you felt the timber tumbling octave in my voice caught me as I fell
Realizing, that she, was the one for him, translated…
That evening at supper, my seven-year-old son asked me, “Dad, why did you marry mommy?”, I’d, replied, “because your mom’s a great cook”, and, I’d, hurried my son to finish up his final specks of foods in his bowl. My son didn’t prod any further, I’d wondered, where did his curiosity came from? And, as I’d, brushed him off like that, could it, have an effect, on his view of family and love later on in life? I’d silently, looked over at my wife, she was, focused on the foods on her plate, not seemingly, to care about our conversations, but, she’d, caught my gaze, she’d complained, “Didn’t you just call me a great cook? Then, finish up your food, you’d always left a lot of food, and made me finish it all!”
Although, some people have certain degrees of requirement toward their spouses’ cooking, but, being a great cook had never been, one of the characteristics I’d looked for in mate-selection; but, the question from my son made me bashful, so, I could only, give him a politically correct answer. Actually, before we wed, I’d not had a meal cooked by my wife, I’d only seen her buy her foods. Anyway, what made me made up my mind to marry her, was in that particular instant.
committed to one another, not my photograph…
There would be the developmentally delayed children with the cookies they’d made, selling them by the intersections, and, based on my observations, most adults would shake their heads at them, then, moved swiftly across the pedestrian cross. Back then, she was still my girlfriend, she’d, stopped, and took money out of her purse. I’d made fun, “You kept complaining about your weight, and yet, here you are, buying more cookies”. She’d replied, “they looked delicious.”, I’d not paid it any heed, until Mid-Autumn Festival of the following month, I saw the mooncakes from the hotels, and asked if she’d wanted to buy them? She’d shaken her head no, with the reasons of she feared getting fat.
I couldn’t understand her logic, like she’d done everything, based on her whims, this sort of a woman is too emotional, and I, am somewhat, macho, I’d, not, needed to, comply to her on everything. I’d wondered about what to do? And, we’d, past that intersection where the developmentally delayed children were selling their cookies, she’d gone, and bought two more packs.
I’m slow, sure, but now, I’d understood, where she was, coming from then. As we crossed the roads, I’d asked her, “You didn’t really want the cookies, did you? You’d pitied them.” She’d returned immediately, “What’s so pitiful about them? Everybody is making a living, using her/his own ways, they’re, JUST like any of us.”
like this??? Not my photo still…
At the moment, I’d thought I’d, angered her, but couldn’t help, but start laughing, because it’d dawned on me, how stubborn, how persistent this woman was. Her beliefs shamed me, and, it’d, awed me at the same time—she knew, that the greatest weapon was, taking pity on someone, and, she’s, with a lot of empathy, a good woman. The reason why I’d, laughed in secrecy was because I’d, found me a gem, and, felt compelled, to hold her close to me for life.
Naturally, as we married, when I switched tracks, she’d, listened to me talk about my troubles, and, not judged me with the money I’d brought into the household, we’d saved up all we could, in the end, we were, finally able to, buy our own little nest together. I never saw her waste any food, nor see her buy anything she didn’t need, just saw, how she was able to, make those, amazing dishes, with her tight budgets.
And so, it’d seemed, correct, that to say, that I loved my wife’s cooking too, it’s just, that this simplistic answer, perhaps had, demeaned just how precious she truly is to me.
So, this is on how closely the man had, observed his wife when they were dating, and, it’s her kindness that made him fall for her, and this love that started with this sort of a mutual respect for each other, is bound, to last.
A dish, made, with a TON of love, translated…
Mom called to ask, if I wanted some peppermint? “Of course!”, I’d hung up my cell, and, my second aunt came to my mind.
Mom has two older sisters, the closest was my second aunt. My second aunt married off close to my grandmother’s house, and lived their lives, as hardworking farmers with my second uncle, she’d often used the spare time she had after work, and carried bags and bags of homegrown produces, rode the night trains up to Taipei; her appearances would always cause all of us to holler so loudly, and, those homegrown fruits and vegetables had helped save a lot of money for my parents, who aren’t really that well-to-do.
marinating the chicken in mint…phoot from online…
One summer, mom took me home to visit when I was in the elementary years, I’d wandered around, there were, fowls kept at the front of the field. And, suddenly, a red-faced duck came toward me, half-crazed, bit down tightly on my skirt, I was so thrilled I’d started crying loudly. At which time, my second aunt came out of the kitchens with her cooking spatula, and “shooed” off the ducks, at the same time, trying hard, to comfort me who was already, flustered and freaked out.
