Breaking out of Bedlam
By Leslie Larson
Eighty-two year old Cora Sledge has been ousted from the only home she has ever owned and placed in The Palisades, an assisted living care facility. Cora is a live wire and despises her three children for incarcerating her into a “place that’s no more than a warehouse, a storage bin where people are tossed until the next shipment comes in”. She has been assigned a room number, 136, just a jail cell and her only wish is to die. All of her pills have been confiscated and the realization that she has been surviving totally on these prescribed medicines comes as the ‘cold turkey’ effect weighs heavily on her 300 pound body.
As the weeks go by and the meds are flushed from her system, Cora finds herself thinking clearer. She begins to realize how her destructive past has finally caught up with her. But she is lonely and desperate for another caring human being. After losing two pounds totally by accident, she begins to think of the possibilities. And of course this new found determination to live is fueled by a man – Vitus, who lives on the second floor. But just who is Vitus? He seems to enjoy spending the evenings with Cora, munching on her confiscated supply of chips and dried fruit and watching TV. But things have been missing from rooms including Cora’s beloved crystal, given to her by her father. Can Cora trust Vitus? Will her continued focus to clear her mind and wean herself from anxiety pills she trades goods for, open her eyes to the truth? And the truth about what exactly – her memories of a past love, herself, and the situation she now finds herself in? What exactly will Cora do and will her new residence and newfound self-worth be enough to sustain her?
I laughed and cried reading Leslie Larson’s second novel. Ms. Larson lives in San Francisco and her work has appeared in publications such as Faultline, the East Bay Express, Writer magazine and the Women’s Review of Books, etc. She is a gifted writer.