the white lighting is unflattering. Not that the old people would care. The room I enter is gray. White light crawls in around the sides of the closed blinds. I move toward the mound in the pile of white sheets, forming words before I have to say them. “Hi, grandma.”