The man, the child, and a special sandwich


One morning when I was five years old, I sat in a tree in our front yard waiting for the kindergarten bus to pick me up. My mother was in the kitchen making me a sandwich. The next moment the bus stopped in front of our house. I jumped out of the tree, opened the garden gate, and got into the bus.

As the bus was pulling away, I saw my mother standing in the front door with my sandwich in her hands.

It broke my heart. Years later I told her how deeply it affected me.

I am now 43. This morning I made myself a sandwich, kissed my wife goodbye, and cycled to the subway station.

While waiting for the train, I put the plastic bag with my sandwich on a bench. I reminded myself not to forget the bag (I easily get lost in conversation with myself).

That’s when I remembered the incident with my mother and the sandwich when I was five.

I wondered how I would have felt if my wife had made me the sandwich and I forgot the sandwich on the bench.

To my great pleasure, I realised it would have been deeply upsetting.