You and I were a predictable couple. We woke at the same time every morning, texted good morning conversations until we could no longer procrastinate getting up, followed the same morning routines, griped about morning traffic idiots, texted each other throughout the day, came home every evening and packed our lunches for the next day.
I had a pink lunch cooler and you had a red one. Mine is much worse for wear, but yours stood the test of time.
When you drove home for visits, you would pack two coolers - the lunchbox and a mini Igloo. We learned how to save money while traveling by packing snacks, sandwiches and drinks. You loved my strange whole wheat sandwiches, apple slices, bananas and bean burritos. You fueled your nine-hour drives with bottled water and Dr. Pepper. You loved your Dr. Pepper. Even though you had given them up for Lent on more than one occasion and got on a water kick, you always came back to it.
Today, something made me look up at the top of the fridge where I saw your lunchbox. Immediately, a flood of memories came over me. I had a sudden realization, one that had not occurred to me before this moment: I will never get to make my strange whole wheat sandwiches for you again. I won't get to give you a hard time about Dr. Pepper. We won't wander through the grocery store together searching for the perfect balance of healthy snacks vs. things you loved to eat like gummy bears and Butterfingers.
Will I be able to use your lunchbox as a replacement for my dilapidated one without having a meltdown? I'm not sure. How many little things am I going to find around the house that will bring me to tears, things I thought I had put out of sight? I find a greeting card, a piece of candy, a shower poof, deodorant, shampoo, mowing sneakers, some little piece of something that you left behind thinking you would be back for it again. The list is endless.
I'm not sure what the formula is for making pain go away. Instead, I think I will make a whole wheat sandwich.