A widower at sixty-nine years old, Todd Seaward feels blessed to have inherited a handful and colourful set of friends in his new residential home, Misty Falls. For the first few months in the nursing home, he has made some wonderful friends and although he still pines for his first love, Emily, he feels that his newfound pals, nicknamed, The Healthy Gang, have been the saviour of him, especially his very good friend, Grace Guerra.
As soon as Todd finds his feet and is used to the surroundings and staff, he finds that all this changes with the arrival of new carer, Joseph File, nicknamed, Hopper. It is apparent to all residents that Joseph File is a short tempered individual who has no qualities for the job and is only using Misty Falls as a stop-gap until something better comes along. What the residents don't know about Hopper is that there is a dark side to the forty-year-old male.
After an incident in their friend's room, Todd Seaward and his good friend, Don Swain, upset Hopper and begin to experience this 'dark side' to Joseph File, and the pair of them are subjected to months of infrequent physical abuse from the carer, verbal taunting and other despicable acts. But what Joseph File--Hopper--doesn't know about Todd's good friend, Don Swain, is that he has an unexplainable gift, a gift that he has kept a secret all his life. And this is a gift that is capable of ending all their troubles. But will he use it?
Because Hopper is angered by Todd Seaward and Don Swain after what had happened in the room, the two senior citizens keep Hopper's violent outbursts to themselves in order not to worry the rest of The Healthy Gang or the rest of Misty Falls, as they know that complaining to the management, who are obsessed in keeping the good name of Misty Falls, would be pointless as they have a history of sweeping complaints under the carpet.
This is a sad tale about abuse, love, unexplained events, and also has some funny moments, as well as some extremely sombre ones. The Healthy Gang experience all of these in their short time at Misty Falls, and their stay is soured by some of the events that takes place.
A mixture of negative emotions seems to suffocate me whenever I think about my first year in Misty Falls, and a pretty ugly year it was, too. It was a delightful building to look at from the outside, and the architect and builders should give themselves a pat on the back for the work they had done nearly a hundred years ago. Even though on nighttimes the place was at its ugliest, I always admired it as a building, especially when I used to come back from excursions and had to walk up to the entrance to get back into the establishment.
When I say excursions, I, of course, mean trivial things like going to the shops, breathing in the fresh air and getting a newspaper. I'm pretty up-to-date on my technology, but I still like the feel of a newspaper in my hand. Sometimes the black print coming off onto my fingers when I turn the pages takes me back to when a newspaper was the only source of information you could get, before twenty-four hour news, online sites, and headlines getting immediately sent to an individual's iPhone. I was, and still am, a stickler for tradition, but at the same time I'm not one to moan about the rise of technology like some of the old folk. I say old folk, but what I mean is that some of the guys in Misty Falls are in their late seventies, early eighties and late eighties. I, on the other hand, was sixty-nine years old when I first arrived, fit as a fiddle, and shouldn't really be in here--yeah, yeah, I know, that's what they all say.
My children had decided that for my own health and for my own safety, I should be in a place where there were other people my own age which would hopefully stop me from what I had been doing before, which was drinking myself into a stupor for most nights and drowning in a well of self-pity. It never occurred to me that sending me, or persuading me, to move to Misty Falls would be a good thing, and for the first year, overall, it wasn't.
My wife had died in 2010, ironically on Valentine's Day, and since my beautiful Emily passed away to the other side to be with other relatives and friends that had gone over the years, I found it hard to handle. Five months after the funeral, I realised time wasn't such a great healer as every one seemed to claim. One day I went back to my bungalow and drank a full bottle of scotch in hope that I would collapse and never wake up the next morning. Obviously, I did wake up the next morning and the only thing that greeted me was a massive headache and a nauseous feeling, which I managed to overcome.
After my wife had died, I still had my good friend, Jack Palin to have for company. Jack was also a widower, which was unusual as most of the times the women usually outlived the men. Unfortunately, over a year after I had buried Emily, Jack dropped down dead. According to the hospital, he had died from natural causes--whatever that meant--and his heart had decided to give up. Personally, I think they should find a cure for 'natural causes,' as it seems to be the biggest killer of us old folk.
For those many months after I had lost my wife, Jack was my saviour in many ways as he prevented me from drinking myself to death; my kids couldn't be with me forever, and once they returned to their own families after their mum's funeral, it was then I started to realise how lonely life could be. The incident that happened months ago after her funeral, where I downed a full bottle of scotch, was the last time I got drunk until I heard the news about Jack's death that happened in May 2012.
In the space of just over a year, I had lost my wife and my best friend. I know people can't live forever, but I felt that it was possible for us all to get another twenty years out of life. Their deaths was a painful reality check, and once my neighbours had contacted my kids about certain drunken shenanigans I had got up to such as, falling asleep in the back garden, pissing up the garden fence and one evening, starting a fight with a dog walker who didn't pick up his animal's shit after watching it crap on the pavement, I was 'encouraged' by my beloved children to sell my house, put the money towards my savings and relax in a lovely place they had found called Misty Falls.
I have to admit; I did fall in love with the place when I was first arrived, which took me by surprise. I had met some nice people and had a little 'gang' where we would sit next to the huge bay window at a table and talk, play cards, watch TV or sometimes just look outside and watch the crazy world passing us by if conversation wasn't top of the agenda.
The TV was usually depressing and most of us would opt for a film, whether it came from the TV itself or a DVD brought in by one of ours from the library. Misty Falls was an open nursing home. It wasn't people being incarcerated; those of us, who could walk and had no mental problems, were allowed to go where we pleased, providing we were back at a reasonable hour.
It was like a hotel with carers.