My mother.
The click of the trollies as they round the room.
Sun through the big windows
White tablecloths
White, fluffy pillows
Of warm char siu buns as my fingers sink into them,
Breaking them open
Breathing in the aroma.

I remember the steam from the bamboo baskets
Leaning over them to get my nose as close as I could
The steam rising, curling the soft, new hairs on my forehead.
I sucked in the air,
Scent on my tongue of earthy cinnamon and hints of Chinese wine.
Eyes closed.
Sundays, where the familiar rested on my face in warmth.

My mother,
With her two small daughters, their black hair
Against the crisp white of the restaurant
Tiny hands grasping the plastic chopsticks
Burnt tongues as hot prawns escape the translucent pastry.

The memory of sitting around a large round table
I ate, food upon food,
A restaurant on the other side of the bridge.
An autumn day, with warm sunshine
Sundays, of family and food.

My mother and sister
Missing a home of tropical nights
Where the air was cumin and turmeric
Filling our bellies with soft spice,
And fried squid, salted and sweet
Armed against
This new town
Which smelled of mowed lawns and salt in the air,
Sea, everywhere.

The week was filled with navigating the unknown
New words, and references and ways of thinking.
Cold nights, a concept my young feet were refusing to grasp
My cold toes, in thick socks.
But Sundays, Sundays was home.

My sister
With her two small sons, round faced
Baked puffs,
Pastry flaking between their fingers
Sesame seeds stuck between their teeth, grinning pleasure
A new town, away from both homes
An old ritual of
And, dim sum.

My mother,
Two small children,
Generation upon generation.
Food, finding home.

Written by Anna Sulan Masing