wonton woes

by, emmaburns

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

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