In the autumn when I was five, one day, I woke up to a sore mouth. Mouth ulcers. Worse still, I had more than one.
I started out the day as usual, but when it was time for a meal, the pain was so much that I could barely eat anything. These mouth ulcers felt more painful than the normal ones, and as the day went by, more ulcers erupted in my mouth. Soon, my mouth was on fire.
“I can’t eat anything!” I cried over supper. A whole day had gone by, and I hadn’t been able to eat any of my meals properly. For somebody who loved eating, this was deadly frustrating. “I can’t eat anything!”
The next day, my mother took me to the hospital, and there we learned that the cause of the fire in my mouth wasn’t regular mouth ulcers, but Herpangina.
“You won’t be able to eat regular meals for some days,” the doctor told me. “Let her eat jelly or ice cream,” he advised my mother. “Something very soft and cold.”
That day, we got back home with a bagful of large packages of jelly and ice cream. Never in my life had I seen jelly and ice cream bought in such generous quantity. When my mother offered me both jelly and ice cream for lunch, I got so excited that I almost forgot about my sore mouth.
More jelly and ice cream were offered at dinner, which I indulged in with a big smile. When my little brother saw what I was eating, he also wanted to have jelly, but my mother told him no.
“Your sister is having a very sore mouth and she can’t eat other things,” she explained. “But you’re not. So, you’re going to have a regular meal with me, okay?”
This comment made my smile spread even more. I was getting a special treatment no one else was entitled to! I could eat as many packages of jelly and ice cream as I wanted!
It took a few days for the ulcers to start losing their power and for the pain to recede. When the pain no longer interfered with my eating, I went back to my regular meals, which felt refreshing after a complete immersion in the sweet taste of jelly and ice cream.
The large collection of empty containers of jelly became my toy in the bathtub for a long time after I recovered from Herpangina. Whenever I saw them, I would be reminded of the sweet pampering paradise I got to have because of the nasty sore mouth.