It belongs to my duties to visit Mrs Hunter. Two or three times a week I knock on her door and after a few steps in, through a short corridor, I usually detect her on her bed, lying on her stomach, her back turned towards me. Looks awkward, the way she lies there, her head quite often pressed against the sideboard of her bed. I move around her bed then, making small noises to find out if she is really asleep, or just dozing the hours away. More often than not then she tries to sit up promptly, having a hard time though, with getting up. Her body is heavy and she hasn´t enough strength left to get up just like that. One might call her corpulent, but in my reality she is quite fragile.
I am her visitor. Visitors are important, she has told me once, there aren’t many of them, and the days are long and empty at the home. Mrs Hunter has a hard time to find the words she is looking for, something went astray in her brain, a time before I got to know her. But she tries hard, and with enough time and patience on my side, she manages to communicate. Most of the time Mrs Hunter talks about everyday moments in her everyday life at the home.
The two dinner sausages had been so excellent, that she had to keep one of them for later, she said. She had rolled the sausage into a napkin to take it back into her room. But I got caught, she said. The nurse had been very loud and angry, she said.
Sometimes she tells about things that are outside of the reality I know. Please don’t sit on the hedgehog, she says, as I get down to sit besides her, on the edge of her bed, and I think: to sit on a hedgehog could be quite painful.
One day I was sitting in the entrance area of the home, just a bit outside, taking a smoke.
Mrs. Hunter passed by, obviously with the intention to go for a walk. She had no jacket on, and it was a cold day. I didn´t want to stop her in her tracks right then. A short while later on I went after her. Soon enough I saw her slowly progressing on the sidewalk.
I caught up with Mrs. Hunter, looked into her face, and saw that she was desperate. I want to go home, Mrs. Hunter said. She didn´t object when I asked her to turn back. She just started crying. She cried all the way back to the home, and she went on crying in her room. Her roommate had her eyes closed. Her eyes seemed to be always closed these days.
In the evening, as I walked by the common room, I saw Mrs. Hunter again, her body turned towards the door. Her face was more sad than usual. I was told that she was not supposed to go back to her room. Her roommate just had died, and Mrs. Hunter had to wait until her body was picked up by an undertaker. Two ours later, on my way home, I saw Mrs. Hunter, from outside in the dark, through a big windowpane. She was still sitting in the common room, now all alone. Everybody else safely tucked up in their beds.
But for Mrs Hunter there was no place to go now, a dead body still occupying her room.