My prayers had been answered, I was now the proud owner of The Road Runner Lunchbox.
I cradled it in my arms, like a square metal infant, and couldn’t take my eyes off of it… and that yellow handle just made my heart sing. I would frequently practice walking up and down the hallway, checking the mirror to see if I was displaying it properly.
When the first day of school rolled around I played it cool around my peeps.
I think I nailed the lunchbox walk entering the school. As I remember it, it was slo-mo with a lot of 70’s fashions and wind-blown hair.
The true test was going to be lunch time.
I fookin’ owned Gym Caf A.
They see me rollin‘..they hatin’
Until Liz B informed me that Peter K had the same lunchbox.
I don’t know what bothered me more, this bit of news or the fact that Liz B was so damn happy to share it with me.
Peter K was the kind of kid who made explosion noises and pretended he was a tank or an airplane…pretty much non-stop.
His hair always looked like a hamster ran through it and his nails were always filthy dirty.
No one could ever really have a conversation with Peter K because he wasn’t much of a talker.
He’d just go “beep, beep” and take off if you were even able to get that close.
it was just Peter K. and I that shared the same Road Runner lunchbox.
So… according to Liz B this meant that I was somehow Peter K’s girlfriend…and she made sure the whole damn school knew about it.
After lunch we all filed out into the playground. Those who carried lunchboxes lined them up against the outside school wall. It was quite a display. Kind of like a miniature, ankle high art gallery of 70’s pop culture. When recess was over you ran back and collected your lunchbox.
Or what you thought was your lunchbox.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized my brand new Road Runner lunchbox didn’t look so new anymore.
Which meant, gasp, Peter K had mine.
When morning came my lunch was packed in Peter K’s lunchbox.
I couldn’t wait to place my lunch in it’s proper home.
As soon as I arrived at school my first order of business was to find Peter K, find my lunchbox and make things right. I had to make things right.
“Peter I think we switched lunchboxes.”
I grabbed him by the arms and looked him square in the eye. “Peter I want my lunchbox back.”
“I am the Road Runner, chase me”
Boy… I am not fookin’ with you!
And so I chased Peter K right into the coat closet where he safely returned the object of my affection, much to my relief, in pristine condition. After we made the switch Peter K handed me a folded up piece of paper.
“You like the Road Runner, this is for you”
I opened up the paper and on it was the most beautiful colored pencil illustration of the Road Runner.
“To my lunchbox friend, Irene…From Peter”
And before I could say anything…..
He was gone…
but on my heels was Liz B.
“Hmmm…a love note?”
“Yeah.” I said, dismissing her and folding it up