Jello…

Coronavirus Survivor’s Log- Day 27

First, sorry about the five day hiatus. I just didn’t feel like writing much…and I’ve been obsessing over a project that my company is working on that will be really cool if we can get it off the ground. It feels really good to work on something…to work hard and stay up late and turn stuff in and put a check mark on a to do list. I am learning as things simmer here in the land of social isolation how to lay the list down, but, man, does it make my heart sing to make a list and check things off it.

Today, I’m actually gonna share some writing I wrote a hot minute ago back in January of 2014. But it was one of my favorite prompts and maybe one of my favorite things I’ve written. During my hiatus,I did some cleaning and organizing of a bookshelf in my room and I found an old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle notebook that was full of responses to these Old Friend from Far Away prompts…so you get the joy of reading one of those…and maybe you’ll write too!

The prompt is: Jello. Tell me about jello. Write for ten minutes…GO!

Cubes of red jelly on white background

Jello and I have a love-hate relationship. It is a long and sordid history to tell but mostly I love to hate jello. It is a slimy, jiggly non-food whose only real offering is sickeningly sweet stains on my best white shirt. It tastes like curdled Kool-aid and ice cubes. Not even two full cups of sugar can rescue jello from my loathing.

I have hated jello for as long as I can remember. I’ve oft tried to pinpoint my exact distrust of the substance. Perhaps it is that jello is a food stuck between worlds-not quite solid, but not liquid either. Or that it derives it’s flavor from a Kool-aid like substance that never bears a hint of resemblance to the fruit which it claims to taste like. Perhaps it is that odd sugary coating that stays with me after jello slithers its way down my throat. Perhaps it is simply that I cannot chew it. I do not trust that which I cannot chew.

There have been moments I have loved jello though. I was talking about jello being made of boiled bones the first time I realized my ex-boyfriend was still in love with me. his eyes lit up and he asked me to say the word “bones” again and again. He tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear and told me he had forgotten how cute I was. I did not love him back, but the realization was power an I kind of loved jello for a moment.

Jello sustained my grandmother with its sugary nourishment in the last months of her battle with cancer. In those weeks I sat in awe of the magic liquid turning to near solid and for a brief time I loved jello dearly.

The first time I realized I could never truly love jello I was in pre-school. I attended a pre-school I could never quite fit- an overly legalistic place that took its role in educating society’s future about appropriate Christian gender roles quite seriously. Girls played house. Boys played legos and lincoln logs. There was no crossover. I spent many of my days hiding behind the toyboxes playin glincoln logs with the boys. I was constantly getting in trouble.

The final straw for me was the day they served jello for a snack. I poked at is jiggly surface, squished it with my fingers, but refused to eat it. My teacher was furious.

“You will eat it or sit there until you do.”

“I don’t like jello. Can I have broccoli instead?”

“No…you will sit there.”

And I sat….and sat….and sat…

For three hours I sat. Poking and squishing until my mom came to get me after she finished her day of work.

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