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Nathaniel's Menu This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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On orientation day at the hospital, they asked new volunteers which department we would like to work in. I could choose to be a swimming coach, dietary assistant, or an occupational therapy assistant. Knowing full well that I would grow attached to children who would eventually leave, I decided to start off as a dietary assistant, which seemed innocuous enough.

I was trained to assemble meal trays for the children based on their special needs. Most of the menus were easy enough: handi-wipes here, an extra rubber-tipped spoon there, but Nathaniel's was a pain. I dreaded his every time. Every one of his trays needed handi-wipes, a vanilla shake, a rubber-tipped spoon, honey-thickened liquids, and a special portion size – plus he had seven allergies!

One day, as I was preparing Nathaniel's menu, my eyes wandered to his stats. I was surprised to learn that he was my age. I had always assumed that all the patients were young children who were born into their struggles. I asked my supervisor, and she told me that Nathaniel was injured in a car accident at 12. He would probably have to say in the hospital until he was 18. I asked what would happen after that, and she shrugged before heading off to address more pressing issues.

I thought about what I had been doing when I was 12. I was praying for a cell phone, and proud of myself for being allowed to walk around downtown with my friends with no parents. When Nathaniel was 12, he was stuck in the hospital, having tasted the same life I had and knowing that he could never have it again. I wanted to meet him. I asked my supervisor, who told me she would take me to meet all of the kids I created menus for.

“Well, the ones who can talk back to you,” she added.

The following week, I came in ready to meet the kids. My supervisor was not in the office, so I started on a set of menus while I waited for her. Anticipating Nathaniel's complicated menu, I was no longer agitated at the thought of it. I felt a special connection to him now. I was immediately nervous when I couldn't find his sheet. There was no way he could have been released. I found my supervisor in the kitchen and when she saw me, her face fell.

“Where's Nathaniel's card?”

She hesitated. I didn't say anything. We stared at each other for a couple of long seconds.

“Nathaniel passed away yesterday.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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beautifulspirit This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 27, 2011 at 6:16 pm:
I just don't know how to process this. Reading this, I could feel my throat closing up. Your writing style is clear, well written and has a certain effect on the reader.
 
PaRaNoRmAl627This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm :
i hope that means you enjoyed it lol. i feel like you felt the same way i did when this happened to me. like you weren't personally close to the situation, so you shouldnt feel affected by it, but you still do and it's confusing. maybe lol.
 
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TheWordSmith said...
Oct. 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm:
Excellent! This is very well-written... I really enjoyed reading it. Great message, and it could definitely could get you into a college. :)
 
PaRaNoRmAl627This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 14, 2011 at 9:43 am :
I just got into my first onee! :D thanks for reading!
 
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julian This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 30, 2011 at 6:25 pm:
Wonderfully written! I love writing that is both beautiful, and contains a message underneath. And your writing definitely has a strong and powerful message about never judging a book by its cover, or rather never judging a hospitalized kid by his dietary needs! Beautiful flow and powerful. Keep up the great work when you're in college!
 
PaRaNoRmAl627This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 14, 2011 at 9:43 am :
thanks soo muchh! glad you enjoyed itt!
 
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JoetheBlanc said...
Sept. 30, 2011 at 6:14 pm:
This is an amazing story. It always seems the last four sentences always happen, though.
 
PaRaNoRmAl627This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 14, 2011 at 9:44 am :
Isn't that always the way? So sad :(  but thank you for reading it and im glad you enjoyed it :)
 
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Love.Hate.Passion. said...
Sept. 1, 2011 at 7:24 pm:

Who's getting into college?

You!

This piece was amazing and well-written. Is this based on a true story or purely fictional? I loved the flow of it , and the ending made me emotional. This is great , even for a first draft. Keep it up!!!!

 
PaRaNoRmAl627This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 1, 2011 at 9:19 pm :
thanks so much! its 100% true by the way :) glad you enjoyed it!
 
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Readqueenz7 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 1, 2011 at 7:10 pm:
I think this is really great. My only critique is that you might want to add more about how Nathaniel has affected you. Idk how you feel, but maybe Nathaniel's life has made you more greatful for the one you have, or you realized life is short. (Although try to stay away from clichés like that.) Otherwise, very beautifully written. If you could check mine out (it's called "Blondes Across Borders") too that would be great.
 
PaRaNoRmAl627This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm :
I thought the same thing, and in my final draft I added a short paragraph in the beginning about how he affected me. Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful criticism! I'll definitely take a look at your piece :)
 
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jellotinisjiggly24This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm:
I loved it!! very nice job! beautiful!!! great work! :)(:
 
PaRaNoRmAl627This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm :
thanks so muuchh!
 
jellotinisjiggly24This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Sept. 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm :
yeah! no prob! you deserve it! :)(:
 
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Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 29, 2011 at 2:26 am:
That was such a wonderfully written piece. I'm amazed. The way you started and led into the story was very naturally done. Excellent job :)
 
PaRaNoRmAl627This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 29, 2011 at 8:12 am :
yaay thank youu! so you think it could get me into college? :P
 
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totoro said...
Aug. 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm:
You have a beautiful, clear writing style. I love what you've already written. Now, try to focus on you. Reveal something about yourself to readers who know nothing about you. Good luck! I have a feeling your final draft will be a good one.
 
PaRaNoRmAl627This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 23, 2011 at 9:53 pm :
thank you so muchh! im so glad you liked itt :D now, do you know what it means if its an "editor's choice?"
 
julian This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 30, 2011 at 6:27 pm :
Editor's choice means that the editor(s) thought your piece was "above par" and exceptional. And this is their way of letting you know that. Sadly it doesn't mean you're going to get published, although the chances are probably higher than for someone without an editor's choice award.
 
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