|jolantru (jolantru) wrote,|
@ 2010-06-11 10:00 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||duan wu, fridayflash, stories, writery|
Piquant, oddly tea-like, and oh so familiar.
I ducked into the dark alley, drawn by the smell like a moth to a flame. Me, an Exploration Officer, walking into some dank alley in some dingy planet.
But it was the smell.
The plume of steam enveloped me and I breathed it in, feeling the warm moisture on my skin. On my face. The way I used to stand in front of the steamer when my aunts were making the dumplings.
An old lady dressed in a navy blue samfoo was squatting in front of a basin. Filled with steeped leaves. The smell. The fragrance.
Home. I was surprised how intense homesickness was, especially when I was an experienced officer serving onboard starships for years.
Now that old lady looked like my po po, my maternal grandmother. Iron-grey hair tied in a tight bun, severe and yet elegant. She scrubbed the leaves with a brush, the steam misting the air around her.
“I am here you are here,” she said. I blinked. I hadn't heard that language for ages.
“Uhm, I apologize if I am intruding...” I sounded lame, backing away.
“No, no. Stay. I am just about to start making them.”
The old lady lifted one large frond still dripping from the water. She flicked it, removing the moisture, once, twice. Then she deftly twisted the leaf into a conical shape, just like my po po did with her beloved zhong zhi.
I wasn't surprised to see her scooping savory rice into the cone, before turning the cone into a pyramid, tied up with plastic raffia string. This she hung on a bamboo pole already heavy with clusters of the dumplings.
“Uhm,” I said or thought I said.
“You are new around here, aren't you?” The old lady smiled warmly, handing me a dumpling. The rich smell of braised meat reached my nose.
When I emerged out into the lit street filled with the voices of alien hawkers advertising their wares, I was holding a cluster of dumplings. I hoped the captain liked them.