You knew it would come to this, though you hoped it never would. Well, here we are.

Tonight is the night. Our night.

There's no need to coddle me, I know I’m not your dream frozen meal. Heck, I’m no one’s dream frozen meal: I’m a Lean Cuisine for Christ’s sake. Shrimp Scampi at that, a third tier choice at best, even amongst my fellow boxes of eatable self-loathing. Why choose me when you could have Teriyaki Chicken?

But you did.

It’s okay, we all have regrets: just ask the guy at Lean Cuisine who pitched me as a joke during a product brainstorming session.

What I’m trying to say is, I’m not delusional. I’ve sat here freezing for months as you’ve past me over for meat-lovers pizzas and even a pint of ice cream—for dinner. I won’t shame you for that, it’s not my place. No, my place is to be an evolutionary step above paper. My role is to technically be food.

I’m fully aware that being 250 calories with seven grams of fat is admirable, but not necessarily likable. Especially in times like these: 8pm on a Sunday, looking for any endorphins you can muster before work starts again tomorrow. I know who I am, and now you know who you are: someone succumbing to convenience over any semblance of flavor.

You’ve never even had shrimp scampi before and I’m the low-rent, vacuum-sealed version that you’re about to introduce to your pallet. This is going to be a bad experience for you, and you know it. But you also know that I only take 6-8 minutes in the microwave to prepare.

Sure, you have other dinner options you could scrounge together, but it’s either me or another bowl of cereal with a spoonful of peanut butter. You can’t eat that for all three meals today. Variety is the spice of life, take it from me: a lab concoction that has the consistency of a dozen rubber erasers mixed in glue.

I’ve seen the disappointed look you give me before slamming the freezer door in my face because “there's nothing to eat.” I’ve heard you talking to your roommate about how you want to make better choices. Well, here I am, the healthy choice. I know these are desperate times, but just think, this could be the new you: a person who eats Shrimp Scampi Lean Cuisines.

You don’t have to tell your friends about this, I don’t mind being kept secret. I’m used to it. No one will know about tonight except for you, me, and the trashcan—which aren’t you glad you didn’t throw me away when you cleaned out the freezer last week? Actually, don’t answer that.

Look, things are going to get back to normal. Someday soon you’ll be eating brunch with your friends and spot shrimp scampi on the menu, and maybe you’ll think of me. Probably not, but maybe. You’ll almost certainly go with the chicken and waffles. I don’t blame you, it’s the perfect combination of savory and sweet. I am a bland mixture of shrimp and Potassium Chloride.

I'll be a distant memory, if even a memory at all.

The future is bright, but this is not the future. This is the here and now. And here and now is where we meet, frenemies of the freezer aisle. Just follow the instructions on the back of the box: they’re so simple you won’t even realize what you’re doing until it’s too late.

This will all be over soon, and afterwards, things can only get better.

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