poured out before bed
The salads at the hospitals public cafeteria are not only less expensive, but markedly fresher than those at the dimly lit staff-only canteen. I sit with contented sigh, taking in the crispy spinach and arugula, the lovely orange peppers, the violet cabbage and full red tomatoes before me, joying in the spicy scent of the house dressing. Just to my left, a colleague on a different service digs into a fine looking chicken stir fry and bemoans the morning lectures he’s just endured.
“She literally read off her slides in a monotone voice the whole time – and there were over 100 slides for a 50 minute lecture! It was just awful – I learned nothing! What a waste of my time…. Oh, and then, at the end, she told us she always gets bad feedback – and she got all snotty and accusatory about it – and practically demanded discussion on how to make the lecture better. I just wanted to die right there! Just wanted to DIE!”
From the corner of my eye, to my right, I catch a sudden movement. Turning slightly, I see a care worn young father holding a dusky colored, edematous toddler hooked to an IV pole, a nasal canula in her little button nose. With his wife he exchanges a wan look, gazes down at his ailing child.
I crunch my vegetables a bit more briskly to drown out the awkwardness.