Finding Something Forgotten
Pepper Baiij did not mind her job at Trinity Gardens Retirement Community. Most of the time, the nights were uneventful. She walked the hallways of the vast building and put notices on the bulletin boards. She performed a variety of clerical tasks. Sometimes a resident called her, often for a minor problem such as replacing a dying smoke alarm battery or opening a medication bottle. There were occasions when a resident didn’t make it to the toilet in time, and sometimes there were genuine emergencies.
Pepper tended to have a fair amount of downtime, and she liked it that way. She knew that her family was disappointed in her for having a job with so little status, but the job had a decent salary and perks beyond insurance benefits. One of Pepper’s favorite perks was access to the wellness center with its therapy pool.
Since Pepper worked nights, there was rarely anyone else in the wellness center when she arrived. She could play her CDs and work out in the warm water of the pool, dreaming about the stories she was writing or envisioning the exciting life that she’d never have.
Tonight, Pepper’s chosen CD was Red Zone Terminal by Mainline, one of her longtime favorite bands. She had once kept a close watch on all things Mainline, but over the years her attention became focused on the struggles of daily life, and, recently, on the resurgence of her dreamland drama with troubled actor Kris Rooiakker who had more than once promised her the moon and delivered an emotional black hole.
Pepper showered and dressed in scrubs for her shift. Kris kept invading her thoughts, but she decided to ignore him. When she finished her first set of rounds, which were, fortunately, uneventful, she decided to see what Mainline was up to these days. It had been a while since she’d checked on her old favorite band. Perhaps they had a new album coming out. Perhaps she’d finally take her now-grown children to see them.
Pepper’s search led to a picture of Mainline’s founder, Gerry Clifford. She was astounded by his appearance. At sixty-two years old, she didn’t expect him to look like the sweet-faced young man barely out of his teens whose picture she’d first seen back in the 1970s, but Gerry had aged drastically. He looked like a man in his eighties.
Delving deeper, Pepper discovered the reason for Gerry’s startling alteration. She wanted to cry, but the tears seemed to stick in her throat. She felt as if she might vomit. With trembling fingers, she dialed her son Quetzalcoatl’s number. Quetz tended to keep late hours, and if he were asleep, he wouldn’t notice the phone.
Quetzalcoatl was up playing video games and answered on the second ring.
“Hey, Ma, what’s up?” he asked.
Sorrow is a song written by David Gilmour and performed by Pink Floyd. It appears on the band’s 1987 album “A Momentary Lapse of Reason.”
Submitted to https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/ on 9 February 2021 for the Start your story with a major news event breaking — one that will change the world forever prompt. This chapter was also inspired by the Write about an elderly character who was part of a historic movement years ago and Write about a child witnessing a major historical event prompt.
About the Story
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It seems to me that she has found a job which is right for her - which is both rare and wonderful.
This aspect of Pepper is based on my real-life experiences working in a retirement community. I had been working in the long-term care center of the community and neither my back nor my mental health was faring well. I had an opportunity to take some substitute shifts in the independent living area and when a permanent position opened up, I applied. When I told my family that I had finally found a job that I could stick with, my father said "well, we'll have to see about that" because the position, while reasonably well-paid, wasn't as lucrative as he felt it should be, and it lacked prestige. I have always been a disappointment to my family.Delete