Grains of rice – an original micro story

The fresh steam from the automated cooker wafts through the airy room as my mum begins to scoop a generous portion into each decorated blue and white porcelain bowls. It was a routine. But one she enjoys. Seeing the fruits of her labour being consumed by her children was one of her greatest joys, as she knows they are growing up healthily and happily.

But this was a memory. Not her present. Her children have become adults. One has moved out. And the youngest is more concerned about his girlfriend than his family. The innocent giggles and the cacophony of plates breaking in the house is heard no more. In a way, it’s nostalgia. In a way, it’s reminiscent of the life she thought she would have forever.

Every few weeks would these noises make its way back home. But it is every few months that the dinner table would be rowdy again. The non-stop chatters have ceased and is replaced by the hums of the news anchor droning on about another headline.

The fresh steam from the automated cooker wafts through the airy room. My mum scoops enough just for her and dad. The bowls are mismatched. The dinner table unused. TV is still sounding. And her phone just on the kitchen island, waiting for the familiar ringing to be heard.

I decided to type up this short story after viewing this short film titled “Let’s Eat”. It made me reflect on the time spent with mum and how we should not take family for granted. As a fellow ABC (Australian-born Chinese), I understand how eating at a dinner table is considered quite significant as it allows our family to spend time together in an organic manner. Further, homemade food is a way to connect each other on a deeper level and one that is used by my parents to show their love and care for my brother and myself.

There’s one instance in the film where the mother uses food as an apology but being a stubborn child, we’ll ignore it. I might be generalising here but a lot of Chinese parents don’t say “sorry” but show it instead through food. It’s definitely a poignant touch to our culture and pays homage to our cultural and my family values.

Anyways, when I see the daughter spending less and less time at the dinner table, it reminds me of how I started gradually spend more time outside having dinner and drinks with my friends instead of with my family when I got older. While I still dedicate a lot of time to my family, the time spent with them is definitely less to compared to when I was a child. Even more so now that I’ve moved out.

I’ve never really thought of my mum’s POV until after watching this short film which is why I tried to write this story from my perspective, but focusing on her.


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