Peanut Butter and Jelly

Julia Lin


            This morning, I completely forgot to pack my lunch – I guess I’d been far too used to waking up early enough to have the so-called “dead hour” before the bus came, during which I’d surely remember to slop together some PB&J.

            So, empty handed, I got to school just in time for class to start.  I made it through the morning just fine, but come lunchtime, I was starving like a T-Rex forced onto a Slim-fast diet.  With my stomach growling, I reached down for my lunchbox and found myself groping empty space.

            “Oh, no,” I graoned.  But making the best of what I had, I decided to start on my homework for the night instead.  Then, I figured, in the time at home that I freed up, I could treat myself to a super-snack!

            Knowing that my suffering was but ephemeral, I pulled my Biology book and started answering the questions on plant stems.  Nothing like some good xylem and phloem – that’s what they always say, right?

            But halfway through the worksheet, or maybe hardly even that far, someone tapped me on the shoulder.  Startled, my first instinct was to yelp indiscriminately, which apparently caught the person off-guard, for the hand jolted slightly before being lifted.

            “Ah, I’m very sorry for shouting like that,” I apologized quickly.

            I turned around and saw a girl standing there, with radiant green eyes.

            She held up a bag, essentially to my nose.  I shifted my head slightly so that I could still see her face.

            “Would you like to have some of my lunch?” she asked.

            I blinked, surprised at her offer.  She was a complete stranger – it wouldn’t be right to take the food, right?

            “I’ll pass, but thanks,” I replied, wondering who she was.

            Adamant, she persisted: “You forgot your lunchbox, though!”

            “Ah, you noticed that?” I said with a light chuckle.

            “Of course,” she answered.  “How could I not?  So please, join me.”

            “Okay okay,” I conceded, and she led me over to the corner of the room.

            “What’s our name?” I asked her.

            “It’s Jocelyn.  Yours?”

            Her question caught me unprepared: I guess I had assumed that she knew my name, since she had approached me like that – but maybe I was thinking completely int eh wrong vein?  That had to be it … .

            “My name is Frederic,” I said, shaking her hand, which was plush from the softest, gentlest skin I had ever felt.

            Her food was simple but delicious – a turkey bagel with scrambled eggs.  After I had finished, I thanked her profusely for her generosity.

            “You’re a real lifesaver!” I exclaimed.

            “Oh nonsense,” she answered with a smile.  “It’s only to be expected, after all.”

            And I think my world changed completely from that day forward, because I had finally realized that deep down in the human soul is not cruel opportunism, but the irrational disposition for kindness for kindness’s sake.