(pictured- me, ready to chug that bottle of wine, 1999)
Every Friday at SHS they served pizza for lunch. On rare and beautiful Fridays, they would serve those round personal pizzas that had those sorta tough crusts all the way around, and the sauce that was spiced to perfection. That was probably my favorite school lunch of all, but none of my friends liked it because they all whined that it had “too much sauce”. I didn’t know how to articulate it then, but I knew those weaklings would be weeded out through natural selection eventually.
When it wasn’t a rare and glorious Personal Pizza Friday, it was Tony’s pizza. Everyone loved Tony’s pizza. It was just your basic cheese pizza. Nothing special about it. But now I can’t think about it without smelling it’s sickening and greasy cheese and acid-y sauce.
I never really liked Tony’s pizza. I ate it on Fridays, though, because hey, it’s pizza. It was much better than getting second choice, which was probably a chicken sandwich, or the dreaded third choice, which was always a soggy triple decker peanut butter and jelly.
One Friday after lunch, I started not to feel well. My head pounded and felt super heavy, and all I wanted to do was lay down and sleep. I told my first grade teacher I felt sick, but she asked me to stick around until the end of our rehearsals for our first grade play, “Feathers, Scales, and Furry Tales”. I thought this was total BS at the time because rehearsals ran until the end of the day!
We made raccoon masks by cutting out colored foam, and then walked it over to our teacher to use the hot glue gun to put it together. I wasn’t feeling it. But I lasted until the end of the day.
On the bus I felt worse. I sat with my head against the window, and a nameless boy sat next to me. A few rows behind me, my older sister sat with her group of friends.
Bus 15 was driven by Mr. Pendergast, a grouchy, grouchy old man who had been driving a bus for a million years (it was probably actually closer to 40+, but still that’s a helluva long time to be driving a school bus). It bumped along the backroads of Sandy Hook and I sat there, keeping my chill, but also being dangerously jostled.
I remember it happening. I felt it low in my stomach. Then it came up to my throat. Then suddenly, a steady stream of Tony’s Pizza acid liquid came pouring from my mouth. It was all over my top, all over my pants, all over the floor. I don’t remember if the kid next to me knew. I didn’t think he did at the time, but he must have. The smell was just terrible.
I peer to the back of the bus to my sister, mouthing to her that I threw up. I don’t remember doing this, but she tells me that I did, and she apparently kept asking, “What, just now???”
I got off the bus at my stop, ashamed and splashed with barf, and as I passed Mr. Pendergast, I cringed to think of him finding the chunky-tomato mess.
I ran to the front door, where my Au Pair, Iolanda, stood waiting for me. I cried. And cried and cried and cried. She saw me and my shirt and all the vom on my pants and helped me clean myself up.
I was literally home sick from school for like two days after that.
There are two morals of this story.
One, believe a kid when they say they aren’t feeling well. They might end up blowing chunks all over the bus.
Two, never, ever, eat Tony’s pizza.