All summer long, I’ve been thinking about the Wonton station at the Marché. While my friends were praising the variety, taste, and general quality of their college’s dining hall food, I was comforting myself with the thought of “at least I have good dumplings”. Honest to god, if you had asked me a month and a half ago what I was most looking forward to I absolutely would have told you it was a rice bowl with crispy chicken. I was so fucking pumped (which might be a condemnation of the general state of my life but we’ll overlook that).
My first night back, I passed the Marché and saw that Wonton was open. As much as I wanted to get right into eating it, I had dinner plans already. I told myself, it’s totally fine; you can go back tomorrow and treat yourself. Blissful ignorance. The next evening I went down fully prepared to place an order and leave with my food. When I arrived, however, the station was closed. I was of course disappointed but reasoned that there would be plenty of time in the next few days to try again. The next night was no different. Closed. While upset, I remained optimistic about my chances. I returned again the following night. Closed. This repeated for several days until I reached a point of despair.
I began to believe I would never again get a bowl of dumplings and a cardboard container of rice smothered in General Zao’s sauce. Life seemed pointless. I could barely get myself out of bed, other food tasted like ash, the only thing that made me feel anything was watching people pass by my window while listening to a carefully curated sad music playlist. I would pass the Marché even when I knew it wouldn’t be open as some sick and twisted form of self-flagellation. Eventually, I stopped even that.
Then one day, on a mission to acquire some tortilla chips, it happened. The Wonton station was open. It was 2 pm. I wasn’t anywhere close to hungry. But I knew this was my chance. I placed my order, waited that 20 minutes, stuck that shit in my fridge, and counted down the hours to dinner. When it reached 8 pm and my brain was sending the familiar signals of hunger, I arranged everything just so and reheated it in my microwave. As I sat down and ate my rice bowl, I finally understood what people meant by the phrase “it tasted like victory”.
Afterward, in a satisfied fugue, I lay in my bed peaceful and undisturbed. Suddenly there was a knock at my door. It was my roommate. “I just wanted to let you know that New World Tortilla is open,” she said. “But only from 11 to 2”.
Categories: emma burns, reflections, sept. 28, vol 25