A woman stepped slowly out of a room, eyes locked somewhere far ahead, on a place she'd never reach. I could have been a decoration, unseen and dismissed. Her hair was done up in a bun, but the pins that held it in place had come loose, and long, silken strands ran down her leathery and pale face and neck. Her floral print nightgown was stained brown on the chest from old coffee.
The door behind had locked when it closed, to prevent people leaving. I banged on it, but no one came. A golden plaque with silver letters to my right read "Memory Lane." White and baby blue walls had been painted recently, and the acrid smell lingered.
I walked deeper into the facility looking for an escape. I found a social room, bare except for the small plastic trees and ferns that dotted the room's perimeter. Five men and women on plush couches and chairs watched a flickering TV playing I Love Lucy. Each wore a faded and stained nightgown like the first woman, and each was stone silent as a black-and-white Desi Arnaz crooned through.