I have never done this before.
It's a calm autumn afternoon in my high school foods room.
I'm volunteering for a children's cooking class by helping them cut their apples.
I already cleaned the cutting boards, washed the fruit, and handed knives to the more experienced participants.
It’s finally time to face it.
Despite being 17 years old, I have never cut my own fruit.
Apples always taste better sliced, but I never thought to do it myself.
I feel my inexperience shine through my frail slices and messy space.
But despite my setbacks, I get the hang of it.
Maybe this cutting thing isn't so bad.
Slice after slice, apple after apple, I get faster and smoother as my tween peers follow the rest of the recipe, never sparing a glance at the quiet volunteer with a weird grin.
The action becomes second nature to me when I'm called by the volunteer coordinator to help her.
Just one more, let me cut the one I'm holding.
Pain. Just a prick, but it's there.
Blood. A gush of red begins to incessantly ooze from the tip of my fourth finger.
Panic. What do I do? I've never had a serious injury on my own before. What did I learn in health?
Water. It hurts. More importantly, it doesn't stop.
I squeeze my finger to apply pressure, but it keeps going. The coordinator sees and instantly asks what happened.
"You put water on it? That makes it worse!"
She rushes to grab as many paper towels as she can, crushing my finger the whole time.
I thought I could do it on my own.
I sit faint and disheartened. The coordinator calls me a "real trooper" while I’m surrounded by children’s pitiful gazes and waiting for my father’s rescue.
On the way home, I sit in amazement at the speed of her response.
She knows how to cut apples safely and treat wounds. She radiates with adult maturity.