Friday, July 15, 2011

Food & Memory

The photo says "Summer" without me adding any additional words.  This afternoon, I began reading a new book, based on food and memory.  I love days like today where I have no real plans, and am able to sit outside in my Zero-Gravity Lounger, and often times read an entire book.  This one I picked up from the library this afternoon, immediately connected with the author (the specifics of why I connect, is a different post altogether), and was reminded of the power of memory.

I usually get up and stretch, take a bathroom break, and maybe get a snack every hour or so.  And just now- yes, I am on a break from reading RIGHT NOW- I looked into the fridge, saw that watermelon and that lime, and was taken back to the early summer of 1990. 

I was living in San Diego, working as a live-in nanny for a family with two young kids, and had met a guy at a concert I had attended by myself.  I was nineteen, and did things like that. I can't remember the name of the stadium, but the Swap Meet was held in the parking lot every weekend, and Tower Records was kitty-corner from it as well.  I think I had seen The Smithereens that night.  I met a very sexy, very charming guy named Enrique (I am not making that up), who had long, glossy black hair, a very cute smile, and an accent.  Being the teenaged bimbo I was, we totally made out and groped each other, then exchanged phone numbers before going our separate ways that night.

Fast forward a month or so, and we are a couple, and we are at his cousin's house in Anaheim one weekend for a family barbeque/pool party.  The beer and rum and vodka and grilled food and sun are all plentiful.  The afternoon lingers on, and- a bit drunk- I am walking barefoot around the pool, and step on a glass shard from a broken beer bottle.  Enrique's brother, Cesar, sits me down and says "Alguien me traiga una lima."  He takes the lime wedge, and squeezes the juice directly on the cut.  "Para detener el sangrado."  The rest of the wedges were used to dress the slices of watermelon on the nearby food table. 

And then, people began taking the watermelon-with-lime-juice slices.  But before they ate them, they sprinkled them with salt.  I had never seen this before, and I guess it showed on my face because Enrique said to me "Try it.  Its the perfect mix of sweet and sour and salty." 

And so I did.  And he was right.

This memory hit me like a ton of bricks, but in a good way.  Its going to make me wistful for the girl I was 20 years ago (if only for a few more hours) as I read my book in the light of the setting Summer sun, in the driveway of my rented dollhouse here in Michigan, where I'm hoping my daily life-and-food combinations become memories anew.

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