In seventh grade, after a tedious day of schoolwork and a brilliant day of weather, my friend and I resolved upon walking to Clo’s Ice Creamery. Our obsession that emerged from Friday ice cream with the cross-country team continued to flourish after season, as we had few commitments when the school epoch came to a close for the day. Before Clo’s though, we couldn’t resist slithering into the gym to harass the wrestlers. One of our friends, clad in illuminating spandex, protruding muscles and sweat, taunted us to wrestle him. We looked at each other and again at him, observing the perspiration-plastered ensemble. I shrugged and paced into the ring, my competitive spirit roaring. Muscled-singlet-man versus spirited slightly taller girl = not the best competition. The bout endured some swipes and fancy footwork before being trounced by a headlock-hip-toss. I considered myself to be the quasi-vanquisher when I had him pinned, back on mat. Within seconds, I straddled a mat (no more a human) as strong hands seized my head and arm and a hip bone excavated its way into my stomach. My brain attempted to convince me I was now on the Tilt-a-Whirl at the fair, while my body pursued the forcefully physical commands of Muscles, exploding in air over his hip and thudding into the mat, somehow with him on top of me. My arms uselessly crossed over my chest, and when shoved up over my face and thrust down, they fashioned an amazing suffocation apparatus. Though depriving me of breath, somehow the arm contraption managed to allow his sweat drops to trickle onto my face. Devoid of air with Muscles’ entire weight fastening me to the ground, I conceded. Muscles released me, beaming cockiness. “You’re a boy!” I squealed, lightly shoving his chest as I slunk by. I immediately regretted that decision, as my hand then boasted the sheen of his victorious sweat.
I snatched my friend and what was left of my pride and exited the gym to the boys’ laughter. We settled our matching white floppy hats on our heads and marched to Clo’s. My infatuation for food has been long-standing, and by that time of the day after the completely unnecessary physical exertion, I was ravenous. Emptiness devoured the inside of my stomach as my friend and I deliberated over which meal to get. Hyperventilation slinked along the edges of my mind as I pondered chicken strips or hamburger. After joyfully settling on a hamburger, my friend and I retreated to the back and rifled through the games to conclude which summoned us. Ten minutes later I ecstatically ran to the counter when I heard “burger” announced. A mother vanquished my elation as she whisked the stroller in front of me and retrieved the plate, steaming ever so slightly, the luscious smell molesting my nostrils. She had been waiting longer. I sloped, returning to our table, my concentration on not salivating directly on the game pieces. The subsequent “burger” summon, I couldn’t tolerate the tease. It wasn’t until “with cheddar and avocado” caressed my ears that I delightfully stood and soared to the pick-up counter. I rotated and set the burger basket down while I ladled ketchup for my French-fries into a container. So intent on the sprint to eat, I hadn’t discerned my placement of the basket on the edge of the counter. So absorbed was I, I didn’t sense or feel it plummet to the ground. I heard the plastic strike the tile and grimaced, hand motionless over the ketchup container. I looked at my friend, devastation radiating from my eyes. She laughed and shook her head. I gazed at the ground, observing the heap of fries splattered with lettuce, ketchup, cheese, avocado, beef, and tomato. I looked at those behind the counter, tears threatening my eyes. One of the workers smiled gently, extending a basket of French-fries and chicken strips to me, peace offering.