A Difficult Decision

He tried to resist them. He really tried, but being an overweight teenager with as stressful a life as his, it was hard. As Walter maneuvered his fingers around the crinkly packaging of Lay’s sea salt and vinegar chips, his mouth watered. He could imagine the strong taste of the vinegar combined with the salty delicious crunch of deep fried potatoes. He discovered a sliver of saliva on his chin and quickly inhaled it back in, hoping no one spotted him. His fingers eagerly dove into the greasy bag and pulled out one beautiful round chip. The little salt crystals rested on top like kings on a throne and the smell excited him as he thought of eating them. Not able to hold off any longer, he devoured the chip and pulled out another, then another, and another.

After three short minutes and seventy eight and a half satisfying potato chips, Walter held in his hand the last half-a-chip with great admiration. He closed his eyes and sniffed it. His senses tingled with excitement as the smell wafted into his two nostrils. His ears imagined the nice “crunch” that would come soon. His greasy fingers tingled as he held the last piece of beauty in the bag. His tongue excitedly bounced around inside his mouth, ready for another chip. Walter popped it in his mouth and munched happily on his chip. He heard what sounded like rumbling and opened his eyes to laughter. His face hot with embarrassment, Walter wanted to redeem himself in the eyes of the popular. He crumpled the exotic material of the snack bag and tossed it toward the trash bin.

A mere 3 feet in front of the trash can, the crumpled bag sat on the sticky floor causing the popular neighboring tables to explode with laughter. Walter let out a sigh. His body ached from the lunchroom seats and Walter took this opportunity to stretch his legs. He sucked in his belly just enough to slither out and reluctantly bent down to retrieve his garbage. Laughter enveloped him as his fat rolled out the bottom of his loose t-shirt. Blushing, he sprang up and properly disposed of his trash.

Walter’s mind and feet wandered, trying to find a way to be cool. His brain flipped back to last Tuesday. The bleachers in the gym were unbearably sweaty at this time, fitness gram time. This is what Walter dreaded the most out of the whole year. The push ups, the curl ups, the trunk lifts, but his worst enemy, the pacer test. Lined up for the pacer test, Walter fidgeted nervously. From past experience, Walter knew this wasn’t a pretty scene. He wiped his hands on his pants and prepared himself for the dreadful running. The whistle blew and Walter sprinted. He bounced across the length of the gym as fast as he could. He reached the end, bent over, and coughed.

Walter ran and ran and after what felt like hours later, he collapsed on the floor, a drenched lump barely able to breathe. His blurred vision provided him with just the sight of Coach Murphy’s mouth moving, talking it seemed. Walter couldn’t hear Coach Murphy and he was awfully confused. A cold splash of water prickled his face and his eyes shot wide open. His ears, functioning again, hurt. The whole tenth grade was screaming, Walter suspected they were worried about him. As he adjusted to his surroundings, he realized it wasn’t what he’d thought at all. Laughter had erupted and Walter was the cause. Coach Murphy, shouting over all the obstreperous students, yelled, “Great job Walter, two laps this year!”

Sitting back in his hard plastic seat, Walter stared at the tiled cafeteria wall and let one tiny teardrop escape from his eye. He quickly pushed a napkin up his cheek and soaked up a dribbling teardrop. He remembered the feeling of embarrassment and tried to think of a solution. As another tear slipped out of his eye, he extended his tongue and brought it into his mouth. The salt that resembled the chips he had devoured reminded him that thinking makes Walter hungry. He opened his square metal lunchbox and saw what was left of his lunch: an order of McDonald’s fries, a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing and rainbow sprinkles, and another bag of Lay’s sea salt and vinegar chips. Walter’s stomach roared and he held back from the temptation of food. Walter, gazed out the gated window with desire. The autumn weather lured him outside.

Walter pushed the cafeteria doors open and felt the familiar sidewalk that he traveled on every day. He wandered around the block for a while, the food he held totally forgotten, and as he turned the corner, he spotted the familiar elderly man. The man walked and talked in circles. His coat was worn and filthy, his toes poked out of his muddy shoes, and his coarse, black hair stuck up through a hole in his hat. Walter’s feet sped up, they knew where to go.

Walter called the man out. The man who was now confused, mumbled endlessly and returned to sitting on the pavement. Walter went over and gave him the contents of his lunch box. The man happily squeezed open the bag of potato chips and ate the entire bag without any thank yous. Walter hesitated, but finally returned to the cafeteria. After a little walking, Walter opened a door, snatched a tray, and served himself a salad.

Charlotte Lambert
Age 13, Grade 8
MS 245 The Computer School
Gold Key

Leave a Reply