Those Fucking Soup Dumplings

THOSE FUCKING SOUP DUMPLINGS

I’ll never be able to eat soup dumplings again without thinking of Rob. This is both a good and bad thing. The good is remembering all the lunches we had together, just hanging out and enjoying each other’s company, while associating the deliciousness and my love for this food with the deliciousness and my love for Rob.

The bad pretty much contains the same ingredients and usually hits a few minutes after I’ve polished off the meal. The bad is when I’m so full that I have to unbuckle my belt. That’s also when a foul aftertaste begins to creep up on my lips and then heads back down to my stomach. It’s just the sickening feeling I get whenever I think about how I’ll never see Rob again.

There’s a great restaurant called ROC right down the block from where my grief group meets, so I’m pretty much there every two weeks. The waiter knows me by name (I’ve become the Norm of the place) and has memorized my standing order: pork soup dumplings, scallion pancakes and something called a beef roll, which is a lot more appetizing than it sounds. It’s a lot of food and it’s usually the only thing I eat for the entire day, which is how I rationalize eating like such a pig, as if I needed an excuse.

We used to get deliveries when Rob lived with us, and I’d order twice that amount and there were never any leftovers. I loved to watch him eat. He was such a terrible eater when he was a little boy. It was Captain Crunch, McDonald’s, mac and cheese, pizza and done. It always surprised me how much he could put away as an adult, and the motherfucker never gained a pound in his life.

Every time I reach for a soup dumpling and dip it in the mix of soy sauce, vinegar and ginger, I think of us quietly sitting together at Din Tai Fung happily stuffing our faces. Whatever was going on in Rob’s life at the time—and as you’ve come to know, there was always something going on—would vanish while we were eating there, which seemed to add a little bit of tasty magic to our meals together.

Lately, one of my friends from our grief group has been joining me for dinner an hour before we meet. We’re the only two single fathers in the group, and we share stories about our lost sons while sharing everything I order and then some. Both of our boys were adopted and suffered from addiction issues. They were the same age when they died. My friend and I are basically two peas in a pod, which we don’t order because neither of us likes vegetables.

When we’re done, we split the check, hop in our cars and drive around the corner to where our group meets. There’s usually a jar of candy sitting on the coffee table in our meeting room, and for dessert, we each take a miniature Hershey’s chocolate bar and top it off with a little cry.

3 thoughts on “Those Fucking Soup Dumplings

    1. Top of the list of Life’s great pleasures: sharing favorite dishes with the ones we love most. I miss meals with my sis. Thank you for writing about you and Rob and the dumplings.

      Liked by 1 person

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