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Peanut Butter and Terror This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I only vaguely remember my kindergarten year, it's mostlyjust a hazy montage of learning letters and telling on other kids. I do, however,remember one thing vividly: my first school lunch.

Since I was only inkindergarten, and morning kindergarten at that, I had never been in thecafeteria. We were convinced it was a myth, our Holy Grail, as far away ascollege. Running to the open, comforting arms of our parents after a morning ofclasses, we would watch the first-, second-, third-, fourth and fifth-gradersmarch down the hallway in their single-file lines toward some room somewhere thatcertainly smelled like food. Mrs. Anderson's line of children, heads held high,would recite multiplication tables at their teacher's command as they headedtoward the cafeteria. We were intrigued and jealous. They were obviouslyindependent, and put me to shame as I sprinted to my mother.

But near theend of the year, an announcement was made. We would go to the lunchroom topractice eating a real lunch so we would be ready for first grade. The air stuckin my throat, my nerves stood on end. After almost eight months of mystery, I wasgetting closer to being a grown-up. We marched down the hall in a single-fileline, silent and pale. Suddenly everyone seemed so tall, and I didn't know wherewe were. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I grabbed the hand of the girl in frontof me, whose name I have forgotten. Clutching each other as we took steps towardmaturity, we entered the cafeteria.

The first thing I remember is thesmell. I couldn't identify the food, but it smelled like that mysterious placeeveryone else went. Then I noticed the noise - hundreds of millions of enormouskids let loose in an enormous room, running around and screaming. I wasterrified. The teacher led us to a little table set up in the corner and broughtus chicken nuggets and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. As I nibbled the food,I lost my fear and began to talk to the girl whose hand I had grabbed so tightly.Soon we were giggling, talking and eating like the big kids. We were led back toour classroom as young men and women. The rest of the day's activities seemedtrivial compared to the obvious rite of passage we had just gone through. When Ileft school that day, I did not sprint into my mother's embrace. I walkedcasually and gave her a kiss on the cheek, beaming at my newfoundindependence.




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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Lilihua This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 29, 2010 at 5:59 pm
Cool. It can seem like a big step! A great memoir. :)
 
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