Message in a Lunch-Box   Leave a comment

This morning I had carefully packed my baby carrots, salad sandwich, and clementine as usual in my lunch-box. I had dropped off at the gym on my way to work to do a quick workout, and then had carried on cycling to work. I had ran up the stairs to my office rather than using the lift. A quick wash in the ladies toilet and a change of clothes and I was ready for my working day.

I worked hard and fast at my job as a company secretary all morning, ignoring the idle chatter in the office. I grabbed a coffee mid-morning and didn’t stop until lunch-time. I took out my lunch-box and it felt decidedly empty. I gave it a shake. There was something in it, but not my lunch.

I opened the lid carefully. No lunch, but a rolled up piece of paper with an elastic band around it. My tummy rumbled as I unrolled the piece of paper. I spread it out to read it. The writing was in my own hand. It said, ‘cheese burger, chips, 3 cheese pizza, sausage rolls, and large cappuccino’. I shook my head in disbelief. Where was my lunch? How could I have written that note, and why? What would I do for lunch now?  I started to panic. Was I losing my mind?

“Are you okay?” asked Michelle who sat behind me.

“Uh… yes. Just forgot my lunch.”

“Well come with me to the canteen and we’ll get something then,” Michelle suggested.

“I suppose so,” I replied slowly.

I checked out the salad dishes available but everything looked limp and tired looking, and I smelt the aroma of a chicken curry. It wouldn’t hurt just this once I told myself. Michelle and I sat down at a table and started chatting about office politics. I couldn’t remember the last time I had had a proper conversation with Michelle. I wolfed my curry down and let out an unexpected burp. Michelle started to giggle. It was an infectious giggle and I started too. We couldn’t stop. Eventually wiping the tears from our eyes I checked my watch.  We were five minutes late. My eyes started welling up with tears of inner anxiety.

Michelle looked at me and put her hand over my watch.

“It’s alright it’s only a few minutes. You work way too hard, and you’ve been dieting too much too. I’ve been worried about you for quite a while.”

Her words struck me with force, I didn’t like them, but they rang true. I stood staring at her for a few minutes as tears started rolling down my face.

“I know,” I mumbled. Michelle put her arm around me and passed me a tissue.

I returned to the office and nobody said anything to me. Now and again I would stop and look out the window and observed the birds in the green summer foliage of the trees, or notice children running or skipping on their way back from school.

After work I cycled home slowly enjoying the sun on my face. When I got in I told my husband about the note in my lunch-box.

“Ah, I can solve that mystery. You went out in the middle of the night and I saw you scribbling something on a bit of paper. You must have been hungry in your sleep and you wrote down your innermost desires. Please stop being so rigid about everything.  You are wasting away to nothing, and you don’t laugh anymore.”

“I think I need help,” I admitted.

He looked relieved and hugged me. “Baby Joe would want you to let him go, he’ll always be in our hearts.”

Posted December 17, 2016 by eileenmoynihan in Uncategorized

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