Cats and headaches and bahn mi

I went to feed my friend’s cats yesterday. While on the way, I stopped by a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant. It was just a narrow room that had maybe four to five tables. One table had four people playing cards and gambling when I stepped inside. One lady was waiting for her takeout order.  The owners were attentive, even asking me how many people I was with.

“Good for four?” the man asked, I shook my head and said “take out for one.”

He passes this along to the lady, and she asks me the same question. After handing me the menu, I tell her I’d have a BBQ chicken Bahn mi. She enters the kitchen, and the man hands me a glass of tea. The tea is hot as I lay my fingertips on the glass, it fogs my glasses.

But it warmed my belly and soothed my aching head. I had taken two aspirins in the morning which barely seemed to work. Perhaps, it was all the contained stress, exploded. I finally had space and time. Perhaps the little trip and trek to my friend’s would ease the dull, throbbing pain. The commute to my friend’s house took a bus, a train, and another bus. It had been raining all week, and the early spring felt chilly. The tea seemed to do the job.

I watched as the game progressed–they looked to be playing a version of Tongits, or maybe the rules I knew were somehow bastardized.

The banh mi came too quickly, I was already invested.

I gave $10 cash to the lady. Luckily, I was carrying some change, Mandy’s Cafe only accepted cash.

I stepped out and start walking a few meters. I finally reach my friend’s house. Unlike the day before, Tumtum and Bosbos don’t seem too surprised when I go in. I take off my shoes and jacket and begin to speak to the cats as if they actually understood me. Wet food, dry food, water.

Bosbos lets me pat her. I remember the fish needs to be fed as well. It was my first time ever taking care of cats, so when I signed up to help out, I didn’t realize I would be scooping cat poop and changing cat litter. It wasn’t such a big deal.

I log in to my friend’s Spotify and play cat music. Then I watch my own TV show for a bit and eat my food. And oh, I wasn’t contented with the banh mi, I had crossed the street and ordered chicken tenders from Church’s Fried Chicken. The lady at the counter asked me if I wanted wings as well, they had a promo, only a $1 each. What a steal. Sure, might as well get myself three wings.

It’s this food that Bosbos seems to be attracted to. She walks into the living room, I give her a piece. “Are you even allowed fried chicken?” I wonder loudly.

The chicken tenders are done. Maybe I’m just hungry and this headache will pass, I think to myself as I take a bite out of my banh mi. It’s not chicken BBQ, it’s pork.

April 23, 2023




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