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05 December 2012 @ 12:57 am
Wheelchairs And Bed Sheets - Oneshot  
Title: Wheelchairs and Bed Sheets
Author: muohcu_t
Length: Oneshot (2 627 words)
Parings: None
Rating: PG
Genre: Slice of life, general
Warnings: Unbetaed, character death.
Disclaimer: I own only the plot. I make no money of this writing and I only do this for fun. Tatah~~
Summary: Aiba Masaki found himself living his last chapter in life in a nursing home.
Notes: Based on my experiences on cleaning at a nursing home this summer and a lot of imagination.

 

Aiba Masaki sat in his wheelchair as he was being taken to the kitchen. It was half past 8 in the morning and he had just been to the toilet with some help from the nurse that had woken him up. It was time for breakfast, just like exactly 24 hours ago. It just seemed like a moment ago since he ate his dinner yesterday and now it was time for breakfast. Again.

That was the life inside the nursing home. He woke up, went to the bathroom, got some breakfast, watched TV/took a nap (whatever made time move faster, which really depended on his mood), ate some lunch, napped, ate dinner and then went to sleep again. Everything was the same for the 89-year-old man. Sometimes between breakfast and lunch, he was allowed to go outside on the terrace and enjoy some fresh air for a while, but only if the weather allowed it.

By the breakfast tables were only four other patients eating. Aiba knew them all to some extent. He had heard the nurses talk to them and he had heard them respond in their own grumpy way.

Matsumoto Jun was the one who always sat across from him. His thick, white eyebrows always staring at Aiba, yet Aiba never met the other man’s gaze (he thought so at least. His sight wasn’t the best these days). Matsumoto didn’t sit in a wheelchair. No, Matsumoto Jun was actually very healthy, compared to the rest of the lot. He could walk without walking sticks and didn’t even need anyone to accompany him to the bathroom. Matsumoto was indeed very healthy. The reason why he was at a nursing home and not at his own home was because he seemed to have become very forgetful, or he wasn’t always able to communicate for himself. He had some form of dementia and seemed to be losing himself more for each day that passed by. But oh well. Matsumoto had already lived a life, so why not spend his last years inside a nursing home with the same daily routines every day?

At the next table sat the real angry old man, Ninomiya Kazunari. He seemed quite cute and a young looking grandpa, but in reality he was always yelling and muttering curse words at the nurses, demanding them to bring him cigarettes. He too sat in a wheel chair, just as Aiba did, but Ninomiya had more strength than what Aiba had. While Aiba had to be fed by the nurse, Ninomiya was able to pick up his spoon for his miso soup. He did sometimes seem to have troubles lifting his chopsticks, though, and sometimes he would throw them at the nurses in frustration, making the nurses take him away back to his room. Today, though, Ninomiya seemed to be having a good day and was only muttering a few curse words at his “dry and boring” breakfast.

That might be because across from him sat the smiling old man Ohno Satoshi. Ohno always seemed happy. He always had that satisfied smile on his face, no matter how sad the weather was outside. He didn’t say much, mostly communicating by nodding or shaking his head. Though, Aiba knew he could talk. Sometimes his son and his children would come and visit him and Ohno would actually answer in words. Aiba never heard what he said as Ohno spoke so lowly. Still, Aiba liked Ohno. He was older than Aiba by a few years, but he seemed to walk just fine on his own, despite being a bit slow while using a walker.

Lastly on the table at the far end was the lone eater Sakurai Sho. Aiba had heard the nurses speak of great things about him, such as him being a politician and achieving a lot of followers (Aiba might have voted for him sometime; he just couldn’t seem to remember if he really did). Now, though, Sakurai had reduced to being this old man who never understood anything. He needed someone to assure him all the time that he was still alive and was being watched over. He might not need a wheelchair, but he had to constantly have a nurse around him for he feared being alone.

All this Aiba had learned by listening to the nurses talk between them, since they thought he couldn’t hear or understand what they said.

The nurse that had been feeding him gave him the final spoon of whatever porridge they had managed to make him. “There, Aiba-san. That was the last of it. Are you thirsty?” she asked with a smile. She seemed quite young, maybe in her twenties. A very cute girl, Aiba thought, and she always seemed happy. Well, it was her job anyway, to make sure that people like Aiba died contently.

Aiba shook his head. The truth was he only wanted to sleep. Lately he had been tired, and wasn’t in the mood for anything. The nurses had definitely noticed his absent smile he usually had (even though he wasn’t constantly smiling like Ohno-san anymore, he usually was quite pleased by the help he got). So the nurses had finally gone against his will, pretending they didn’t hear him properly, and taken him out of his room, forcing him to eat breakfast with everyone else again. Aiba had to admit it was quite nice getting some different air again, but in the end he was just so tired.

