My grandmother stood in the doorway
light from the living room spilling in
golden rays falling softly
on the polished wood floor.
I squeaked in my four-year-old voice
as I had yesterday and the day before that.
then a defeated sigh.
“Fine. Try to eat more at dinner, okay? Waigong will take you to the noodle place.”
“Two bowls please,”
my grandfather requested as we reached the front of the line.
I looked around,
taking in Zunyi at night.
My grandparents were always complaining
about its nonstop noise and blinding lights
that swallowed the stars above.
But for me,
the honking and construction
were lullabies I couldn’t sleep without,
and the neon signs and streetlamps
constellations in their own way.
We sat down at the table in the corner
like we always did
with our orders.
Spicy for my grandfather, regular for me.
He handed me the small bottle of soy sauce on the table,
and I drizzled it over my noodles
while watching him add chili powder to his.
“Is it good?”
as I slurped and finished the soup.
“Mhm. Did you like yours?”
“Yes. Are you ready to go?”
We left the restaurant
and stepped outside.
“Let’s go home.”