How I Like My Tuna Sandwiches

I’ve finally begun taking up what I’ve been long avoiding: my writing.  When I’m at my most vulnerable, I find myself underwater, only skimming to the surface to catch the occasional ship passing through.  I prefer submerging myself because it is an easier way of handling all of the latest developments and changes that seem so fast I can hardly breathe…

So today, I decided to continue on my slow-going books (1-blog slurp and 1-novel).  Progress, or lack thereof, always takes a back-seat to my feelings and experiences.  Like the aforementioned tuna sandwich.

I had remembered how I’ve always loved my tuna-fish sandwiches: easy mayonnaise, solid-white albacore.  This sounds like a benign thought, but it’s part of an even bigger awareness.  Prior partners have always asked for more than just the simple tuna-fish sandwich.  Each request always asked for a “little extra” than just the tuna.  They either wanted me to add onions or peppers (sliced into ridiculously tiny pieces) which always pissed me off–because it required so much more oeffort than I wanted to give at the time.  Or, they would ask for some ingredient that would spice it up: some cayenne pepper, perhaps.  But it always had to do with something that I was failing to do or was sorely lacking which prevented my partner from enjoying their meal.

I had come to hate making tuna-fish sandwiches.  I don’t think I would even prepare any if I knew my partner at the time was home.  I found myself sneaking cans of tuna to work so I could prepare a simple sandwich, away from the judging, prying eyes of my mate.  Maybe it was because it made me feel as though my version was somehow inadequate.  Maybe it was because  it was a criticism of how I prepared food.  Maybe it was because I was just plain tired.  Either way, I was avoiding the task and tuna somehow became a metaphor for why my relationships were failing.  There was something “missing”, some type of flaw with my overall presentation.  I must be a horrible person.

In truth, I was none of these things.  If I were being treated with a sense of understanding, compassion, or love, I would have proudly provided all of the ingredients and more–had my partner asked for it.  But since I was not receiving any of that, the act was a chore.

That’s the trouble with not communicating…all of these minor resentments start building up and become an imaginary scapegoat.  You don’t treat me well?  Must be the tuna.  You don’t share your day with me?  Must be the tuna.  You don’t like the outfit I’m wearing?  Must be the tuna.  You don’t love me?  Aha!  Has to be the tuna.  Until all of your balled-up feelings manifest themselves into hidden hatred, anger, contempt, bitterness.  Every disappointment becomes tuna-shaped and suddenly you fail to enjoy the simplest of sandwiches.

But now I have that history long behind me.  So I went into my kitchen and opened up the last can of tuna I had sitting in my cupboard.  I placed two small dollops of mayonnaise on it and mixed it up.  I saw that this was good.  Then, I grabbed two slices of whole wheat bread, that I bought this morning, and slathered the tuna on them.  I took a bite and it was good.

I could feel myself coming out of the water heading towards the surface for the first time in months.  I sucked in the crisp winter air like it was my first breath and I filled my lungs.

“Sorry Charlie,” I said to myself over and over as I savored each bite.

Tastes just like chicken.

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About Lisa Perez

Lisa M. Perez is a published poet, editor, copywriter, public speaker and artist. The co-creator of the first ever ArtSpace in Jersey City, member of IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists), and administrator for an online Mail Art group, Lisa supports the arts and advocates for creativity. Her successful, Art Journal and "Notes from my Brain" series are ongoing projects that evolve with the artist. In addition to being an active blogger since 2005, Lisa scripts and edits copy for various online articles and videos. In September 2017, she was a guest-speaker and virtually chaired a YOGA Recovery meeting. In her spare time, Lisa studies, reads, and creates while maintaining a day job in a STEM field and being a full-time fur-mommy to her shih-tzu, Cher.
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