Not Going Home by Patrick Prinsloo

Not Going Home

They say they need the bed. The friendly nurse from Nigeria says I’ve had enough of the Queen’s money (God save Her) and that I should go – anyway they need the bed and so it’s bye bye baby (baby goodbye), it’s time to go home.

Home? Do they know what it’s like at home – mould in the rooms, ceiling collapsing in the underused bathroom, a teenage boy upstairs (the woman says he’s my son but that’s a lie), bailiffs knocking at the door. And thirteen year old Mandy from over the fence asking for weekly payments or she’ll go to the cops.

Here it’s clean, efficient, hot water, three meals a day; people don’t shout, swear, spit, all the time. There’s politeness even though no respect for the likes of me.

The man in bed 28 (healthy, non-smoker, monied, attractive and friendly young wife, two squeaky clean kids) has a heart transplant (triple, he says, proudly) booked for early tomorrow morning. That gives him an extra three months of hospital care.

Tonight I will swap the beds around. I could use a new heart. And not go home.

©Patrick Prinsloo


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