Jason was on a ZOOM call with his parents. As usual, his mother did most of the talking. She was going on about one of the neighbors who had invited her over for lunch. “I was looking forward to some of her delicious soup, but instead, she said that we were going to have peanuts and popcorn,” she said, shaking her head.
“For lunch?” Jason exclaimed.
“What happened to the soup she made?”
“She didn’t make the soup, Misa did.”
“Misa’s cooking now? I thought she didn’t know how to cook.”
“Well, her mother has been teaching her.”
“What happened to the soup?”
“It was spoiled.”
“Yes, Mrs. Wang showed me. The spoiled soup had turned to goop in the pot.”
“Poor Misa? What about me, your poor mother? Mrs. Wang deceived me. I thought she had made the soup. If I had known that it was Misa, I wouldn’t have gone. I would make up some excuse.”
“What did you do?”
“I left. I wasn’t going to have peanuts and spicy popcorn for lunch. I went home and made Beef Brisket Noodles. So, while Mrs. Wang and Misa were having peanuts and popcorn, I was having a proper meal.”
“Ma, my mouth is watering just thinking about your Beef Brisket Noodles.”
“Serves you right for going to a place where they don’t eat our food.”
“Ma, there are lots of Asian restaurants here.”
“I doubt that the food is as good as the food you would find here.”
“I had Steamed rice rolls for lunch the other day. And they were very good.”
“Instead of buying food, why don’t you cook? I taught you how to.”
“Ma, I cook. It’s just that once in a while I like to buy lunch at work or eat out.”
“Make sure you marry a woman who can cook.”
“You used to be after me to date Misa.”
“That was before I found out that she couldn’t cook.”
“Well, Ma, the woman I’m dating can cook.”
“For how long?”
“For just over a month.”
“Good for you, Jason,” his father said.
Mrs. Cheung looked at him. “Did you know about this?”
“And you didn’t bother to tell me?”
“I thought Jason should be the one to do that.”
“So, who is she?” Mrs. Cheung asked Jason. “Is she someone you work with?”
“No. She lives in my building.”
“What’s her name?”
There was silence. “Otieno. Is that an African name?”
“So, this woman is Kenyan?”
Mrs. Cheung began to tear into him.
“Calm down, Winnie,” Mr. Cheung said to her.
“Don’t you tell me to calm down, Albert Cheung,” she snapped at him. “You knew that he was dating this woman and you never said a word to me.”
“I knew that you would react like this,” he said.
“Why shouldn’t I react like this?” she demanded, her face red with anger. “He’s working at a Chinese company with Chinese women but he’s dating a Kenyan woman.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“What’s wrong with that?” she was almost beside herself with indignation. “You don’t see anything wrong with our son dating an African woman?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Why are you doing this, Jason? Is it to spite me?”
“No, Ma, I’m not doing this to spite you. I’m doing this because from the moment I saw Karine, I knew that she was the one. I want to be with her for the rest of my life–“
“I don’t want to hear any more of this.” Mrs. Cheung got up and left.
“I’m sorry, Son,” Mr. Cheung said.
“It’s ok, Dad. I knew that she would react this way.”
“Well, I’m happy for you. You follow your heart and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. As long as Karine makes you happy, that’s all that really matters.”
“Thanks, Dad. I wish Ma could see things your way.”
They chatted for a while longer and then ended the call. Jason signed off the laptop and rose from the sofa. He went over to the window and looked out. It was early afternoon. The sun was streaming into the room. Perhaps, he could take Karine for a drive or they could go for a walk or play a game of tennis or hang out here in his apartment or in hers. His heart skipped a beat when he thought about her.
It was true what he said to his mother. From the moment he set eyes on Karine, he knew that she was the woman for him. Enraptured by her beauty he could think of nothing else except seeing her again and being in a relationship with her. He had gotten his wish. They were dating.
It thrilled him that she was with him when she could be with another man. He had seen the way other men looked at her but she was oblivious to them. She only had eyes for him just as he only had eyes for her. They had kissed but hadn’t made love as yet but he knew that it would be only a matter of time when they did and he was really looking forward to it.