Wheat, Germs, and Peanut Butter



Mommy was always angry. I think it was probably because she gave birth to a child that was born with germs. She would say to me “Your germs make me sick.” I think they not only made her sick, but angry too. Germs must be a very powerful thing. She said that they were catchy. She would get upset with me, and tell me not to put my fingers in the jar of peanut butter. She said that no one else would want to eat it after me, that it was gross, and that it would spread my germs.

I didn’t know why germs were so bad or even what they were exactly. Who’s to say, and how does she know that she can get my germs? Shouldn’t mothers naturally be protected if their kid has germs? So, I stopped putting my fingers in the jar. At least sometimes, when I thought she’d find out.

Whenever I met someone that I didn’t like, I’d offer them some of my peanut butter. I was like a superhero, or rather a super-villain. I had the power to make people sick, and just by sharing my peanut butter. Who knew I had so much potential to be one of the next X-Men, Ink. I could just touch people with my germs, and they’d get sick.


This might be why I stopped wanting to give Mommy hugs and affection.

It’s too bad it bothered her so much. Maybe she never tried it with her fingers. I guess some people just don’t have a good appreciation for peanut butter on a finger.

One time I saw Mikey eating peanut butter right out of the jar with his fingers. I never told on him, because I figured, Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t mind so much if he ate with his fingers, because he didn’t have germs—only I did. Since he was older than me, he was pretty much allowed to do whatever he wanted. He didn’t get yelled at very often. 

Daddy thought I had germs too. Mommy and Daddy never agreed on much. But this is one thing that Daddy always agreed about with Mommy. At least sometimes. He never told me though. I just figured that he might’ve heard Mommy saying it to me—more like yelling it to me.

However, I always knew that they loved me— even though I had germs. They just didn’t want me to spread them is all.

Mommy got mad at Daddy because he would do things that she didn’t like. One time Daddy took the shopping money that he worked hard for,—even though Mommy called it
her money—and he bought wheat bread, instead of the white bread that Mommy liked. Mommy didn’t like wheat; not the bread, not the germ, none of it. Mommy got so mad at him. She yelled and hollered, and she even made him return it to the store and get her money back.

I could never get enough of those peanut butter sandwiches that Mommy would make. I never even cared what kind of bread that Mommy would use to make them. As long as she would cut the crust off, and change the way that she would cut them. That’s how I knew Mommy loved me—even though I had germs.

I never got mad at Mikey for saying mean things to me. I knew that he was right anyway. I knew that he was telling the truth when he said that I had germs, because that’s what Mommy said. I never knew why he’d still eat the peanut butter though. I just figured that he wasn’t afraid of germs, or he simply wouldn’t get them. It was also strange to me how he would eat the germ-filled peanut butter, but not get angry at me.

If Mommy and Daddy would’ve taken turns with what kind of bread to buy, then maybe Mommy wouldn’t have been so mad all of the time. I was always afraid to tell her what I thought though. Besides, if I got too close to Mommy to tell her, she might’ve noticed the peanut butter smell that stayed on my fingers.

Sometimes I wish Mommy would buy me my own peanut butter, so I wouldn’t give her my germs. Maybe she gets angry, because she’s getting my germs, and they make her sick.

Daddy went shopping again today, because we ran out of bread. He brought home wheat bread again. But this time Daddy was angry, just like Mommy. Now Mommy and Daddy were angry. I started thinking, maybe I was to blame, and somehow I must’ve given them both my germs. It must have been the reason, because Mommy just yelled at me again. I don’t know why, but sometimes it’s hard to hear what she’s saying.

Daddy said that the store ran out of white bread. Mommy didn’t believe daddy, so she sent him back to the store to return it. But this time daddy didn’t have the receipt, so the lady made him exchange it for something else. So, he exchanged the wheat bread for more peanut butter.


Daddy came home and Mommy saw the peanut butter. Mommy was so angry at Daddy again for not getting the money back, and for losing the receipt. I even heard something break in the kitchen. Maybe a few things. It seems like mommy gets mad at everything that Daddy does. I never understood why Mommy and Daddy didn’t take turns, like Mikey and I did when we’d play hide and seek.

Sometimes Mikey would tell me, I was gross, because he’d hear Mommy telling me that I had germs. I would still see him eating the peanut butter though, only he would use a spoon. I wasn’t offended, because I never wanted to give Mikey my germs. He always gave me a turn when we’d play, and I never wanted to make him angry. My germs made people angry; this was my power.

Mommy ended up giving me the rest of the older peanut butter. She even said that I could use my fingers as long as I’d wash them afterwards. Since Mommy, Daddy, and Mikey weren’t going to be eating from my peanut butter, they wouldn’t get my germs. It seemed to all work out well.

I was just happy to have my own peanut butter. This way Mommy wouldn’t be mad at me or catch my germs.

Now that I’m an adult, sometimes I wonder why Mom never had us eat peanut butter on a spoon. I like the way that the spoon feels on my tongue. It comforts me, the way that my tongue clings to the peanut butter, and the peanut butter to the spoon. I like using a spoon almost as much as I like using my fingers. I think the spoon still spreads my germs, but not as much as my fingers.

Dad left Mom.

I don’t know why he left. But, I think it was because he liked wheat bread too much. It might’ve also been because Dad got germs, just like me. It’s possible that he didn’t want to give them to Mom. Maybe the wheat caused the germs. Maybe Dad’s germs made her sick too. She probably didn’t want to get sick. That’s also why she wanted me to stay with Dad. Maybe I’ll never really know why he left. Mikey still lives with Mom, but that’s probably because he never got germs. 

I never understood why Mom and Dad wouldn’t just eat peanut butter on a spoon—or even better, with their fingers. Maybe they’d still be together.

Anne Cohen
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