Sunday, March 27, 2011

The ladies' man

Most of us probably don't want to think about the sex lives of old people. We would probably feel most comfortable if sex just ended completely, at say, fifty. That way nobody has any horrible visuals to contend with.

We have a maintenance man on the site named Casey. Actually, Casey is his surname; I've no idea what his first name is, but most of the residents call him Young Mr Casey, so I assume that is why. Casey changes light bulbs, paints the common areas, hangs wallpaper and so on. He is usually the person who lays new carpet in an apartment when it is sold, too. Casey is very young, probably only a couple of years out of school, and he has sandy blond hair and a ready smile. He's probably what most teenagers would consider a total hunk, and his vague resemblance to Brad Pitt is a good part of it.

Casey's girlfriend works with the local council and does things like ferry residents to doctor's appointments, and so on. Often it's just a glorified taxi service to take the residents shopping. Some days she arrives to see Casey and hand him a meal from home, etc. They seemed the typical cute young couple to me and very much in love.

The other morning I took breakfast into Nola's room. Nola is a tiny little lady, very sombre, and rarely says anything to anyone, unless it is to answer their questions with as few words as possible. She's probably about eighty years old. We usually knock loudly (thump on the door is more accurate) because the residents are often quite deaf. We then march straight in calling their names or simply yelling out that it's breakfast time. But when I got to Nola's room, the door was slightly ajar, so I didn't need to knock. I pushed it forward, and heard an almighty huffing and puffing noise coming from her bedroom. Ok, I thought, she's having trouble pulling up her stockings? How should I know? But as I pushed her bedroom door ajar there was Casey on top of Nola, both of them naked, Casey so busy thrusting that neither of them had seen me.

What the hell do I do now? I certainly wasn't going to leave her breakfast tray there. I didn't want Casey to know what I had seen. I backed out of her apartment and almost tripped backwards. The milk jug and teapot on her tray spilled everywhere, onto her toast and cereal bowl. I had tea dripping down the front of my apron and any second it was going to soak through the fabric and into my shirt.

Back in the kitchen I was sweating and stressed out to high heaven. I told Alison I'd accidentally spilled Nola's breakfast and that I would remake it for her in a little while because she was still in bed. I started to try and figure out what to tell the manager. I mean, Nola may be a grown adult, but don't I still have some duty to say something when a resident has been abused? And what would happen to Casey? Did I really want him to end up in prison or something? I decided to ask a friend's advice when my shift finished. I made Nola's breakfast tray up, delayed as long as I could, then asked a carer to take it to her room about an hour later.

At lunchtime, I tried not to look at Nola at all. I put the dinner plate in front of her without a word and left the dining room quickly. But as I went to pour the tea, she was chatting amiably with the others at her table, something I had never seen her do before, ever. She looked up at me and positively beamed. "Thank you so much for the late breakfast, Catherine. I'm afraid I slept rather late this morning!" And she was giggling like a schoolgirl.

Thankfully I will not have to share with the manager, but I am left with scars on my retina, images that will just not go away.

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