A world-peace bumper sticker popular some years ago read “visualize whirled peas!” Okay, so do it. Whirled, or at least puréed, peas formed part of Brooke’s lunch today—the first full lunch, presented on a proper hospital tray--along with whirled mashed potatoes and (yum!) whirled macaroni and cheese. He didn’t complain. He thought it was wonderful, a simple thing like sitting up at 90º in bed (required for eating), savoring (optional), and swallowing (the focus of this particular element of rehab therapy). Every spoonful put into his mouth seemed to bring pleasure, though because he still has his feeding tube, it would be hard to say he was hungry. Soon, they’ll bring him food he has to chew, yet another milestone in his return to the world.
Funny, eating fine food in an elegant restaurant or a meal lovingly prepared by friends has always been a source of great pleasure; but not here: it’s the simple act of eating, or more precisely the condition of being able to eat, that’s the source of the pleasure, and that terrific, heady whirled-mac-and-cheese flavor just an added bonus. Besides, it's good practice for a new and very different future.