Last night I had my friend D over for a study session and dinner. I've missed making dinner for friends. After errands and yoga class, I only had a little while to get the dinner together, but it ended up being a dinner I was pretty happy with and it only took about 20 minutes (I sort of want to be all "Take that, Rachel Ray!" but I just can't bring myself to hate on her). I cooked jasmine rice and seared a big hunk of yellowfin so it was just done on each side. I mixed up shoyu, sesame oil, minced ginger, scallions and sesame seeds in a rice bowl for dipping sauce for fish. I brought a little pot of water to a boil and put handfuls of baby spinach in it for a minute or two, then drained them and tossed them with a little of the dipping sauce I'd mixed up. I cut the seared yellowfin into slices that looked like blood-orange-colored windowpanes, and then added slices of bright red raw ahi. The beautiful white porcelain plates that Jam Guy made were covered with squares and swirls of red and purple and green. I think I get this love of the colors on my plate (or colors in general) from my mother; she was always exulting over things like a nectarine just starting to flush red.
D and I studied like champs, and then after he left I fell asleep and dreamed I was driving around with my friend M looking for a restaurant. We were in Hawai'i, in my hometown, but in a city neighborhood that I hadn't visited since I moved to New York 12 years ago. I kept seeing things I remembered from childhood, noticing what had changed and what hadn't. I guess it was her first visit to Hawai'i, so I was acting the tour guide, although it was hard, because we were in this ugly industrial area, not at all somewhere you bring your friends on their first visit to the islands.
Then I saw an old diner-style restaurant that I had once been to with my mother, and I realized that it was a memory I hadn't revisited since being there with her. Missing her hit me like a stomach virus; the guilt of maybe not remembering every single last thing about her and our time together was like a gut punch. In the dream I wanted to fold up and grab myself around the waist, but I was driving. So I just drove and drove, and kept chattering to M about where we should eat, trying to sound like there wasn't a big cold stone pressed into the middle of my body.