They’re names, but mostly just barcodes. Prepare the slide, check it through the microscope, look for the patterns, the diagnosis. What’s here? What’s not?
Everything they are, each one of them – daily lives, breakfast choices, tea or coffee at elevenses, whether they grumble about the weather, recycle their newspapers, believe in God or Allah or nothingness, whether they love their children or hate their job (or both). All they are is down to this, these cells.
Somewhere they’re waiting for me to find what there is to be found, and their doctor to say. Yes. No. This disease. Medication. Surgery.