By: Chili Sauce

I picked up the sumptuous spicy tuna roll with the pair of wooden chopsticks, dipped it into a saucer of dark Japanese soy sauce with a hint of wasabi paste, ensuring every part of the gastric gem is covered with the God-given gift of a simple sauce, before finally putting it into my mouth, devouring all the bits of it. I could not even remember how many times I chewed it, all I know is that after I gobbled up and felt the satisfying esophageal peristalsis, it pierced my heart. I started mumbling words in actuality. However, in my head, I was lost somewhere… in time…
Many years ago. One typical day. I was looking at a bottle of Japanese soy sauce and a tube of wasabi. I smiled. “Father is home.” I murmured. I did not like them then. Don’t get me wrong. But having them means, the long wait is finally over. I could finally feel my father’s warm embrace. I could hear his boisterous laughter. He could cook us great food. I could laugh over his funny jokes and listen to his interesting stories.

Having this pair of a condiment filled my heart with tremendous joy and somewhat made up a part of my happy childhood…
As I have just recently read from R. Peralejo’s Thread post, “…Grief finds us in the oddest places,” it surely does. It hits randomly, even in life’s trivialities. No matter where you are. It comes when it comes. It never goes. It lingers in the aroma of sesame oil, in sautéed red bell peppers, in a perfume scent, in a song, in a movie, in a cup of dark coffee, and so on…

I guess the brain automatically creates association and the stimuli just smack you right where it truly hurts and all your efforts to heal just go down the drain, all over again. Then you are back to square one.

Have you ever heard about the 5 levels of grief? I do not intend to discuss them one by one here as I feel like this topic is good for a different story, I just do not feel like it ever applied to me or will it ever be for anyone grieving.

After all, they were created by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (“Ross”) for people who are dying and not for people whose loved ones are dying, or who have dead loved ones.

It is crazy to think about how I could fit into each level when in fact, grieving does not follow any form of structure. It is just all over the place like a disorganized train of thoughts, or a very loud friend who never stopped talking, or a song you never liked but you keep on hearing, a food you do not like but you have to eat, or a Quentin Tarantino movie like the Pulp Fiction that, in my opinion, is wildly and crazily unfathomable.

Nonetheless, I think, Ross’ intent is to have a rather safe, no matter how complex of a path for broken hearts and lost souls. It feels good to know that in the realm of uncertainty, there is a firm reference that lets us assess and validate our feelings.

I can feel my lacrimal glands brimming with tears after that brief time travel. I wish I could still feel the same kind of assurance as before whenever I lay my eyes on them.

????Surprisingly, I enjoy this combination now. I am not sure whether the fondness is my taste bud’s favor or because of the instant connection it creates between me and the afterlife.


-, March 23, 2024

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