7/15/2017

All in a day's work

"Do you want to go on an adventure?" he asked. Only there had been more to his question, as I would soon find out, but I had stopped listening after the word 'adventure.' 

"Yes," I replied, cutting off at least part of his sentence. 

He went back to his office for a few minutes to find some papers, and then, before I knew it, I was following him out the set of double glass doors and down a bright hallway. As we walked, he chatted away excitedly. Though I found the subject matter fascinating, I was only half listening. My brain was preoccupied, finally processing his earlier words and slowly realizing where we were headed. 

"They prepare some really neat stuff for us," he finished, as we made our way down a set of stairs and that opened up to another longer, slightly more ominous hall. And that's when I saw the sign and everything finally clicked. 

The anatomy lab. That's where the adventure was. My formal education, when it came to anatomy, had ended when I finished high school. When I thought of anatomy, diagrams and small plastic models of the reproductive system came to mind. But this wasn't a high school; this was a teaching hospital. They don't have plastic models; they have plasticized models. We walked through another set of doors and greeted a pair of receptionists. "At the back and hang a right," they said, also listing off a room number. 

"Hmm," he paused, "I wonder if that's the fridge."

'Oh, no,' I thought to myself. "They prepare some really neat stuff for us," his words from minutes before echoed in my head.

Neat stuff. Oh, god.

My stomach was rumbling and I regretted not ingesting some sort of snack before we left on our "adventure." I had a feeling that I wouldn't feel like eating for a while afterwards, and, as it turned out, I was right. 

He was right too though. What they'd prepared was neat. But I felt like 'stuff' wasn't quite as fitting of a word choice. The "neat stuff," in this instance, was the lower half of what had quite recently been a living man. As my boss peered over it and spoke to the people he had come to see, I looked around the room and tried to keep a non-creepy smile on my face. I was in no risk of becoming ill, but I did still feel faint. My gaze shifted, every so often, back to the metal table. My gaze made its way up a skinny set of shins to his knobby knees, and then I looked away again. 

'This had been a man once,' I thought to myself. Had I ever crossed his path in life? Was there someone out there, at that moment, mourning his death and trying to figure out how it was that the world just kept on spinning as if nothing had happened?

We couldn't have been in that room more than five minutes, and then we were off down another hall and into another series of rooms. My boss's excitement was contagious as he showed me the different tools they used to train the next generation of doctors. 

Later, I recounted the experience to my mother and told her how he had taken me from room to room, showing me everything he could think of. She simply smiled.

"He was probably so eager to show you around because it isn't often that anyone from the administrative staff wants to go take a look at that sort of thing," she said. 

"You're probably right," I sighed. "But I'm still going to tell him I am working on something very important and can't leave my desk if he asks me to go on another adventure... Probably." 

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