One of my comfort foods is peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread. A thick slab of both spreads combined, the creamy Skippy and bits of strawberry blanketed by grainy fresh bread to me is like summer at the beach. A perfect combination and whomever thought of it first must be hailed by mankind all over the world. That person, whatever he/she was thinking created something that could bring happiness to young and old, rich or poor.
I ate my PB & J sandwich wistfully. I could hardly be seen sitting in Dad’s tall lazy chair facing the window. I had my headphones on which could be even more a cause for my ‘disappearance’ since anyone who called for me would not be heard. M.Y.M.P was playing, ‘Waiting in Vain’ then ‘No Ordinary Love’ then ‘Crazy For You’ then ‘Tell Me Where It Hurts’. After the last song, I began to taste salt on my bread. My tears managed to slip inside the edges of my lips. The vocalist’s sweet voice, the mellow weather, the feeling that nobody’s watching and the terrible pain of yet another heartache were the perfect ingredients to start my tears flowing.
I continued eating. Like a ritual, I always eat the four corners counter clockwise first and then the remaining ears clockwise before devouring the lavish filling I lathered on myself earlier.
He used to snatch away the ‘good part’ of my sandwich, knowing how I liked to finish my food with a ‘happy ending’. He’d then make me chase him all around the apartment for it.
“Here. That was 100 kalories worth of running and giggling. ” he said handing me the rest of my sandwich and let me have my happy ending. Always making me aware of my love handles.
Thinking back on our relationship it was actually a bigger and more complicated picture of our PB & J sandwich chase. I was the one chasing him around begging him for my happy ending.
He shouldn’t have helped me pick up the basketballs after P.E. class, in the first place. He shouldn’t have let me have that free dose of kindness and then make me crave for more.
“You always volunteer to do this?” he asked picking up a ball and throwing a two pointer inside the basketball bin only causing it to bounce off of the other basketballs I’ve put in. I watched as it dribbled to the other end of the gym.
“Hey, you’re not helping.”I said faking a frown.
He chuckled and went to fetch the ball. That wasn’t the first time I heard him laugh. He was always laughing in class. He’s the class clown, everyone adored him.
Everyone avoided me. I’m the teacher’s pet. I never intentionally throw myself at every question the teacher gives. They just give up waiting for any other student to raise their hand and point their chalk stained index fingers to me.
To compensate for not having any friends I study and whenever I’m not studying I’d be reading which is a form of learning nevertheless.
If he was like sunshine then I’d be the rain. And from my eyes rain was flowing even more down the side of my cheeks, down to my blouse. My shoulders were trembling as I tried hard not to let any noise escape from my mouth. I wiped my runny nose with my thumb. My glasses began to fog up. I took them off and wiped my eyes with the palm of my hands.
“Cry, so you’ll feel relieved.”
I remember lying besides Mom one night, but not telling her what it was about. I didn’t want her to know that her daughter is friendless. That her daughter’s classmates and most of the kids in school avoid her daughter like a plague.
I missed Mom’s hugs, though she was in the other room. Watching Oprah. I didn’t want her to see me like this. Not because of a boy.
I knew I was losing him. I was preparing my heart for it.
Perhaps I’m just not ready to be in a romantic relationship. Perhaps he’s not my PB & J ending. I finished my sandwich and rested the plastic saucer on my lap. Relieved that I could cry that hard unnoticed. My breath was still sort of scattered, so I did some slow breathing. Like yoga.
“There you are!” suddenly Mom’s warm hands carressed the crown of my head.
“We need more peanut butter. Someone has had a healthy appetite lately. Could you go downstairs to Fresco and buy me some, Honey? I’m planning to grill some sate for tonight.”
“Sure mom. Let me just wash up a bit.” I said trying to make my voice sound as clear as possible. I waited for her to leave Dad’s study before I got up and went to the washroom.
“The money’s on the counter OK?” she yelled from the other room.
“OK, Mom.” I yelled back as I examined the puffiness of my eyelids.