Getting the Sandwich Home, Part 1
Now that he was ten, he could do more.
There was a list that he kept by his bed, for all the things that adults said he could do when he was older, like watch The Fugitive (his Dad’s favorite movie) and drink wine. Those, he wrote at the bottom of the list, and he was filling up that bottom half of the paper quickly.
But sometimes, when he was younger, his Mom would say, "Only ten-year-olds can do that." These were things like walk to school, have his own email address, get an allowance, and cook his own ravioli. For some reason that Zachary couldn’t fathom, it didn’t matter that his friend Alice already could do all of these things, and his friend Trevor cooked for himself all the time and answered his Dad’s email at his Dad’s dictation. He also didn’t necessarily want to cook for himself or answer e-mail, but he didn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to.
He was home with his Mom, looking at the remnants of his party which he was allowed to have up for one more week. She was on the couch, and trying to nap, even though there were streamers to throw around.
"I have something for you to do that only ten-year-olds can do, Zachary."
He turned to her, streamer in hand, suspicious. "Is it on the list?"
"No. This is something new, and I’d like you to do it for me. Do you remember how to get to Mike and Patty’s?"
He did. Mike and Patty’s used to make a delicious fried banana sandwich that they didn’t make anymore. Instead, he started to get a Croque Madame when they went, which looked really gross when he first saw it on his Mom’s place, but turned out to be the most delicious thing in the world.
"I can’t -or I don’t think I should-make anything for lunch, and we don’t have anything in the house. Will you go get us two sandwiches, and an iced coffee for me? Go to my purse and take out a 20 dollar bill. As reward, you can keep the change."
He went to her purse and took out the twenty dollar bill. He shouted goodbye.
There were three big streets with lights that he had to cross to get to Mike and Patty’s. He was so excited to be treated like a big kid that he was trotting, watching his new red Converse sneakers slap the pavement. They were miniature versions of his older cousin’s shoes, and he knew they were cool.
Anyone watching Zachary would have wondered how he didn’t run into the construction workers, the man trying out a bike from the bike store, how he knew to hop over the leashes of a dog walker that were in his path. It looked like the poor boy could only see his shoes.
When he got Mike and Patty’s, he ordered, gave the guy the money and stuck his hand out for change. He put a dollar in the tip jar and stood back to wait. Zachary liked it in this restaurant. It was tiny. He didn’t feel so small in a place like Mike and Patty’s, which only had one table to sit at.
He got the sandwiches and walked out. He could eat his on the way home, couldn’t he? And his Mom didn’t know that he ran, so he had time. He wandered around the tiny streets of Bay Village, a neighborhood so small that it reminded him of a train set city. With two dollars in his pocket and a brown bag with sandwiches clutched in his hand, he wandered the maze.
Eventually, he pulled out his sandwich and sat down outside of a brown door to eat it, watching the yellow yolk from the fried egg drip onto the gravel -splashes of color amongst the grey.
Zachary jumped a foot in the air when the wooden door opened.
It was Trevor, from school.
"Oh man, I’m glad to see you. Come inside!"
Zachary looked inside the door, and dropped the brown sandwich bag while he walked inside.
Continued next column!