The stage never shrunk in size, it’s just that the actors and actresses started making their exits one by one, after twenty-years of marriage, my house formally marched into empty nest. The originally rowdy and crowded four-people dining room table, it’s just the two of us, staring at each other without a single word now. The fish swim leisurely in the tank, the news was being reported from the living room, the couch is unoccupied, the mosquito trap still turned on. And so, we’d moved our meals, to in front of the television, and we sat, watching the repeated over and over reports.
From our too much leftover in the past, the foods were reduced, six entrées and a soup became just two to three dishes now, without the passions for a full-course meal, and, we’re both now, into eating healthy. The chickens, pork, beef and lamb all made their grand exits, with the baked fish becoming our prime entrée, we’d started living like the elderly in the northernmost areas of the world, eating that salted mackerel, for the rest of our lives.
And I’d also loved broiling the veggies and add a few drops of sesame oil, and making the rice into porridge, and I needed to get a ton of pickled items, the small plates had a wide variety of items, canned tuna, a small amount of Chinese cheese, we’d eaten like the cats now. The barleys that were cooked became sticky, the black rice melted, turning the entire pot into a lighter shade of violet, add in a few pieces of sausages, a few peanuts, and, the mixture of the cold and the heat from the foods, the salty, the sweetness of the dishes, all rolled down into our stomachs quite smoothly.
The writer once said, that if we eat a meal, then, we would have one less to eat, and so, each meal now, became so very precious to us. From before I’d always had this heart of passion toward foods, but now that that’s all gone, and the symphony that was playing in the background, became a flute solo instead. The rivers became separated as they reached the dams, and, the week passed by quickly, like the rolling hills now. The drapes that were hung since a long time ago, you can’t see it being dirty, and even IF I’d managed to wipe that table down every single day, dusts still gathered on top, the days seemed to have halted. The water kept being recycled inside the fish tank, the colors on the colored coins had been washed off into lighter shades.
In the afternoon, I’d steamed up a cup of floral or fruit tea, the scent of the fruits wasn’t at all strong, but, the imagination is, the yams’ leaves melted and became aromatic, gently consoled and touched my lips and teeth. My stomach started rolling now, I’d had the choices of writing, or drinking my teas instead. The atmosphere of the afternoon weekends is filled with this hint of sadness and loss, it’s an extension of the memories of my kids leaving home. My depressed moods required a cup of hot tea, a few biscuits and I’ll be fine then. Or, maybe, walking outside, and examine how my chilis are growing, the greens had turned to reds, and, should I wait around for the neighborhood kids to take some away, or, do I break them off the branches and take them inside? H no longer take his hotpot items with satay anymore, it wouldn’t matter IF foods are spicy or not!
Don’t know when I’d started using smaller bowls for food, perhaps, I’d reduced my appetite or, am I, unintentionally suppressing my food intake? No longer did I need to remind my children to eat their foods, my spirits, and my limbs became leisurely now. Hearing the television blasting, or hold simple conversatioins with H, there’s no pressures for the three meals. I’d read more now, talked less; the foods I wanted to eat had increased, but, my food intake, reduced. Waited until the weathers turned colder, and I’d hoped for some warmth in the wintry seasons.
The space in the house became increased, my kids art pieces hung there, on the walls of the study—the cock that lowered his head, pecking up grains on the ground, the birds chirping, holding conversations in the autumn, the stars and the moon in competition to shine, along with that lily pond in oil……..on the opposite wall, there hung a picture of the shores, slanted, with the rocks making the coastline jagged, the blue sea and the blue skies reflected one another, a few of Kyle’s childhood pieces made such a huge whirlpool inside of me. The seasons passed by outside, the leaves on the trees reminded us of autumn, and I’d started longing for warmth now. When the room gets too stuffy, I’d opened up the windows, let the wind in, as the weather turned colder, I’d close the windows, and light up the Christmas trees.
My memories became like the leaves, as the time came, leaf by leaf, they’d all fallen out. From before H needed the meats in his diet, because that, was how his father was, and now, this desire had been reduced greatly, he no longer enjoyed tearing the meats with his teeth apart that much. I’d turned my appetite toward the seas, crabs, shrimps, mussels, my mouth and my hands worked together, and I’d needed to have everything inside, to feel satisfied…….
The staircase became dimly lit, and before Kyle left home, he’d installed a sensor light next to the bathroom sink, as I’d walked close, the light came on, and, my facial expressions imprinted onto the mirror. The image in the mirror was seemingly familiar, yet very strange, with the noises dissipating, and the serene and the silence, piling up.
Eating in front of the television now, chewing the repeated news, and the foods, entered into our stomachs, and our lives keeps on marching forward………
This, would be a worst-case scenario of what empty nest looks like, because this mother had focused her life previously on taking care of her son, and now that the son’s gone, she couldn’t develop a hobby, she just lives from day to day, waiting for her time to expire, it’s really sad, if you live like that…