Tuesday, 19 March 2013

323: Scandal

Enid had a baby girl and that was all it took.  One quick fumble, one sticky patch, one naive lass and one small town united in its determination she should pay for straying from God’s path.  One randy boy earned his spurs, one baby never saw her mother and one Enid spent 43 years locked away.

And then came the scandal.

When Enid was 62 years old, the asylum she had lived in for most of her adult life was closed down.  No longer called an asylum by then and renamed to the pleasanter Meadowvale Lodge, Enid knew it to be her only home.  Her life was simple, protected from harm and controlled whether she was awake or sleeping.

Some of the inmates, or patients, or residents, had jobs to keep them busy.  Enid earned pocket money by collecting flowers from the garden and arranging them in a vase outside matron’s room.  For extra pennies, she planted bulbs in spring and fed fatballs to the birds in winter.  Otherwise, Enid was unable to do much at all beyond simple, basic self-care.

Almost nobody from Meadowvale went to live with their family after it closed.  Then again, almost nobody received any visits from family when it was still open.  Most residents moved into other homes.  They were housed in an apparently random way, paying no heed to fragile friendships, rare sibling pairings or whether anyone had any preferences at all.  Nobody was asked.  Nobody would really have known how to answer.

Enid moved to sheltered accommodation and was encouraged to enjoy her new freedom.  She was now free to use electronic gadgets she didn't understand, to eat food she was unable to shop for or cook, to explore a town full of streets she didn't recognize, to manage her pension in a bank account she couldn't access and to feel cold and alone and unloved.

She never found out her daughter’s name and sometimes Enid wasn’t sure if there ever had been a baby at all.  But there must have been because if there wasn't one, why did Father and Mother insist she went to Meadowvale in the first place.

No comments:

Post a Comment