Violet Finergan

by Holly Malkasian

I placed another call to Violet Finergan’s son. Maybe he didn’t receive the first message because it has been two weeks and I still haven’t had a response. Or maybe he just wants to sweep the whole mess under the rug.

It’s not that I dislike her. Violet is lovely, really she is. She shows up in the communal dining room right on time and has a close group of lady friends she meets at each meal. Lillian is the youngest at seventy-eight and Betty is the oldest at ninety-two. Violet won’t disclose her age to anyone but I have her records and I know she is a spritely eighty-five year old.

Violet participates in all the community activities. She loves to dance and is the first to show up at Happy Hour every Friday when Nick the piano player arrives. She sways back and forth to the jazz beat and doesn’t care that she is the only one on the dance floor. Bingo is a competitive sport to her. She howls and jumps up from her chair, arms flailing, when her numbers are called.

Violet typically doesn’t give us trouble. She looks you straight in the eye and responds when you ask her a question. She takes her pills, no problem. Some of the residents throw their pills in the trash as soon as the aide turns her back. Or worse, they shove the pills down their Depends and then the nurse has to fish them out. Violet is never sneaky like that. She is straightforward and always lets you know how she feels.

She tells you right away if there is something she doesn’t like.

Not at all timid, Violet is the aggressor in pursuing the male residents. If she fancies one, she sashays right over to him and asks him to ‘take her out to dinner,’ which means finding an empty table where they have a ‘date.’ There aren’t too many men in the Golden Living Home but they all adore Violet and vie for her attention. They even voted her ‘Best Dressed.’

I am, however, a little skeptical as to why the men gave Violet this award. Maybe she should be crowned ‘Best Accessorized.’ The thing is, Violet has a habit of over accessorizing. She adorns her décolleté with layers of necklaces, strings of pearls, layers of beads, and gold chains. She wears assorted bangles up both her arms and carries a vintage Gucci hobo bag. She can still rock her Prada high heels with the straps snaking up her scrawny legs.

She meticulously prepares herself in her room and when she is all dolled-up, she flings open the door, throws her head back and catwalks out toward the nurse’s station. The men, slumped over in their wheelchairs, suddenly perk up as the show unfolds in front of them. Used to the routine by now, the nurses drop their charts, rush out from behind the desk and swarm Violet.

I know this is the reason why her son is ignoring me, he just can’t stomach it. The problem with Violet and her carefully arranged ensemble is, most times, she forgets to put her clothes on.    

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