In my senior year of high school, our summer assignment for AP English was to read How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Foster. The only thing I remember from that book was:
Doesn’t matter if there’s no Jesus in it.
The idea of people coming together to share their thoughts and feelings in an intimate way over food. Food is the basis for all our connections, a tangible thing that we bond over. When I tell my high school friends about how I’ve gained the Freshman 15 since starting college, they don’t believe me. Not until they learn about how we have four dining halls and four takeout places. Then they believe me a little, but not really, because they think I burn off all the extra calories from climbing the stairs on campus every day.
I remember reading somewhere that people tend to eat more when they’re around other people than when they eat alone. I believed that Food=Communion, so I thought if I ate the Food with other people, I’d get the Communion part automatically. I really just wanted the Communion. But no matter how much I stuffed my face with BPlate’s ganache tarts or chipotle chicken, I couldn’t find the intimate sharing of thoughts and feelings. I just gained weight.
My favorite analogy to describe how I feel is: imagine going through life as if you have a sieve. Like all these Food moments with people should be filling up the hunger inside me, but it all just seeps out and I can’t seem to hold onto anything.
I want to talk about how chemistry is just a bunch of atoms understanding atoms, the people that fall between the cracks, and whether unconditional love exists. I want to tell someone how I feel fragile like glass all the time, but I want to be resilient like the Bodhi tree, under which Buddha reached enlightenment. I want to be the quiet in the faint chill of the morning, the wonder of people when they look towards the heavens, the softness that settles in the letters I write. I want to feel connected with others. I look around me and see the thousands of students being the suns of their own galaxies, and wonder if our orbits will ever cross.
For now I will keep carrying my sieve. I will say hello to you, and I will invite you to grab food with me at BPlate. I will invite you to make a communion of our own.