The Big Issue has just published Visiting George, about visiting a neighbour in a nursing home earlier this year. The non-fiction story is part of The Big Issue Christmas Edition, which features a short piece of fiction by Scottish author Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting).
Here’s an extract from Visiting George:
A young bloke bought George’s old home, a builder apparently. I expect the house will be gutted from the inside and spruced up on the outside. The high timber fence might come down. Maybe there will be a garden and a picket fence at the front instead of pebbles and concrete and garden gnomes. The walls with the mismatching wall paper will be pulled down, the floors with the odd carpets ripped up. There will be a big skip out on the street.
On a sunny Wednesday I drive to the nursing home, 15 minutes away. I hear voices. A man moaning. I glimpse shrunken bodies in big beds. I smell disenfectant.
George is in his room, sitting up in a chair, trying to spoon sliced fruit into his mouth. He grins and says g’day.
The Big Issue Christmas Edition (Number 447) is available from street vendors.
RIP George Hayes February 1952 to November 2013.