“Where’s your lunchbox?’
‘In my sports bag.’
‘Can you get it so I can wash it up.”
‘Ideally before I go to bed.’
Later, about to go to bed. ‘Any joy with that lunch box?’
‘Think I might have left it at school.’
‘Don’t stress. I know where it is.’
‘Not stressing, just relying on you to bring it back tomorrow.’
Tuesday: Ham and watercress on brown bread, apple slices, flapjack, peach and apricot yoghurt, 2 blueberry muffins, banana, liquorish bar tucked into spare Tupperware container.
‘Any joy in finding your lunch box?’
‘Sorry. Didn’t get a chance to go to lost property. Really busy day.’
‘Can I have the one from today then?’
‘It’s in my bag. I’ll get it later.’
‘We tried that one before. Now is later.’
‘Okay. Okay.’ Breaks from I.Phone. Looks up. Focuses. ‘Mum, I’m a bit busy right now. I’ll bring it through in a bit.’
‘You don’t have it, do you?
‘I may have left it in my classroom.’
‘With the other one?’
‘Don’t worry, Mum. Honestly, I’ll sort it.’
Wednesday: Pasta with chicken, sweetcorn and butter beans. Apple slices, 2 fruit bars, buttered malt loaf, fruit salad, strawberry yoghurt stuffed into plastic carrier bag and tied at neck so contents don’t fall out.
Son’s bedroom. 9.15pm
‘I’ve come for your lunch stuff.’ Room resembles a jumble sale mid flow, the floor hidden by mountain of clothes. Son, texting invisible friends with spectacular speed, appears unaware that someone else is in the room rummaging through bags.
‘What? Oh, Mum can you leave my stuff.’
Ignore instruction and dig out foreign objects.
‘Whose are these?’ Hold up two blue containers and a packet of antibiotics.
Noncommittal shrug. ‘Must have picked my friend’s bag up by mistake. What’s inside the containers?’
Two slices of gleaming chocolate cake. ‘These looks homemade.’
‘Shame to let it go to waste then.’
Leave off-spring in state of chocolate bliss but with list of missing items gathering momentum. Text friend’s mother about the antibiotics and eaten cake.
Thursday: Chicken and rice salad, black grapes, apricot yoghurt, carrot, orange slices, buttered malt loaf, chunky honey sandwich, chocolate bar packed into spare Tupperware found in garage.
Driving to train station. 7.25am.
‘Do you have everything?’
‘Sure? You’re not wearing a tie.’
‘In my bag.’
‘Money for bus home?’
‘Sorted. Honestly, Mum. Don’t fuss.’
Back home, find packed lunch on hall table. The words neck and wring spring to mind.
Friday: Sod it. Yesterday’s lunch in yesterday’s container.
Hall floor, jutting out of school bag, spot what appears to be the remains of this morning’s Tupperware container.
‘What happened to this?’ Incredulous. ‘It looks like it’s been put through a crusher.’
‘Ah.’ A pause.
‘Not my fault. I got it out of my bag to eat my lunch while I was waiting for the school bus to arrive and a car reversed over it.’
‘That’s a joke, right?’
Earnest shaking of head. ‘No, it really did. Some idiot in a BMW drove right over it. I didn’t even get to finish my sandwich which was really annoying.’
For once am completely lost for words.