Friday, January 28, 2005

Desperately Seeking Foil

Cupid, Girlfriend once said, was a real good liar. I think for my next 10 entries, I might just skim off Girlfriend song titles, since I'm running low on suggestions. Still, the lovely Callum wanted me to write about foil, and since I don't have any fencing stories, this will have to do...

Desperately Seeking Foil

Back when I was still convinced the world was flat and that if I kept on running I'd fall off the edge, lunch time was the most important time of my whole day. I'd anxiously look at the clock throughout the school day, drumming my fingers on the desk, desperate for the moment when the bell would go, and we could all run to the green lunch order basket and pick out what we'd ordered in the morning. It was a simple beautiful system, we'd tick what we wanted on the bag in the morning, and then at lunch time, it would come back in the same bag. It was a magical system, but not without faults. It was open to plain, human error, and every day, kids would line up and wave the bags in the lunch ladies face, saying "I wanted a CHEESE toasted sandwich! This is ham!" and I would shake my head sadly, wondering if it was such a big deal.

One early day in Grade 2, I was engaged in a group discussion with Lee Devine and Amber Bennett about how green dull Dave had got the grass at our school when the lunch bell rang. Naturally, our appreciation for Dave's horticulture skills took a back seat to our desire to get out in the sunshine and play. I think we had a very intenese of kiss chase to get through that day, or someone had brought a basketball. Not sure. Either way, it was vitally important to get out in the sun. As the lunch order basket flopped on the ground, my class descended on it like seagulls on a chip, picking it apart until only one bag left, mine. I saw my beautifully imprinted captive cursor surname GUARD loping across the bag in it's familiar green pen, and smiled as I picked up my Big M and my bag, and went to go outside. I put my hand inside and grabbed...well nothing, certainly not the Saveloy I had been expecting (this was before my conversion to vegeterianism, which would have been mocked by the lunch ladies, especially Barb, the Scottish one). In fact, all that was in the bag was two or three sad looking crumbs, and a big lump of foil, rolled up in a tight ball. I was dumbfounded, the system had let me down. I stood in shock for a moment, until someone, perhaps Alex Crawford, poked me in the arm and asked when I'd be organising kiss chase. I shook my head, and pointed forlornly at the empty bag. He gasped in shock, and asked what I was going to do. It was a good question. I really didn't know.

I took my bag up to the lunch ladies, nervously. It seemed as though I was the only person who wasn't happy that day, as they all stood around making jokes that in hindsight I've realised might be considered "working blue" if you know what I mean. I held up my bag weakly, and took the lump of foil out of the bag and held it up for examination.

"I think someone ate my dinner," I said, weakly.

"Yeah right," said Barb, laughing.

"No, really, I opened up my bag, and it only had two crumbs in it..."

Barb wasn't buying it, her hard, cracked Scottish face refusing to budge. I held my ground and pointed to the foil again. Surely, this was an open and shut case.

"Look...I didn't get my dinner!" I said, confidently.

Megs B, in the midst of a phase where she had to run everywhere, ran past and asked what was going on.

"I didn't get my dinner!" I said, mopingly, holding up the foil.

"That's terrible!" she said, stopping running. "Are you getting a new sav?"

"No she isn't!" said Barb, anticipating a Mexican stand off.

A couple of other kids, desperate to run away from girl germs in a game of kiss chase, wondered where I was. They too, asked what happened, and studied the foil intently when I told them. It was then, that out of the crowd, came Amber Bennett. Amber and I were not seeing eye to eye over an incident involving a skipping rope, but she parted the crowd with her cool ways, and stood dead centre.

"I heard - you can't have your dinner?"

"Yeah, all I got was FOIL" I said, the foil catching the light. We stared at each other in an oddly tense manner for a moment, until Amber Bennett held up her lunch order bag, her three lettuce leaves or whatever she had that day, and threw it down on the steel topped counter.

"If Y can't have her dinner, I don't want mine!" she said. I motioned for her to stop - I mean I appreciated the gesture, but it wasn't 40 hour famine time, there was no need to be rash. She wouldn't be stopped, and pouted, staring directly at Barb. Claire, who wasn't my friend at this stage, also pushed the crowd, with a half eaten Bubble O Bill, and slammed it on the counter, watching as pink drops stained the carpet. Alex Crawford put his Big M on the counter. In all, 10 or 12 kids broke the system and handed back their lunch in support of their colleague. I was beaming. I stared at Barb, who under the strain of having to pick up 12 bags and put them in the bin (I didn't say it was a good plan), was beginning to crack.

"But we don't have another Saveloy!" pleaded Barb, softly, but it was too late. We were making our stand, taking on the man. Defeated, she clicked her fingers, and called out Ira, her companion.

"Make her another Saveloy," she said, shaking her head.

We took in our moment of triumph for about three seconds, and then everyone sprinted away, realising they were wasting their lunch time. I stood on my own, a little bewildered as to what had just happened. Barb just glared at me, for ages, and then handed over my Saveloy. I wanted to make peace with her, as even at an early age, I realised that annoying the people who prepare your food wasn't smart. On my way out, I yelled out a strange sentence that puzzles me to this day.

"I love the way you wrap things in foil" I said. This isn't one of those cute little internet "on my way to the theatre" stories, I really did say that. I have no idea why, but I did. Ira nodded though, and pointed to Barb, and behind her back, mouthed something that has stayed with we for the rest of my days.

"She ate it," mouthed Ira, pointing.

It seems if you are honest about foil, and are willing to stand up for yourself, the world reveals some strange truths...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this thing on?

Hello, Y! Thank you for doing my foil request! If you're still in need of suggestions, here are some:


2:01 PM  

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