This I Believe

Mary - Park Ridge, Illinois
Entered on January 8, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

A Lunchroom Romance

In the realm of the elementary lunch room, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich rules. Moms choose Jif, kids choose Skippy, and the jam depends on what’s left in the fridge. I believe that peanut butter without jelly can crumble the world of a child’s cafeteria.

Rarely do peanut butter sandwiches make their way into the saran wrap, and even less frequently does jelly on rye. But when this does occur, complications arise: the sandwich is too sweet, too sticky, too plain. Peanut butter and jelly balance each other out, as does bread and butter, apples and oranges, and cheese and crackers. Together, these food pairs stand out in the minds of grocery shoppers everywhere.

In the middle of August 2006, I accompanied my best friend and some others to the infamous rocks at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. With the exception of my good friend, I didn’t know the others very well. All I knew was that two of them, Jen and Eric, were engaged. In fact, the purpose of our trip was to paint the very rock on which Eric had proposed to her. It wasn’t until after the rectangular boulder had been covered in purple and white stars, squiggles, and the date of their engagement that I realized how astounding their relationship was. I quickly moved from rock to rock, reading each history carefully. As I had expected, there were many wishes to loved ones: requests for homecoming and prom dates, anniversaries, and other marriage proposals.

How wonderful it was to help two people, so very much in love, set their romance in stone. Of all the people in the world, Jen and Eric chose each other. Maybe they were star-crossed or fated, or perhaps they just happened to meet one day and never looked back. I do not know the story of how they met, but what matters most is that they love one another. Should either one of them decide to leave, then the other would be crushed. Romeo and Juliet.

Love keeps us together, keeps us going, keeps us strong, whether it is between family, friends, or a spouse. During the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the United States united, not out of hatred or rage, but out of love and remembrance for those that perished. It is an unbreakable bond that can be used to conquer anger, fear, and sadness, and it comes in many forms. It can be a phone call to someone halfway across the country, or a letter you get in the mail from someone you haven’t heard from in a long time. It can be a box of chocolates, or two sets of footprints remaining in the sand. And it can be an eternal message written on a rock for all to see. Regardless of its appearance, love will always be the most powerful of emotions, drawing people together and withstanding infinite time.

A world without love is like peanut butter without jelly. It would be dull, plain, and poignant. But with love, every day is a new day. Suddenly the little things stick out, surprises are frequent, and the faces of loved ones never leave our sight, whether they’re physically with us or not. When a person finds someone who truly loves them, they become inseparable, stuck together like two pieces of bread in a child’s brown paper lunch bag. Love, like peanut butter and jelly, is here to stay. This I believe.