When I was allowed off the forensic unit I lived in, one of my accompanied destinations became the greenhouse. It was always a pleasure to be in the greenhouse. It was connected to the hospital so it was like Eden at the end of a hallway. I`m not sure how I didn’t bump into anything on early occasions as I glanced through windows each with a new view. New horizons. I tended many plants and grew many of my own. I can recall the warmth of the area and the light but some of the experience was lost on me. In some sense of reality the dimensions of the building itself added considerable square footage to my world. I don’t recall the scheduling of visits but I wouldn’t be surprised if I mentioned to my therapist that the plants were due for some water.
I could forget myself there without the cameras and as a good friend might say avail myself of meaningful and fulfilling occupation. I was doing something that didn’t have to be shuffled and dealt. I was blind to the balm but can remember the face of the staff member who applied it.
In the spring we reclaimed an area of weeds and weeds. I planted some tomatoes there that I had started from seed. I remember one sunny day taking the shortcut across the grounds as we were only there for tending the tomatoes outside. There were three of us. A clinician and a female patient who was newer to the unit. She seemed a little bewildered and was very quiet. There was one ripe tomato and I held it long in my hand like a hungry man and handed it to this woman. I watched her tear into it like an apple. It is a little hard to enjoy a tomato from three feet away but in this case it was a little hard not to. I smiled as she devoured it. I wanted that tomato and it may have even been a first but I`m glad I gave it away. Before I gave it to her I didn’t know her hunger.