Monday, March 25, 2019

Take-out



The Chinese take-out restaurant in my town has been there for about 15 years. It was a vaguely mid-eastern restaurant before that but that closed not long after 9/11. The Chinese place has developed a following, it even has a dine-in area that is popular with some patrons, although it is rare to see more than a couple of people eating. Usually, it has one or two people in it, waiting for their order to be ready, sometimes there is a flurry of activity when several customers come in for their phone orders.

But yesterday, after a solo customer left, it was empty. The woman behind the counter will took my order then brought it back to the kitchen. I sat, alone, waiting for my order. Sometimes she is in a bad mood and I can hear her castigating the cook. But this time she was happy, and when she is very happy I can hear her sing a Chinese pop tune, perhaps from her youth. She has a beautiful voice. As she sings the humble take-out joint becomes a spring day in the country, with birds joining in on the choruses; even the bees hum in accordance. The woman is a girl again, and is walking with her beloved through fields of flowers and everything is right in the world.

And then the song is over. The woman returns from the kitchen with my order.

“Soy sauce?” she asks.

By Professor Batty



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