“Let’s get you to the living room, alright? Where we can sit and watch some TV while you drink your coffee, Aiba-san,” the young nurse said. Aiba hadn’t even noticed that she had disappeared and come back again with coffee and milk in a cup with a lid that made it easier for Aiba to drink it without making a mess. Aiba sighed, thinking it really was unnecessary of the nurse to pretend she didn’t listen or notice he didn’t want anything to drink.

The nurse grabbed his wheelchair and took him away from the kitchen after cleaning him up. Then she placed him in front of the TV when they came to the living room. Aiba noticed the others were there already. Matsumoto-san sat in one of the couches, talking lowly with one of the nurses. Aiba knew he was struggling slightly with his speech, but Aiba knew the nurse was patient and waited for Matsumoto-san to finish his speech. In one of the armchairs sat Sakurai-san, but another nurse was not so far away from him. He was silent, only occasionally asking the nurse what time it was and if she still was there with him.

Aiba hadn’t noticed Ohno-san or Ninomiya-san though. Aiba thought that they had probably been allowed to go back to their rooms. Or maybe Ohno-san was lying in his own bed with Ninomiya-san sitting by his bed in his wheelchair, mumbling his complaints to the sleeping man on the bed. At least that was what Aiba had heard the nurses giggling between them. “Those two are such cute old friends,” the nurses usually said. Well, it would be nice to have friends, Aiba supposed.

Aiba, unlike Matsumoto-san (who still thought he would be going home one of these days), had realized a long time ago that he had indeed been forgotten and left behind by his healthier friends. Well, there weren’t many of them alive anymore. Most of them had died when he started reaching his 80s. In the end he was left alone with only his family as friends. Soon enough he couldn’t trouble them anymore either. His son had a family of his own and so did his daughter. Even their sons and daughters had gotten children. Aiba was already a great-grandfather.

Somehow Aiba hoped that he wouldn’t become a great-great-grandfather.

Aiba picked up the cup his nurse had left him by the table. His nurse had wandered off somewhere, leaving Aiba in the care of the remaining nurses in there. Sakurai-san’s nurse decided to switch the channel to some interior program which Aiba had no interest in watching. He didn’t say anything, though. First of all he didn’t have such a strong voice. Second of all he was tired, so he decided the nurses obviously didn’t care anymore if he took a nap inside his room in his bed or in the living room in his wheelchair.

He wasn’t woken up again before it was time for lunch, but Aiba had refused to eat. The nurses had taken him to the kitchen, but he had only frowned at the food, and after a while where the nurses had tried to make him eat another spoonful of something crushed into some kind of porridge they finally gave up on feeding him, only giving him his medicine.

“Do you want to go to your room?” another nurse asked. This nurse was older, more experienced, so her smile seemed to genuinely care about Aiba’s health and not just smile politely as if she worked at the local supermarket. Aiba only nodded and he was taken away again to his room.

His room was small, or it seemed small. The wheelchair took a lot of the space along with the bed. It was a special bed where you could adjust the height either end of the bed. Other than the bed and the wheelchair, there was a closet in the corner of the room and a small table by his bed, mostly used by the nurses rather than Aiba himself.

After Aiba had been helped into bed and getting some woollen blanket covering him, the nurse told him to sleep well before leaving Aiba alone in his room.

Aiba would have liked to immediately fall asleep, but he ended up lying and staring at the ceiling for some time. He thought it must be nice having someone sit by his bed, even if it was in a wheelchair. Sometimes he thought he could still hear his wife’s voice ringing somewhere in the air, but she was long gone, and Aiba knew that. He was just getting old, so old.

He slept until the nurse brought in dinner for him. They probably didn’t bother with getting him in a wheelchair anymore. He had been up enough for the day. After dinner it was time for bed anyway. Why bother with moving Aiba more than necessary? There was nothing new to see in the kitchen anyway. Maybe Sakurai-san had been taken to his room as well, but that wasn’t really new anyway. Just like it wasn’t really new that Aiba was eating his dinner in his room, the nurse feeding him.

“How have you been today, Aiba-san?” the nurse politely asked after cleaning up the mess that was left of dinner around his mouth. Aiba didn’t answer, pretending he didn’t hear her. The nurse, though, was unaffected. “The weather today was great, wasn’t it? There hasn’t been any sun, but at least there wasn’t as much wind as it was the day before,” she continued, probably more to drown the silence.

She talked to him for some more, but Aiba didn’t listen. He wasn’t even looking at her, only staring outside the window. It was getting dark now, and he felt tired. It was definitely bedtime as in ‘time-to-sleep-for-more-than-four-hours-in-a-bed’. The nurse understood this as well, helped him with preparing for bed and then left after bidding him goodnight.

Aiba lied awake. He felt restless, yet at the same time so worn out, like butter scraped over too much bread. It was as if he was waiting for something, and he knew very well what that something was. After 89 years of life he had realized that he was indeed in his last chapter of life, and every day he felt death coming closer, breathing behind his neck. Yet, he still found himself living and restless and not entering the eternal sleep as he was and had been ready for quite some time now.

