A turtle in a pond

Gratitude for what we don't have

Gratitude 27/40

My goodness but the health system here can be so speedy quick! The result of the MRI arrives in my inbox before I get home from the scan, thirty minutes away. I don’t look, because right now I distrust my meaning making capacities. But then I get a call from the doctor’s office– and the scan is normal. So I feel so relieved! And I feel intrigued.

I wrote this in the summer. It feels relevant today.

J. takes a minute before responding to me asking him how he’s doing. He puts the pruning scissor down, lean on his knee to straighten up, places both hands on his hips and arcs his back. The august air is thick with humidity.

Then J. says, “I guess I am okay.” The sound of “okay” has a long and weary tail, ending like a question.

A. responds in a similar tone. “I’ve had better days.”

“What about Hanna?” J. asks as I snip the cerise chard stem. I still cannot believe how pink it is.

“Well,” I say looking up, “for the first time in my life – at least that I now of – I am the host of 52 parasites.”

“What?”asks J. “How?”

“We went to lake Erie on Sunday and swam for hours. But we weren’t alone in the waters. There were sneaky parasites looking to make their home in ducks. But because we are hot bodied too, they mistook us and burrowed into our skins. So now I have all these hungry parasites hanging out under my skin, making me itch much so much that I wake up in the middle of the night longing to I scratch my body on the bedside like a cat. There is nothing I can do but wait for them to discover that we are incompatible and die.”

“Ha,” says A. “Are the parasites transferable once they are in your body?”

“No,” I reply.

“Mine is,” she says.

“Your what?” asks J. with a bit more animation in this voice.

“I too have a parasite.” A. brings her left leg forward and there, halfway between her ankle and knee is a ring almost as bright as the chard stems.

“I have ring worm.”

“Seriously? How did you get it?” J. asks.

“You get it through skin contact or by sitting in dirt. I think it’s through the dirt, because no one else I touch has it.”

“How long will it last?” I ask.

“A month or so,” she replies.

J. straightens up again, his right hand filled with four tomatoes. “Well,” he says, “I guess I’m doing really great then!”
We laugh.

In this moment, I am grateful for all the nasty things I do not have.