In Her Shell
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tonight at a Chinese restaurant I overheard a father asking, on behalf of his small son, whether the dish he wanted to order was cooked with peanut oil.

"We order from here all the time," he said. "This is the little guy with the peanut allergy."

The manager hurried over to the table. "No no no," she responded, "All the Chinese restaurants use vegetable oil. No one uses peanut oil anymore. Maybe 20 years ago, but not now."

Fourteen years ago this week, my best friend Jenny died after eating part of an egg roll fried in peanut oil. She was fourteen years old.

We asked the server too: was anything we were ordering cooked with peanut products? She went and asked in the kitchen, then said no.

The egg roll was a side dish. At least, that's what they argued in court, later.

Jenny and I were only best friends for a year, but we were intense best friends. Sometimes I wonder idly whether we'd still be friends now, had she lived. Maybe, had that night gone on uneventfully, we'd have drifted apart as friends in high school so often do. Instead, I'm linked to her, to the memory of her, forever.

When I imagine an afterlife I try to wrap my mind around which Jenny will meet me there. If she's still fourteen, what will we possibly have to talk about? If she's watching me from somewhere, does she understand my adult decisions? Or perhaps she's become ageless, drifting in and out of me on the wind.

I haven't had a friendship since that was so unconditional and uncomplicated.

I still miss her.
some people don't understand how much some people are allergic to peanut. one of my friend said it was unfair to a whole school to stop eating peanut for an only person allergic. Just stopping eating peanut product will save her lived, it's that simple.
There is no reason now to mistake peanut product, cuz the industries have either peanut free product or trace of nut.
When you told me this story I found it so unbelievable. How could anyone die from somthing as innocuous as an egg roll?

I'm so sorry Sweetie, sorry that you lost your friend at such a young age and in such a horrible way.

You do know that if she is looking down on you, she is doing so with love nad pride.
I'm sorry to hear of this loss. I'm glad you had such a good friend that you can always remember fondly.

Wow, that just shuts me the hell up. Incredible and sad.
Jill, you are absolutely right--sometimes even the smell can trigger an attack.

I guess it is good that awareness has been raised to the point that they are not serving it in most restaurants anymore.

Thanks, all.
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