“Maybe,” Aiba thought. “Maybe I won’t wake up tomorrow.”

And Aiba closed his eyes and sighed silently.

-----

Matsumoto Jun woke up the next morning finding himself in an unfamiliar bed. He couldn’t recall how he had gotten there, but he must have gotten there somehow or someway. It was obvious he wasn’t kidnapped, at least. The room seemed quite nice. There was even some furniture from his own house for some reason he couldn’t recall. Maybe he had moved? But his house had been so nice. He had bought it with his wife when she was still alive.

There was a knock on his door and he spoke up, telling them to come in. Though, the visitor didn’t seem to have heard him, since they knocked once again. “Come in!” Jun yelled louder than last time, and this time the door did open. In came a nurse, wearing her white uniform and bringing a cup of what seemed to be green tea.

“Are you awake, Matsumoto-san?” she asked with a smile setting down the cup on the nightstand. Jun sat up a bit and smiled at her. “Oh, yes, thank you, nurse. But could you please tell me where I am?” he asked as he carefully grabbed his cup and brought it closer to his face before he blew on the hot tea. “You are at the nursing home, Matsumoto-san. You’ve been here for quite some time,” she said, still smiling. “Oh, really? Hmm,” Jun wondered.

They chatted for some more; the nurse picking out his outfit for him, joking that all the ladies would definitely fall for such a fashionable man. After that she left him in the bathroom so he could get ready for breakfast. He washed his face and got dressed before he got out of his room, entering an unfamiliar hallway. Luckily another nurse came up to him and guided him to the kitchen area, for he could honestly not remember the way. He remembered he had been in that hallway before, but he couldn’t remember which way led where.

In the end he came to the kitchen. There sat some people he couldn’t quite recall the names of. He knew the calm, smiling man was called something with ‘O’, but he definitely couldn’t remember who the other two were at all.

But the kitchen seemed a bit empty, he realized as he sat down on his seat. He felt there should have been a presence across from him, but there sat no man, and there wasn’t even a chair. As he ate more of his lovely breakfast, he realized it wasn’t right. So he asked some nurse if there wasn’t supposed to be someone there.

“Oh, you mean Aiba-san?” the nurse smiled stiffly. “It was time for him to go home, so he went,” she said.

“Oh,” Jun replied, not really knowing why he felt slightly disappointed. He didn’t have the time to ask, though, before a shout from the next table interrupted his thoughts. “She means he’s dead! That Aiba-san is dead!” the man in a wheelchair shouted angrily. He flipped his bowl of soup so it splattered across the table, making a mess on both him and that ‘O’-san. The nurses were quick to clean them and take the noisy old man away, though. Soon enough the breakfast was once again quiet and calm, but for ‘O’-san who seemed to be frowning slightly.

Jun looked across the table at the empty spot and thought that Aiba-san must have been a good man since Jun could still feel somewhat warmth in that name. “God bless his soul and rest in peace,” Jun thought before he continued eating his breakfast in peace, thinking he was probably going home later that day.



Author’s notes:

My first arashi-oneshot I finished (I have started on several oneshots xD)!

So, last summer I worked on this nursing home where I helped around a bit with cleaning and breakfast and stuff. I felt really intrigued by the strange atmosphere there…

I started this fic with the setting and the characters. I really didn’t have a plot to go from (except that Aiba would die…), so this fic does seem a bit hollow and lacking a real ground to stand on, but somehow I think this fic reflects the atmosphere of that nursing home I was working at. Mind you, though, that I don’t know how the Japanese nursing homes are at all! As I said; this is based off of my experiences with the small nursing home around my home town.

Other than that; I did actually finish this last summer and left it forgotten for a while.


 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: soup - Northern Patriarch
 
 
 
ministryofbeesministryofbees on December 5th, 2012 10:56 am (UTC)
I really like this, it's different from other fics i read. Poor Aiba tho.

Thanks a whole bunch!
muohcu_tmuohcu_t on December 5th, 2012 01:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading and commenting :)
Poor Aiba indeed, though it was his time, I guess.
jutaaaajutaaaa on December 5th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
sad but a very good story .. I loved it.. well done girl~!!
thanks for sharing ^.^
muohcu_tmuohcu_t on December 5th, 2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading and commenting
:D
24iza_run24iza_run on December 5th, 2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
This is great. Somehow I can feel the story. It's sad to die alone like that but at least Aiba finally able to 'rest'. I like it when you include the other four members as well ^^
Thank You SO much for this!
muohcu_tmuohcu_t on December 5th, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading and for such a nice comment! :)
Unfortunately, this is how many people end up going :c
I had the most fun imagining how they would all turn out when old x)
Thank you again!