Jim Boyce stumbled into consciousness as a pair of delicate hands expertly replaced a Night pad into which he had released yesterday evening’s dinner. He had been dreaming and as he stuttered into reality he struggled with his emotions in the same way the Chinese woman struggled with pushing the bed back against the wall.
“Wakey wakey Mr Boyce,” said the thickly accented worker, “It breakfast.”
Jim groaned, followed by a resounding cough that left the octogenarian wheezing. His lungs felt heavy and his throat congested but he managed to raise himself slightly with his bony hands to a more comfortable position.
The Chinese woman was scribbling on a chart, not once making eye contact with the man she was paid to look after. A young adult watched intently hidden from Jim’s view, his eyes focused on the task yet congested with sadness.
Jim remained silent, he had nothing to say to the woman and she had nothing to say to him. The communication gap was so great that both parties knew it was too difficult to converse properly. He could not understand her poor pronunciation and the teenager knew she could not understand his gruff Scottish accent, deepened with years of tobacco and sorrow.