An Open-Faced Sandwich

In response to today’s prompt: Sandwich


Sarah wiped off her bread with palms filled with sand. More dirt filtered through the crumbs and stuck to the peanut butter, sunk into the jelly. She held a muddy PB&J concoction in her little hands.

Amongst the plastic dinosaurs in the sand pile and the caveman Barbie dolls, Sarah played house with her mother’s cracked China; I sat on the grass in starched pants with a clipboard.

“When is Mom coming to get me?” Sarah fed a T-rex a fingertip of jelly, then took a small bite of her sandwich. The question was an afterthought. Feed the dinosaurs, then myself – oh, and where’s mom? My stomach turned watching her chew on dirt.

Every time I think of this memory, I remember how it felt when she finally looked at me. Her eyes held the intensity of an adult’s guilt. She held and maintained eye contact, and it  was as if I between this little girl and the colossal earth. In truth, I was. Trapped. Responsible. I was just as foreign as the soil in her PB&J, and she accepted me easily. She swallowed the answer with ease.

“Sarah, do you want me to make you another sandwich? One without sand all over it?”

“It wouldn’t be a sandwich then,” she replied simply. She fed a bit to Barbie, and she looked at me again.

I can’t bear to remember the rest.



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