I sit in the parking lot of Taco Bell and watch the clock on my dash board. I’ve decided to walk inside at precisely 11:40.
Breezy’s lunch period this 4th grade year is 12:15 to 12:45. She wants her food to arrive in the office at 12:09. 12:09. She was very specific about that. She said she’d be at recess just before lunch and would tell her teacher when she got back to the classroom that she (Breezy) would need to retrieve her lunch.
The clock turns 20 minutes of 12. I walk in the restaurant, order the food and pay with my debit card. It’s not long before they’re calling my name.
I check the food and ask to have one of the tacos remade. It’s supposed to be a soft taco with meat, cheese, and sour cream only. Breezy won’t eat it if it has even one little piece of green on it. This one has full-on lettuce. The young man apologizes. He lets me keep the one with lettuce and gives me two without lettuce, for my inconvenience. Nice.
Gigi has become a Grub Hub deliverer. I make a u-turn and head out toward the hospital. On the right side of the road I see a cow walking down the sidewalk. He just looks hot. It’s only 84 degrees now but it’s going to be another scorcher in the burbs of HOTlanta today.
The cow works for Chick-fil-A. I think to myself that I might be delivering a chicken sandwich next week.
I make a left at the corner where the cow waves and drive the last miles to the elementary school. I turn in the parking lot at 12:02. Ummm. I’m a little early.
I feel a lump in my throat and a tear welling up in my eye. Since Breezy transferred to this school in first grade I’ve been eating lunch with her most Fridays.
I thought I’d have another year of that pleasure, but it is not to be. Twice during the summer she told me, “Gigi, I’m not sure whether I want you coming to eat lunch with me this year.” I understood her subtle message. 4th grade must be another right of passage for her.
Those of you who have been following the stories I share about my granddaughter may recall the right of passage she maneuvered as she entered second grade. “No more characters!,” she declared. “NO more characters! I’m not going to 2nd grade looking silly.” And so she didn’t. She had a cobalt and silver book and lunch bag; she must have felt grown.
And now, two years later Gigi has been relagated to a Door Dasher.
I thought about her as she played at recess, knowing that she was excited about her Taco Bell lunch. I brought food for her best friend too. Last night we texted her mom to find out what Bay would want. We settled that at 10 pm.
I was awakened at 7:30 this morning by the loud chiming of my phone. “Hello?” “Hi.” It was Breezy.
“Gigi, Bay never told us what she wanted to drink, but get her a Sprite, because I know she loves Sprite.” I assured her I’d do it. Whew! I’m glad we got that settled. She hung up and was off to school. I fell back in bed. Retirement keeps me up half the night.
There comes a time in every Gigi’s life where she gets replaced as a lunchmate by the best friend. It’s a happy, normal occurrence, and really quite healthy. But it still hurts a bit.
I go inside and am there for approximately 3 minutes. The goods have been left in the office.
I leave the parking lot headed home with a bag full of comfort tacos. On the radio Seals and Crofts sing, “We may never pass this way again.” A tear spills from my eye and trickles down my cheek.
I hope she doesn’t notice I dropped the food off 4 minutes early.