Standing at the kitchen counter, the makings for a sandwich lying out in front of him, Nicholas begins to think about his mom. Although it’s been nearly a year since the accident took her away from him, he still can’t believe that she’s gone. It happened so fast. She was taking him to school, then a week later he was moving across the country to live with his aunt. Luckily, an aunt that always treated him like a son. He guesses it's because she had a son that died, a fact that makes her very overprotective at times. Lately, she has started to let him be more independent though. This will actually be the first time that he gets to make himself lunch.
His aunt, who has made his lunch for him everyday since he moved in with her, lined up the ingredients and told him that she thinks that he can handle it. And here he stands.
The moment is kind of bittersweet though, because making lunch was an activity that he and his mom loved to do together. And they both loved sandwiches.
He reaches out and picks up a slice of bread; the softness and the smell of it reminding him of the fresh bread that his mom always used. He sets it in front of himself, letting his hand linger on it for a few seconds. He then reaches out and picks up a few slices of ham. It’s his favorite, honey-baked from the Heavenly Ham Company. It’s the same brand that his mom always used, which is also the brand that his mom and his aunt grew up eating. He carefully places the ham on the slice of bread, using his fingers to get it perfectly centered. He thinks about using a napkin to wipe the ham juice from his fingers, but decides to lick it off instead; the taste taking his thoughts back to his mom once again.
He picks up the head of lettuce that is on the counter and squeezes around it, trying to find the crispest leaves. Thinking that he’s found what he is looking for, the snapping sound of the leaves breaking from the lettuce head verifies that he made the right choice. He sets the head of lettuce down and places the leaves on top of the sandwich.
He reaches out and grabs the mustard bottle, pausing before actually picking it up. Once again his thoughts have turned to his mother. She always made his sandwiches special by using the mustard to add a little drawing or phrase that was just for him. He never knew what it was until he pulled off the top bread piece, making sure he removed it very carefully so that he wouldn’t smudge the mustard drawing.
He knew that this was going to be the hardest part of making the sandwich, mainly because he wanted so bad to make it as special as his mom could. He decided to keep it simple and make a smiley face.
Using his free hand as a guide, he carefully draws two circles for the eyes, a circle for the nose, and a curved line for the mouth. He sets the mustard bottle down, then finds the second piece of bread and carefully sets it down on top of the sandwich. He smiles, feeling very proud of himself. Although he can’t see it, his touch tells him that the sandwich looks exactly like what his mother used to make.
As he eats his sandwich, he has an overwhelming feeling that his mom is sitting there with him. She’s proud of him. Proud of him for not allowing the car accident that took her from him, along with his eyesight, to continue taking from him. He’s growing up.