We doctors must choose what we share in casual conversation, because if we’re not careful, the things that are on our minds might slip out. Today I might let slip the image of an obese woman after a 20-story fall onto solid ground. The dark skin of her face was fissured like the cement sidewalk where a root has grown underneath, pushing upward to create space. While as a whole, her body didn’t come apart in pieces, her brittle mandible was a mess of jagged edges and individual teeth. We looked in her airway to see a pool of blood and deep tears in her pharynx. We don’t know how long she had been on the ground before being noticed, but the backs of her arms had already started flowering into broad patches of violet. A knee laid splayed open, a sunflower of fat globules surrounding visible bone. I might tell you that I was surprised at being shocked by this corpse – after all, this is not my first jumper. It just happens to be one of my first to have not arrived wet and cold and gray from the river, who has instead arrived cracked open like a nut. No, no, that’s not what you wanted to hear when you asked, “How’s your week been?”
Let me instead tell you about beautiful things. Let me tell you about the pea shoots coming up, about 5 inches high and waving their tendrils in the air begging me for a trellis to climb. Let me tell you about the slightly bitter, long-leafed arugula I pulled from the row where I broadcast mixed lettuce seeds. Let me tell you about the squirmy earthworms and old plastic markers my husband keeps uncovering while turning the ground, making me more beds than I even asked for. Let me tell you about the first radish harvest. Only two came out whole – the other six came up out of the soil split open like they’d already been sliced. We had an unfortunate and unexpected frost the week before that I consider the culprit, given that my unaffected beauties were the ones closest to the radiating heat of the house. No matter, the radishes showing off their insides got tossed into a hash with the pretty ones, and turned out just as delectable. I’d call my first harvest a success, even if most of my haul wouldn’t qualify as “market ready.” Don’t worry, I planted more of them. How was your week?