I had Chinese for lunch today. The noodles were perfect, the chicken tender. It was the same as it has ever been.
Yet…it fell short.
I sat in the same spot I always sit. The owner came over and asked me how things were, as she always does. She asked about my son, my job…my girlfriend. I laughed and said “I don’t have one of those”. She made some comment in broken English that I didn’t quite catch, then laughed and walked away. I smiled and noticed how cold I was. I choked down the last of the eggroll and wondered why it tasted so bitter.
Looking over at the spot where you used to sit, I realized that the food had tasted good all those years because of you. You seasoned it with your laugh. It was never the food, it was always you. I loved to sit next to you and watch you smile, a smile so bright it warmed my cheek. It lit up every room you ever entered. I noticed how dark the restaurant had become.
I sit here, alone, plodding through some chicken dish loaded with vegetables. You always told me I needed to eat more vegetables. I absently rub my cheek wondering where you are. I am sure that somewhere someone’s cheek is warm. He is eating the best meal he has ever eaten in his life, but he doesn’t quite know why he thinks that.
and I thank you, for all the memories.