The aromatic scents came from the house, it’d, made me forget about the scare I just had. “So aromatic, what are you cooking, second aunt?” “I’m making peppermint chicken for you guys”. I’d entered into the kitchen, saw an assortment of yummy dishes, on the tables, it’d made me, drool. Her way of showing us the hospitality was, kept getting the foods from the plates, into our bowls. I’d smiled and told her, “Enough, I can’t even see the rice underneath now!”, my second aunt told me, all of these, are simple and plain dishes.
Later, I’d learned that it takes a lot of preparation, to make a peppermint chicken. Once we’d arrived at my second aunt’s early, my uncle said, “Your aunt went to harvest some mints at the fields, she should be returning soon.”, a short while later, my second aunt came in, with two large bags of mint, seeing us, she’d, swiftly, picked enough mints and washed the leaves, and, killed a rooster swiftly, and, set up the stoves, to start cooking the garlics, the chives, then, started, stir-frying the mints.
My second aunt salted the entire rooster, then, stuffed the rooster’s inside full of the stir-fried mints, then, she’d, started, cooking the rooster. As the fire crackled on, she’d kept turning the chicken, to prevent it from burning, she’d become like an octopus, working on other dishes as well. As the crispy mint chicken was plated and served, I couldn’t help, but get the mints out of the stuffing, and stuffed them into my mouth, and, it was sweeter as I chewed. My second aunt immediately ripped off one leg, placed it inside my bowl, with love flowing from her eyes.
After I married, I’d lived closer to my mother’s home, every time as she was going to visit my second aunt, she’d always called me up, “Your second aunt asked me if she needs to make the mint rooster, she’ll make one for you.” “Of course,” I’d exclaimed excitedly.
Many years later, I’d not felt right, troubling my aging aunt, I’d said, “just the mints would be fine”, I’d cooked by my aunt’s methods, but, I could, never quite make the mint chicken like she was able to.
This day, I’d recalled my second aunt, working in and out of the kitchens, I’d, lifted my head toward the skies, said to my second aunt, “Thanks for making your, amazing mint chicken for us!”
Because this family member had, prepared the food with such great care and love, that, was why those who were served it, loved it, and, this is probably why, the writer couldn’t quite, make the same dish like her aunt had, because, her aunt had, cooked with care, concern, and love with them in her mind…
You were placed, in a cage, kept, behind these, steel bars, and, it’d, set you free surprisingly. Being locked up, it helped set your life BACK into perspective, you’d done, so many evil things, to hurt some unknown strangers, as those who loved you, and cared for you too, for a very long time.
A cage, that set you free, you’d waited, a long, long time, for the day, that a hand from the outside to come, to reach toward that latch, that’ll, unlock, and set you free, but, as the day grew longer, longer, and longer, you’d felt, more, and more, AND more despair, ‘cuz the hand, it’d, never come.
not my photograph…
A cage, that set you free, how can you be set free, locked, inside this cage of your mind, huh? A cage, that set you free, how? Cages are supposed to, keep you bound, right? So, how come now, you’d locked me up with this love of yours, and, I still feel, so free???
A cage, that set you free, that, is what love became, you’re, willing to, let love lock you up, and yet, as you’re, bound by these, handcuffs of love, shackles and chains too, you feel, so free that you could, fly, high as an eagle! How’s that possible, huh???
with the key, out of your grasp…not my artwork…
The siblings who are so close, without the rivalry here, translated…
The two kids are two years apart, the older sister is about 5’2, the younger 1brother is 5’9, standing together, it’s hard to believe they’re older sister and younger brother, and, as we went out, we’d gotten used to calling my son “the eldest”. But the name of “eldest”, is not for everybody, this name was, rightfully, earned by him.
One summer it was too hard, with nowhere to go, the whole family went shopping at the malls. None of us loved the name brands, and so, nothing held our gaze, and yet, for my daughter who collected the Gundam robots, she saw the high-end collectible, and couldn’t take her eyes off of it.
like how these children are playing togehter, sharing the toys??? Not my photo.
At which time, my son who’s right next to her stated, “You like it? I’ll buy it for you.”, which shocked us, my daughter called out to me, “eldest brother!”
My son was excellent in school since he was growing up, he’d often received scholarships from his school, but he’d saved up every last dollar from his scholarship moneys, and wouldn’t spend it carelessly. That day, he’d pulled out the money so generously, this shows how close the older sister younger brother were toward each other.
And, my son’s reputation of being the “eldest”, tagged along behind him since that day.
So, this, is how close the siblings were, the younger brother, because of his height, was called the eldest brother by the family, and surely enough, he had, lived up to the name, taking care of his “younger” sister, giving her what she’d wanted, because that, is how an older brother should love his baby sister.
something like this, for his older sister, photo from online…
On celebrating a special occasion as a couple, translated…
Loving One Another
like this??? Photo from online…
In Looking Deeply into One Another’s Eyes
Love, Flashed on the Two Smiling Faces
Even the Roses in Her Hands
Are All, in Full-Bloom
Grinning, Ear to Ear
Love, is what this is about, when you’re in love with someone, anything that they do can put that smile on your face, and, they’d better enjoy this while they can, because once that knot gets tied…you SHOULD know the rest!
not my animation…
Connected, by our favorite food item, translated…
After the stroke he’d had, after long-term in recovery, my father started, regaining his lost strengths back again. But, his damaged brain was like the cracked eggshells, can no longer be repaired.
