Smelling the past

I cracked open an ancient text, my high school yearbook. The pages appear in black and white, except for the color senior photos, which I was that year. Smiling teens with big hair later scribbled messages bidding me to “have fun” and “good luck”.  A long-forgotten aroma of art class escaped the pages into my nostrils and transported me instantly to the time, when nearly every day before lunch, I had Elmer’s glue stuck to my fingers and it dried into little balls.

I would try to wash the dried glue off, but the cheap, powdered pink soap in the girl’s bathroom was never effective at removing it. I would walk through the hallway toward lunch rubbing my thumb and fingers together, shedding pieces of dried glue like dead skin.

Gluey tater tots are a long-forgotten staple of high school

At lunch in high school, I almost always ordered the tater tots, which is a finger food, because I didn’t care for iceberg lettuce salad. Some of the glue would melt onto the hot tots as I would lift them to my mouth. I did that almost every day for four years: eat gluey tater tots. In the business of moving on with life, I’d forgotten about all of it completely until today when I opened my yearbook and was once again getting glue all over my fingers in art class and looking forward to lunch.

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