Ebony and Frank: 2

Ebony watched the nurse as if there was nothing more to do than watch the nurse. The middle-aged woman was doing her routine rounds. When she happened upon Eb’s way, she stood blocking the way. ‘Put me to work.’
‘I’m sorry, what?’
‘Put me to work. Give me something to do. Anything. Anything at all. I’ll even clean the bed pans.’
‘We haven’t got bed pans in years, love.’ The laughter echoed.
Ebony certainly didn’t think any of this was funny. ‘I’m going mad here, Shivone. Help me out.’
Shivone shook her head. ‘You know it’s against the policy to let our residents do our work, Eb. You know that.’ Shivone pushed past her. ‘I’ve told you that time and again.’
‘Please,’ Ebony held her by her arm. ‘I’m not a resident really, am I? I have all my senses.’ When Shivone gave her a look, Eb felt defeated. She clicked her tongue. ‘Oh, you know what I mean. At least I can move and hold a conversation!’
‘Oh, alright. Go see how you can help old lady Judd over there. She hasn’t been feeling terrific lately and no one comes to visit her anymore unless there is a problem. She is a little lonely.’
Ebony turned to see the 90 year old Hillary laying still as a statue on her bed. ‘Why don’t her people come?’ It wasn’t an accusing question.  She just couldn’t mask her own longing for someone, anyone to visit her. 
Shivone shrugged. ‘Too busy.’ She walked away, shaking her head as Eb pondered the short reply. ‘Everybody is too damn busy these days.’
Eb turned and walked her way to Hilllary’s bed. Hillary suffered bouts of dementia, and the only thing she seemed to ever really love doing was have a book read to her as she was almost clinically blind. The word on the vine was, Hillary once used to be a writer. That’s where her fortune was said to have been made. H.L.Judd. Ebony couldn’t recall if she ever read any of her books. 
She grabbed the Hungry Caterpillar book from Hillary’s side table, settled herself down on the armchair and opened the book. ‘I’m going to read you a book, okay, Hillary?’
The woman looked at her with barely a smile, prompting Eb to think, at least you have days where you’re not lonely. ‘The Hungry Caterpillar…’ She began, fighting a knot in her throat from forming. She wasn’t going to do it, pity herself. Not here.

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