I eat ramen noodles and remember Chinese noodle soup breakfasts. I want fried rice from the girl on the street and dumplings from the man who always parks his cart next to hers. They are easy to love. After awhile, I stopped telling them I didn’t want MSG.
I think about salty fish and how I’ve never actually let myself try one. I’ve also never cooked fish for myself, but I like it. And now I want to pour a pile of salt on a bed of carbohydrates and eat it. It seems like I should love salty fish, but they kind of disgust me.
Maybe I didn’t ever want to try them because of that one time when I was nine that my brother scraped a baking fish off a floating dock and threw it at my head. I splashed in a panic, thinking it would maybe attack me like the half-dead bird I once found under my foot in a hunting field. I panicked away that time, too. But neither bird nor fish could attack me. I’m still afraid right now.
Salty fish have eyes and scales and bones. They make me squirm, but the Cambodian woman living in Paris misses them everyday. I want to love them, too. At least I know that, at some point, I can give myself another chance to try.
Thank goodness for that.