'Wishing for a Wagon Wheel' by Marissa Hoffmann
I was a kid on the packed lunch table. Actually there were two packed lunch tables. There was the one where the fussy or rich kids sat. Their mothers packed brightly coloured lunch boxes, which nestled into each other. I don’t think there were many fathers packing lunches then.
On our table, aside from the girl who had an Um Bungo carton and a Wagon Wheel everyday, we all had a white sliced sandwich (Marmite or lemon curd in mine), an apple and a drink. Our mums went out to work. Mine was a nurse, mostly working nights.
My sandwich looked least nice because my mum wouldn’t cut the crusts off (it put hairs on my chest). But, for fun, I would press my sandwich together, between my index finger and thumb, multiple times, all over, until it was a really thin version of its former self. Then, I’d drink the warm lemon squash in the smelly tall blue Tupperware, wrapped in a plastic bag because it leaked.
There wasn’t any point in complaining about the smelly, sticky Tupperware, Mum had lost her sense of smell as a child having a deviated septum corrected. My right nostril was blocked too but every lunch time, I vowed that I would never have the operation to correct it and I would be the mum who would be able to smell yucky Tupperware AND cut the crusts off and definitely cut the sandwich into mini triangles too. I’d also be the mum who would put in a Wagon Wheel to cheer me up if say, Mrs Wilson made me copy out my poem as many times as was needed (in pencil, because my handwriting wasn’t ready for ink pen, trying not to let my hot tears drip on the page, while Jennifer Lawrence got a gold star) until I could work out what was wrong with it.