“Let’s go,” he says, looking at the red in the western sky.
“Where?” She smiles up at him. “It’s too late, anyway. And I’m not keen to go back”
They had planned to leave before lunch, but somehow the shaded spot under the tree kept them captive through the hot afternoon. Now, as he fastens his shoes, she’s in that late-afternoon lazy mood some summer days make possible.
“They’ll be following us. If we stay, we can expect visitors.” It’s more than a threat than a fact. She knows they will soon be looking all over. Helicopters and police patrols. Maybe even dogs. In these troubled times, everybody always expects the worst.
“We’ll stay. If they find us, we’ll say we are sorry. They can’t very well lock us up for being here. We’re grown-ups, for goodness’ sakes! And…they shouldn’t have left the door open. It was their mistake, not ours.”
“May I remind you,” he sighs as he sits down again, “about our past? They’re still trying to figure you out and my record isn’t something to boast about either. We’ll be on the evening news, I’m sure.”
She giggles softly as she reaches for his hand. Being out here, free, with him, is something she dreamed about for such a long time.
“Let’s surprise them and go back ourselves. They won’t expect that. Not at all.”
A few minutes later, Matron looks up in surprise when the two walk in, hand in hand.
“You two had a good afternoon?”
“Yes, Ma’m,” they choir dutifully.
Down the long corridor they go; he to 4D and she next door to 4E.
Matron waits until the doors click closed, sighs and sits down. She calls the nurse over for a cup of tea. “It’s a lonely life, living in an institution like they do. Two crazy old pensioners without families… Dementia isn’t a kind condition. One is never sure how many of the thoughts in their minds are real. At least some of them has to be. Real, I mean…”