Illustrations by Keating Zelenke

My boyfriend calls me his Sandwich Girl. It’s probably because I’m a whiz at mashing up a banana and slathering its mushy sweetness onto toasted, peanut butter-coated slabs of Ezekiel bread. Once I unite the two slices together, I securely wrap it in aluminum foil like I’m bundling up my future toddler in her coat, earmuffs and mittens to then scoop her up and head out to brace the winter wind. 

It’s my dad’s recipe. 

While we were leaning against the counter at the ice cream parlor, my boyfriend said I’m his Tree Hugger. We had been gaping at the never-ending list of sundae flavors, but that decided it: we’d get the Tree Hugger sundae and split it. The ingredients were all favorites of mine: a mound of vanilla bean ice cream1 sprinkled with crumbled pecans2 and maple syrup dribbling3 from its peak. Plus, not one, but two cherries on top.

More boyfriend-original nickname entries dated Sept. 8, 2022:

My Greenie
Greenie Pie
Greenie Gal
Greenie Beanie Boo

Sometimes it’s just Greenie. 

Green is my color. It reminds me of trees. The scooper at the ice cream parlor complimented me on my, at the time, just-bought forest green chicken shirt. A shirt that doesn’t feature just one, but 10 chickens: five per row. My boyfriend says I’m cool because during Zoom meetings, I hike through the woods sporting my chestnut Ray-Ban sunglasses with the tops of the trees as my background. I don’t think much of it, other than that it’s my preferred environment. I like to move. 

Other times, he calls me Green Bean. 

When I was in preschool, Mrs. Brazeau told my dad that I loved green bell peppers. I’d discovered them during snack time. So, Daddy started buying green peppers for me. He’d slice them into thin strips, the length of about four three-year-old bites, and pack them in stackable Rubbermaid plastic containers, the ones with brick red lids. My boyfriend doesn’t know that. Maybe he’d call me Green Pepper if he did.

On Fridays I would get a treat: Nocciolata4 smeared on one slice of whole wheat bread cut into rectangular halves. My homemade school lunch. I guess I became a Sandwich Girl at an early age.

1 Those black specks really make a difference.
2 On the topic of nuts, do you say pistachio nuts or pistachios? I’ve always gone with the former. I didn’t think anything of it till my boyfriend came along.
3 In the winter, I drizzle maple syrup over cold snow and scoop it up with fiery, red hands.
4 It’s real Nutella. Cacao and hazelnuts. From Italy. Just like my grandmother, Sasha. It reminds me of her.

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