Just scraped together a sad scene:
Her room was darkened with aging photos layered on top of each other, blanketing the walls with color and the flesh of a girl who no longer existed. A ghost.
She reached from her bed and traced her fingers over her favorite: a twenty-something version of her posing with a rose. Her fire engine lips matched the flower’s hue. A huge smile was spread across her face, her brown eyes squinted happily.
“Ms. Jennings?” called the nurse, who liked to be called Eliza. She tapped on the door as she entered the room.
“Why knock if you’re just going to walk straight in?” the old woman grumbled.
“To be polite, I suppose,” she smiled. “I could just do it unannounced next time.”
“Do what you like.”
“I have your meds.”
“I don’t want them.”
Eliza continued smiling, but her eyes darkened a little as she sat on the chair by the woman’s bed. “Come on, Ms. Jennings. We have this fight every day and every day you end up obliging. Let’s skip all that. It’s your birthday, you know.”
“I don’t have birthdays anymore.”
“Look at me,” she commanded, rolling her eyes. “I don’t need any more birthdays.”
“I think you look lovely for your age.”
“For my age,” she scoffed.
“Are you going to join us all for dinner, tonight?” the nurse continued smiling, hoping for a way to change the subject.
“No reason to.”
“No reason not to.”
“I used to be beautiful, you know.”
“Yes, I see. And you told me.”
“I told you that I made thousands modeling? And all the men of Los Angeles begged me for just one date?”
“Yes and yes.”
“I wasn’t like you,” she continued. “I was gorgeous. Everyone wanted to be around me.”
Eliza’s smile finally gave up and dropped to a frown. “That wasn’t very nice, Ms. Jennings.”
“Truth is always better than fiction.”
“That depends on the person’s version of truth.”
The old woman fixed her wrinkled eyes on the old photos. “Put some lipstick on, Eliza. You look hideous.”
Eliza stood and tried to unclench her jaw as she took out a vial of two yellow pills. “Are you expecting any visitors this year?”
Ms. Jennings looked up at her with a vacant, hazy expression. Her skin wrinkled around her creased eyes. “What do you think?”
Eliza silently handed her the medication. Ms. Jennings glared at the young woman beside her as she drank them down, pill by pill.
“Happy birthday, Ms. Jennings,” Eliza tried her best to sound perky as she made her way toward the door.
“I don’t have birthdays, anymore.”
“I was beautiful, you know. Look at those photos.”
Not sure if it’s enough to turn into a short story or not, but just needed to write that scene out and see what happens 🙂 Let me know what you all think!