Saturday, November 24, 2012

Escape Down Memory Lane-Part 6: Aftermath

The following story is true. Only names of people and places have been changed.

Part 6: Aftermath

8:35 PM
Karen’s Backdoor Neighbor’s House

“Trick or Treat!”
Though Halloween still loomed a good three weeks distant, a more appropriate greeting could not have been heralded to Karen’s backdoor neighbor. While the young mother questioned Karen on how in the world she showed up in Somersville from seemingly out-of-nowhere, Karen boastfully related her tale of escape.
Though basking in her own glory, Karen did at least have the state of mind to warn her friend to stay away from the phone. Soon the neighbor, her inquisitive six-year-old daughter, and Karen tramped across properties so Karen could get help opening her stubborn Hide-a-Key.
With Karen safely in her home, and—more importantly—with a captive audience, she continued to divulge more of her plot while inspecting the home to ensure that everything was in proper order—or, in her case, disorder. Karen’s other neighbor intuitively stopped by Karen’s home after her business at the local church. She swallowed the shocking news with a laudable calmness.
A little less than two hours later, the home that had been relatively vacant for the past month, suddenly found itself swamped by neighbors and—thanks to an anonymous tip—most of the Somersville police force, an officer from the North Lawndale’s police force, Karen’s bishop, and even an ambulance that Summit Grove had sent as a precaution.

After eight miles of travel and nearly three hours of absence, Karen had been caught.

In this tumultuous setting the conglomerated group of individuals consulted with each other to see what actions to take with regards to their ward. While engaged in this process, all ignored Karen’s lively opposition to her deportation–though they offered the courtesy of at least feigning interest in what she said.

Karen must have been tempted at this point to produce the final item in her preciously cargoed packages, which she saved in the event that a Summit Grove employee caught her in the act of escape. The item, guarded closer than a might be a pocket Constitution, was a poster of the resident rights, on a copy of which, Karen’s “hot fingers” highlighted the most pertinent statutes: “The resident has the right to be free from restraint, interference … be treated with consideration, respect, and full recognition of his/her dignity and individuality including privacy in treatment … and has the opportunity to participate in, and refuse treatment.”

Confronted by a condescending police officer, however, Karen did not invoke her listed Summit Grove rights. Instead, she made a claim towards humanity. Walking up to him with a calmness betraying her usual spirited countenance, she declared, “You might think I’m crazy, but I am just as sane as the next person.”

Nodding at her statement without a shred of belief, the policeman soon insisted that Karen return to Summit Grove that night. Perhaps the scene might have been uglier had not her bishop offered Karen a ride back in his truck with some classic country music and the promise of a Root Beer Shake en route.

Ever since finding the jumbled heap of wheelchair outside the window, Tracy and the aides considered dozens of worse case scenarios dealing with Karen’s fate. So it was with great relief that she and the staff of Memory Lane welcomed Karen back to the familiar wing. Capping her triumphant re-entry to confinement, Karen strolled through the main entrance and crowed: “Did you miss me?!”

No one would rest, least of all Karen, until she showed them every detail of her intricate plan of escape. Tracy grinned through the whole presentation, happier than anything about the fact that no harm had come to their dear, eccentric Karen on her grand excursion.

The only thing missing from the elaborate description of the escape? With fierce—though perhaps unwarranted—loyalty, Karen refused to even hint at the participation of her precious inside gal accomplice. And because of the deficient nature of the memory of Karen’s conspirator, even she did not know about her own participation in the adventure—leaving Karen the sole proprietor of that knowledge.

After a couple of days everything returned to normal in the Memory Lane wing of the Summit Grove Nursing Center. Well, as “normal” as anything is in regards to Karen. That state of normal lasted little more than a week before Summit Grove reviewed Karen’s physical and mental stability and concluded, without even needing Karen to show them a pinched poster of the their own statutes, that she had no reason to stay any longer.

The whole shift gathered at the main entrance to give an affectionate farewell to a bittersweet Karen, who considered herself almost part of the family. Still, it was with little regret that, cradling some of her possessions while well-meaning neighbors hauled her veritable horde of other boxes, she strolled, undeterred, through the main entrance of the Memory Lane Unit.

Among the many things pilfered from Memory Lane perhaps the most treasured were the vibrant memories of her stay there.


20 October 2012
2:30 PM
Karen’s Home

The neighbors sighed and shook their heads with a satisfied huff, watching Karen scramble on top of her roof from a rickety ladder, pulling out length upon length of tangled Christmas lights.

Eccentric? Yes. Quirky? Definitely. Crazy? Just as much as the next person.

Welcome? Undoubtedly.

©2012 Marty Reeder