I had Vietnamese pho today for lunch. And wine.
Enviously watching Vietnamese women elegantly eating the soup with chopsticks and a spoon while animatedly arguing about something.
I eat it western-style, like a pasta dish and with a fork. Still it splatters everywhere. And there was wine. Which always makes me want more wine.
Now I am settled on the couch with the vague hint of chilli and cinnamon on my breath.
Terminally tired. From what I don’t know.
I have things to do. THINGS.
I’m feeling a little melancholy if I allow it. Which I don’t, for the most part.
I made rempeyek the other day, a childhood favourite that was only available when my mother made it. And then when a sweet boy full of sunshine made it for me and reminded me how it tasted.
My mother never wrote the recipe down anywhere. Or not that I’ve found anyway. So it doesn’t feel like ‘my mother’s’ particularly. It was hers, but not hers, if you know what I mean.
Then my sister and I made my mother’s frikadel, her Dutch-Indonesian-personalised meatball recipe scratched out in her scrawly writing in one of those old-school notebooks. Hard to read, with crossing out and bits added as she refined it.
It was a staple in our house, nothing special. Which is how it works isn’t it?
Those splinters of normal everyday life that make their home gently under your nails after they are gone. They get a shove into the quick when you least expect it, a shock of pain that you never saw coming, always it’s unexpected.
I made it again on my own later. I don’t really like to cook, but it’s simple. I thought it might take the sadness out of it. But no, it’s still there. Not heavy, but it lingers after the sharpness.
So I am a little drunk and melancholy and now I will find something to binge-watch and forget about it.
Had I a boy he would not have to do much to help: Bring me water, sit close by me on the floor and offer some warm bare skin to pet gently.