Thankfully, he’d still, remembered us, and had recited the name of everybody in the house over and over again, and at the end, he’d playfully added, everybody’s fine…
In order to make a perfect bowl of steamed egg, it takes more, than beating the egg, and adding some water to the egg mixtures, you’d still needed, to filter the egg out, in case there were air bubbles in the process of beating the egg, causing there to be holes as the steamed egg was cooked. But, if you’d needed to get every single dish you make proper cookware, then, there wouldn’t be enough space in your kitchens, and you wouldn’t be using the items you’d bought but a handful of times per month, and so, as we’d made the steamed eggs, we’d, done away with the filtering process.
But, I’d still loved the smooth and soft steamed eggs, especially the kind that’s served with the Japanese meal boxes, inside a tea cup, scooping it up with the small spoon that’s provided, there were mushrooms, chicken, shrimp, clams, with a colorful tempura as décor on top. This sort of a steamed egg has the stock of fish with every single bite, and, the foods would, slid down into the throats, making you want to keep on having more, and, in a very short time, you’d, finished up the entire cup of it, then, you’d started, on the rest of the delicacies on the plates. I can only recall how my mother, my older sister, and I would head out to have these special meals. A meal like this wouldn’t be costly, but, it’d cost over a hundred dollars more than the regular boxed meals, my father who’s known to save up every last penny wouldn’t eat it with us, but, he’d always, taken us out to have these Japanese meals, and, if we brought him along with us, then, we’d, needed to, put up with his soured face through the entire meal, like how we’re, eating our last suppers, or, we’d watched him, frowning, as he’d, selected the cheapest items on the menus, and it’d, made us all ashamed, and lost our appetites.
In order to fulfill my own desires of having steamed eggs, since the elementary school years, I’d started, making it for me. The steamed eggs I’d made, had so many pores that it’d resembled the rocks being eroded by the oceans waves.
Back then, the supermarkets weren’t huge on foreign foods, and, there weren’t many international people who are working here like today, Thai, Vietnamese, as well as American style foods, we’d needed to go to certain restaurants to have it. And, the sorts of condiments we have at home, is the black soy sauces, or the cooking oils, the salts we’d gotten, at the farmer’s markets with the food vouchers. Even those eggbeater, it’d become, this new “toy” that surfaced into our home later on, but was, soon enough discarded, because it took too long to clean it after use.
Using a pair of chopsticks, beat the eggs, add some water, beat it a couple of times more. The chopsticks making the clinking noises, as we’d, sped up the beating of the eggs, listening to that, we know, something is going on, it’d made us, proud, and, for the final touch, a pinch of salt for seasoning.
Because I’m the only one who’d wanted this dish, so, I can only use the produces I can get, the chicken and the mushrooms, I couldn’t get, the fish balls, I have NO clue where I can buy from. The proportions of the egg, water, and salt, I go by feel, like the last time I’d made it, my family said it was, too salty, then this time, I’d, add a little less of salt, if the last time, they’d told me it wasn’t, savory enough, then I’d added a little extra salt this time. Even the water used to steam the eggs up inside the electric rice cooker, I’d gone by my feel, thus, I’d always either added too much on the inside of the cooker, not enough, the eggs I’d steamed were usually always, scarred and holed, like the uneven roads, the colors didn’t spread evenly enough, and, there was, that white in the light yellow too, and, there was, that layer of bluish gray, like a bruise, it’d tasted, hard, and awful. Although, I could never get it just right, my mother had, allowed me to try it again and again, and again, it’d saved her the energies, to come up with another dish, and besides, someone always finishes it at the end of the meals.
In my middle school years, I’d, stopped, going into the kitchens, and, even for my suppers, I’d needed to study late at the schools, so, I’d, bought the packed meals at school. Until I’d gone away for college, and returned home only on the weekends and holidays, and I’d just, needed to, get served my meals, and every now and then, I’d, insisted on going out with friends to dine too. I’d started, cooking less and less on my own.
the kind that’s served in a Japanese restaurant…photo from online…
I’d gotten used to the heavy flavors from eating in the restaurants, and felt, that the foods cooked at home were, tasteless, and I’d, just, carelessly taken a few bites, then, put it down, I’d never considered, from my mother’s angles, how much she’d, put in, to make these meals. My mother allowed us to be, she’d stopped cooking the foods we didn’t like, and in the end, she’d made the foods that I liked, and, bought the items ready-made, because I’d returned home, once every long while. The Japanese shop we’d gone to when we were still younger had, closed for business, plus, we can now, get the tasty steamed eggs from the 24/7 marts. And, that sense of cherishing became like the egg mixture, with too much water added, too diluted, to be cooked into stable form, and, that imagination I’d had toward growing up also, became like the air bubbles at the surface of the beaten egg mixtures, stiffened, as it’d gotten, cooked by reality, became porous.
