Sorrys, amends and food

Mother chucks tomatoes at a fearful child.

Kimberly Cui

Mother chucks tomatoes at a fearful child.

I’m lucky. My parents are the quintessential image perfect human beings. Perfection entails the lack of mistakes. Mistakes entail apologies. My entire life has been devoid of either things from them because they do not apologize, thus they have made no mistakes. At the end of any dispute (always initiated by me, of course), my parents graciously present me food, with their merciful forgiveness infused with every taste. I think it is too above me to even try to review and rate the food they give, but still I’ll try. 

A dirty shirt littered my floor making my living standards obviously incomprehensible. How can I even live with myself? It was only reasonable for me to lose phone privileges for a week. Still, Dad was forgiving enough to bring my dinner to my room. As he handed me the bowl, it seemed as if he was about to say something, but he swallowed it down, coughing a bit. The instant ramen was my favorite brand: Shin Ramyun. An egg was cracked and mixed in the noodles, with oil bubbles condensed with flavor seeping throughout the soup. The noodles were cooked to the perfect consistency, with still a satisfying chew in each strand. Bubbles of flavored oil well across the noodle container: perfectly unhealthy and delectable. A solid meal: I can’t even imagine having a phone that could distract me right now! 5/10. I guess it was filling enough. 

Fruit!!! I love fruit. 

Turned 17 today. Mom just brought a slice of cake to my room. She put down the plate with a curt, “eat.” I’m lucky enough to have received any food at all. Today’s a good day! When I came home from school, I had forgotten to remove the meat from the freezer and turn on the rice cooker. Well anyways, the cake. It had clearly been left outside of the fridge for some time. The cream is a bit wilted, dropping over the edges, but the presentation was still nice. A segment of the assorted fruits from the top of the cake is scattered over the plate. Bits of yellow cake layers poke from under the cream, covering slices of strawberries tucked between the layers. A great sign. I take my first bite, the perfect ratio of cream and cake. The dessert is light and airy. It forms a paste in my mouth as a chew. It’s sweet and airy and coats my tongue. 6/10. Could be better. 

I really like fruit, by the way. Have I mentioned that yet? 

I woke up at 7:02 a.m. today to Mom’s aggravating screaming. She doesn’t like it when I sleep past 7:00 a.m. and didn’t pack me lunch out of rage. It’s okay, I didn’t want the fourth reboiled Costco freezer dumpling lunch of the week anyway. I went to the Wellness Center and ate some Goldfish for lunch. Those four beautifully colored salty smiling fish-shaped crackers were honestly the highlight of my miserable empty-stomach-run-day. After my “pick me up from school” texts were ignored three times in my family iMessage group chat, I trudged home with little energy in my soul. Once home, I was startled to see a plate of cold, but well-seasoned and practically gleaming, stir-fried salmon complemented with seven soy-sauce marinated quail eggs and a messy slob of sticky rice (there was also a pair of battered chopsticks but one of them fell–or was thrown–under my desk and I had to crawl around to find it). Allured by the sight of quail eggs, I charged towards the food. I could tell it was Mom’s cooking based on the watery consistency of the rice. Despite the rice, however, the plate was filling and more than satisfactory. The juicy and fresh flavor melted throughout the piece of salmon reached and delighted every taste bud in my mouth and its combination with the flawlessly flavored quail eggs brought pure bliss to my previously empty soul. Perhaps it was Mom’s way of apologizing. But she still didn’t acknowledge me for the rest of the day. I guess we’ll never know. Well, the salmon should have been fried for longer. And the quail eggs could have been arranged better. It was a decent meal, I suppose. 4/10. 

A plate of assorted apple slices, grapes and mango clatters onto my desk. Mom’s eyes swam (or stormed?) with some sort of emotion that I couldn’t quite place. They quickly freeze over though, and she briskly strode out of my room, the door slamming. I don’t remember what fight preceded this platter of fruit, but the fruit was indicative enough that there was a fight. And the pointed look I received clearly meant that all was grudgingly forgiven for whatever misdemeanor I just committed. It was apple season and each bite was crisp and refreshing. The grapes were the best kind: large, green and round, with a crunch in each bite. The mango was tangy, a bit of a kick to balance out the crispier fruit. It was sweet, yet not overwhelmingly so, coating my breath with the sugary taste. I imagine that it’s almost as sweet as what Mom’s apology would have been.