This 99 word piece was written in response to the Carrot Ranch’s weekly challenge with the prompt of ‘ write a story about an open door’. My immediate thoughts went to this experience. Earlier this week, my wife and I visited my 99-year-old Dad in a nursing home interstate because they’d advised us that his time on this mortal coil may be ending. When we got there, most of his marbles were still rattling around in his head and he was as cantankerous as always but up for a laugh. But it was also clear he didn’t want to carry on any more and was quite open about it with me and my sisters and we told him that was his choice. Except it isn’t.
A nurse flits into Dad’s room, mock scolds him for barely touching his breakfast, and flits out again, ‘Were you born in a bloody tent?’ he calls after her, which means she hasn’t shut the door behind her. Again! I ask him how he is. His face sags, he looks me in the eye, and says ‘I’m buggered*, son’ and I know he’s decided he’s had enough and just wants to be left alone to leave this world on his own terms. But the nurse doesn’t want that happening on her shift, so she keeps leaving the door open.
* buggered – Australian slang for ‘finished, exhausted, dead tired’