Until two years ago, my father had a stroke suddenly. That was during the New Year’s, and that New Year’s Eve became, the last time we’d spent together, JUST the two of us.
From the moment my father was rushed into the E.R., he’d fallen into a coma, and, I’d tossed and turned, on that temporary bed, put together with two plastic chairs, a way too small blanket that couldn’t cover up my toes which were growing cold, and my shoulders either, I’d slept uneasily throughout the nights. Each and every time I’d awakened, I’d watched my father, deep in his sleep, I’d felt, comforted, glad, that he was finally, able to sleep quite well. And, my father would always start laboring at the crack of dawn, if there’s no household chores, he’d gone for his long morning walks, and, in the noon hours, he’d used his arms as a pillow, and stayed by the side of the bed, wouldn’t allow himself to sleep too long. At night, if there’s something we’d needed, we’d given him a holler and he’d, wake right away, with no looks of fatigue, like that soldier ready for duty, flipping over, waking up, to fight the battles of a war. But, his enemies, are the hardships of life.
the less extravaagant kind we make at home, photo from online still…
That day, he’d slept for a very long time, sometimes, I’d felt that sudden scare from my imagined feelings of safety, gone up to his face, made sure he was still breathing, then, curled back into my plastic chair, kept waiting again. Over a little more than ten hours, my father finally woke up. I’d recalled that he hadn’t eaten for a long time, after I’d gotten the okay from the doctor, I’d grabbed my purse, rushed to the food court in the basement of the hospital, I’d, walked around the shops, kept worrying that my father may be weakened from not having enough food for a long time, and worked hard, to think of what kinds of foods are soft and easy to chew, as well as, nutritious too.
At which time, I saw that steamed egg at the cafeteria. Opened up the steam basket, the steams came to me, suddenly, I was like that Japanese fairytale character, arrived to the shores that I’m on, without much time I can waste.
I’d taken the steamed egg back to the room, propped my father up on his bed, with a small spoon, fed him, bite by bite, watched him, like my deceased maternal grandmother had, grinded the steamed eggs down, then, swallowing the bites, and, he’d become, in a daze, after he finished just half of the servings, he’d told me he was full, and, I’d tried, to get him, to take a few more bites.
That was, another father. Like the man whom I’d watched sleeping, but, he was, no longer the exact same man. In his dreams, his troubling thoughts were, with the egg mixtures added in, originally very thick, and it’d now, become, diluted, with that lighter yellow, like it was, just formed.
I’d put down the steamed egg, pulled a tissue, to wipe his lips off, carefully asked him who I am. He’d called the first two characters of my name, and, he could only, vaguely recall the vowels from my last, and, confused, spoken aloud a couple of words that sounded like it, and, I’d felt bad, having to keep on guessing it, I’d just, smiled toward him, then, helped him lower himself onto his pillow, to continue finishing his sleep.
After that stroke, after the long and arduous recovery, my father slowly, regained his physical strengths. But, his damaged brain became like the broken eggshells, can no longer be repaired. Thankfully, he’d remembered us all, would recite our names several times a day, and at the end, he’d always added, “everybody is fine” playfully.
After this long, I’d started making the steamed eggs again. Still using my chopsticks, making the loud noises, with my father hooraying me on, then, we’d both laughed, that I was, just, showing off, that it wouldn’t affect the taste one bit. Then, I’d added, some stock, or the fish soy sauce to the mixtures, and the rest of the sides depended on what I have, sometimes, it was the diced up chicken pieces I just bought home, and, I’d prepared some mushrooms too. With the egg and the other food items mixed in proportionally, I’d placed it into the rice cooker, added half a cup of water on the outside, and, not long thereafter, the steam rose from the electric rice cooker, and although I still can’t make my steamed eggs silky smooth, but it’d tasted delicious just the same. Because it had the holes, looked fluffy, some of the times got condensed into it, one attached close to the next.
We’d used our rice bowls to eat, without that atmosphere from the Japanese food shops, but, it’d tasted, about the same.
So, this, is the foods you shared growing up, and it’d become, this connective memory that you and your families have together. This still showed, how we often connect with the foods we enjoy, making it for the ones we cared for and loved, because that, was how love was shown to us when we were growing up too.