Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This freedom of ours

{in remembrance of the children in the African drought}

The sink was full of dirty dishes.
Books covered our floor like ill-fitted pavement.
The hand-knitted tablecloth from Afghanistan was hidden under piles of Emeth-drawings.

They were the evidences of our freedom, our abundance.

The dishes were dirty because we had food. In fact, I was free to make whatever I wanted for dinner. My only restriction was whichever meat I had defrosted this morning. I chose sausages. Long pockets of salty, spicy, (and yes, fatty) meat.

Books covered the floor because they were free. We were free to borrow as many books as we wanted from the library.

The little brother did not think he was free though. All he wanted to do was get out and disassemble big brother's train tracks.

Emeth requested that I draw a picture of our family. So I did. And I drew myself in a red skirt. As I was drawing, he exclaimed: "WHAT'S THAT?!"

I am grateful for the freedom to wear pants every day for the past two years.
Because mommy needs to run after you, darling.

Emeth is free to scribble. To his heart's content. On clean and smooth pieces of paper (he doesn't mind the letters on the other side). The drawings themselves are free in all kinds of ways. Our family can be without bodies, yet we're still holding hands. We can be armless, but we are always smiling.

Pictures, pictures everywhere! On the refrigerator. On the door. On the floor. Aren't they grand?

I am free to have a cup of coffee. At eight o'clock in the morning. Or in the case of today, eight o'clock at night.

I am free to buy mangoes. A dozen of them, in fact.

Whenever I peel one of these, I think of Ma. I've tried different ways of stripping the flesh off the seed, but I found that Ma's way was the best after all.

During mango season, my sisters and I would eagerly wait at the dinner table as she peeled fruits picked from our yard. Every mango was perfect. We especially liked loved the sour ones, young and crunchy. (I'm salivating just thinking about them) We dipped them in sugar and soy sauce. Or fish sauce. Or just salt. We loved salt.

I am free to wear white shoes. So what if they are ridiculous and impractical? Emeth steps on my feet all the time. And I somehow manage to roll Yohanan's stroller over my feet a lot. But these are washable, and if I need to -- there is always bleach.

Emeth and I were watching the BBC news report about the drought in northeastern Africa. I was not sure how he would react to the images of children with sad, sunken eyes in the Kenyan refugee camp. Afterward, Emeth kept squishing Hanan's arm and saying, "Hanan is so chubby, Mommy! Hanan is so chubby."

Yes, darling, you are so round and so chubby.


YeeLing said...

bwaaaaa.. ya, we have so much. thanks jie for sharing this thought.

but i lol-ed for a long time at emeth's drawings. <3 <3!!!! i'm quite amazed. haha


Seda said...

glad he was able to entertain you. we have so many of them laying around, and they look so different, too. i'm planning to throw most of them away, but finding it hard because they are very precious.

E! said...

what is Mama Tsen's mango method? i slice them in thirds, a middle one containing the core, then score the two halves and flip them inside out. is there a way to tell where thes eed is?