AdSense Page Ads

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Eating My Way Down The Memory Lane

The baked potato was placed on the cashier table. The smell of the melted cheese invoked my senses. After receiving the change, I took my baked potato and cheese to a quiet table facing the window, flooded by afternoon sunlight. I ate a spoonful of the soft potato, tasting the sweet starchy bulb and the savory cheese; and I was not in a mall in Bali anymore, I was miles away in BSD's Teraskota, waiting anxiously for my date to come.

Our memories correlate heavily with our senses. I still remember how I waited in an airport in Jakarta after a work trip just by touching the certain book I was reading back then: The weight, the texture and the smell of the paper. Wont a certain smell reminds you of someone? I had a friend who associate a certain perfume with his ex-girlfriend. In Agatha Christie's book Five Little Pigs, Hercule Poirot dug down past memories by using a certain smell. And what is a "Special song" but a certain ditty that reminds you of a special someone, thus attaching the person to the audio.

For me, among others, it's the food. The smell of it, the taste of it, it can make memory flooding in on an instant. I love eating, all my five senses are triggered and (if I'm lucky with getting amazingly good food) satiated. But it was not just about the food. As with the book, I anchored my memory to the food. Thus eating (or sometimes just seeing or smelling) a certain food will lead me to the memory I kept. You can say I'm eating my way down the memory lane.

I still remember the sweetness of the hazelnut coffee I had on my first date, and the crispness of the fries. Every time I smelled that coffee and fries, I remembered I was so excited yet nervous that night I couldn't eat a bite. In fact, I think the fries and coffee is the only thing I got for the whole night. And with that I remember my first kiss with him:  a bit salty from the fries with stubble scratching my chin; lots of nervousness which then followed by a total disbelieve that by sheer chance we found exactly what we have been dreaming of. And with that first kiss, the many more we share.

The list goes on and on: the Corona that we had on our beach date, the grilled corn cob he wanted in another beach date, the delicious margarita on our Mexican Siesta date, the tasty Brazilian Barbeque on his last night in Bali, jalapenos in our pizzas, the perfect crispy duck in a dinghy restaurant near my office. Every time I missed him, I ate whatever that suited the memory I wish to relive: the silly ones, the fun and exciting ones, one where my heart flutters in anticipation, or ones where I simply punch-drunk with love. Photos can only get me so far, I can imagine him more vividly with the smell and taste of food than a silent photo.

It sounds like an ode to gluttony isn't it? I don't think so though. It is where I anchor my memory. I stole his shirt once (yes, so typical girl!), but as I used it and washed it many times his scent faded away. I cling on to a love letter he wrote to me too, but again, it started to lose its scent and texture. With food, I can relive it any time with perfect clarity: Our silly High-Five date at the pizza place, our sensuous date in the Brazilian dining, our lazy siesta date at the Mexican eatery, anything I want basically provided the food does not change much. The food is the key to my memory trove, one that I use very selectively though as overusing it will delete my precious memory altogether.

I missed him too much today. I missed his smile and his gentle voice. I missed his soft caresses and loving touch. It was one of my "Emergency Case". So I went and get the baked potato. Each mouthful reminded me of my excitement that day, when I waited excitedly for him in the bright afternoon sunlight of Teraskota. It reminded me of my own fear and worry that day, questioning was it real because he was too good to be true. And he is indeed real. So I ate little by little. Each spoonful gave me strength, given me not only nourishment for my body but also for my soul, filling my loneliness and erasing my woes. It was not about the food, it was about the memory I had which correlates with the food.  There will be time when I no longer need to rely on food to remember him, when I simply can see him and touch him and hold him. There will be time when the food was only used to remember the good times we have together, when we are already in each other's arms. One day. One day… 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog