My father brought a spoon with him, across the pacific ocean. A turquoise, plastic spoon.
I remember that spoon. In the first apartment in which I lived as a child — that one-and-a-half bedroom where the half doubled as the living room, whose couch hosted me for my first vampire movie and, unwilling as I was, gave me nightmares ever since, my six-year-old self — that spoon was present.
The kitchen window faced the hallway, an imposter that never received natural light. In the condiment cabinet lived three jars — one for sugar, one for MSG, and one for salt. Each of them had its own spoon. The turquoise one belonged to the salt.
He showed me the only-too-familiar utensil from his luggage.
Your mom told me to wash it before bringing it on the plane, but I couldn’t get a proper measure of salt without the weight of the clumps, he said.
Bear with the dingy spoon,but it would help me cook delicious meals, he said
I had been planning for my parents’ first visit to the United States. They didn’t speak English, and I felt obligated to babysit them.
The real reason of our visit is to sit together at the same table again, after all these years, and eat a good meal like we used to, he said.
This simple sentiment – this thing most people would recognize as love, effortlessly – was overshadowed by logistics of hosting them.
I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I thought it was a burden.
And now all I can wish for is to feel the weight of the spoon.