There Was Blood on My Plate

January 13, 2008
By Wennie Chi, Palatine, IL

Chattering voices, little whispers, and big bouts of laughter filled the halls of Acarath Montessori. Carts rolled out, plates stacked high, and cups filled with utensils. Wennie’s stomach was rumbling. Children lined up, cutting their friends when necessary. She waited eagerly behind her friend Kayla. The room carried a great flow of delectable scents—turkey, vegetables, and mashed potatoes with gravy. Finally, it was lunchtime! Wennie was looking forward to the soft, creamy mashed potatoes. She had gotten her first loose tooth that week and was afraid that it could fall out at any minute. She decided she had to be very careful about what she was going to eat, and mashed potatoes sounded like the only safe choice.

“Wennie, you can’t just have mashed potatoes for lunch.” The young girl looked up at her teacher with uneasy eyes. "Eat some vegetables too,” her teacher joked as she piled some vegetables onto the child’s plate. Wennie didn’t say anything, until she sat down with her friend.

“Look at how loose my tooth is today!” Wennie exposed her smile while swinging her tooth back and forth with her tongue as if it were a picket fence gate. “I think it’s going to fall out soon.” She grew concerned, “Do you think it will hurt?”

“I don’t know.” Kayla was excited for Wennie, but grew queasy at the sight of the open cavity. “Wennie, how will you eat all that with a loose tooth?” she asked, lowering her eyes to her dish.

“I just won’t eat anything hard,” Wennie answered while examining her own plate. Her fork went straight to the mashed potatoes.

Wennie was a little hesitant about the steamed vegetables. However, by the time she had finished her mashed potatoes, she was still hungry. Recognizing the empty space in her stomach, she took her fork and plunged it into the trunk of a large broccoli tree. She took a small bite, and as she was chewing, a strange sensation came over her. She felt juices flowing into her mouth, but they were not exactly tasteful juices. She removed the broccoli from her mouth and saw that it was drenched in warm, raw, sanguine blood. Quickly, her tongue darted around her mouth and discovered a large, fleshy hole where her tooth should have been. All the children and teachers quickly gathered around.
“Wennie, I think your tooth came out!” a classmate exclaimed, as if he were the first to notice. The blood continued to spill from her mouth. Her lunch plate was flooded. Wennie sat bewildered. The teachers rushed over with a towel and a cup of water. As she was rinsing her mouth, it struck her, Where’s the tooth?
Wennie and her friends instantly formed a search party for the missing tooth. Still cupping her mouth with paper towels, Wennie dug through the remains of her meal. After a thorough search, the vegetables proved to be dental-free. The children scanned the table with no luck. Meanwhile, the rest, on hands and knees, searched the white tiled floor. Like a needle in a haystack, the tooth proved to be impossible to find. Eventually she and her friends all gave up. Wennie was stunned, “I think I swallowed it.”

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