Inviting Writing: The Worst Sandwich Ever

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Thanks very much to those of you who contributed essays to this month's Inviting Writing project. The theme, introduced by Lisa, was "the most memorable meal of your life." A surprising pattern has emerged from the submitted essays: many of the most memorable meals were sort of horrible!

This week's entry comes from Kristen Freeman, a senior at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. She's working toward a degree in Science in Secondary Education in Mathematics. She submitted this piece as part of her Writing in the University English class.

How Hard Can P.B. Be?

By Kristen Freeman

November 28, 2007 will always be known to me as the day I had surgery. Due to a birth defect, my left kidney was enlarged and obstructed in two places. The surgery corrected this life-threatening issue.

The days that followed will live in my memory for other reasons—such as being the first time I ever spat out a peanut butter sandwich. I had a three-inch incision on the left side of my abdomen. After being allowed only clear liquids and intravenous vitamins and minerals for 48 hours, the only thing in my mind that would make me feel human again was a meal. And I thought anything would have tasted appetizing.

Two mornings after surgery, I received a lunch menu. I scanned the various choices. Three words caught my eye like a nurse with a needle: peanut butter sandwich. I quickly checked the box next to the listing and smiled with pleasure. Messing up a peanut butter sandwich is impossible, right?

As the hours passed, my hunger grew for a plain peanut butter sandwich. Finally, I heard the creaking wheels of the food cart coming down the hall. The only thought in my mind was how wonderful that peanut butter sandwich would be. My mouth began to water as the thought of lunch filled my mind. As the squeaking cart stopped in front of my door, I quickly sat up and cleared off the small table at my bedside. A delightful atmosphere filled the room as the hospital worker carried in the tray. My stomach growled louder as the food was within reaching distance. All I could think about was the peanut butter sandwich I was about to devour. The two pieces of white bread with the creamy goodness between them had finally arrived.

I hurriedly unwrapped my meal, anticipating the mouth-watering sandwich. I lifted the sandwich and took a large bite. As I began to chew, my hunger quickly subsided as the flavor hit my tongue. While I looked around the tray for a napkin, my mother, who had been by my side since arriving at the hospital, knew something was wrong by the expression that came upon my face. The napkin became home to the only bite of lunch I ate.

“Mom, that is the worst thing I have ever tasted,” I said as I rinsed my mouth out with juice. “It’s worse than the medicine," a horrible liquid I had received just before entering the operating room.

My mother assured me that my intravenous pain killers and other medicines were the cause of the disgusting taste. To prove her wrong, I made her try it. She pulled off a small portion of the sandwich and began chewing. All of a sudden, the same disturbing look that had come over me consumed her. She quickly grabbed another napkin and spat out the bite, apologizing and admitting how horrible the meal tasted.

My appetite had disappeared like a doctor being paged. The most memorable meal of my life is one I couldn’t allow myself to eat.

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