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Part of the Short Stories Series.

Takeout Memories -- 12/08/08

His first taste of the finest Chop Suey dinner was fifty years ago. It was served by a local restaurant near the home he grew up in on the south side of Chicago. In his keen memory he can still taste the special flavor whenever he needs to go back to that time and place.

He was friends with the sisters, the oldest children of the family that immigrated from China. With the younger of those two sisters, he formed a life-long relationship starting in his youth. Her smiling voice is also something he refreshes in his thoughts when he thinks of her.

He lost count of the number of times he would arrive at the restaurant to pickup the takeout order that always included his favorite dish. He used that time to spend a few moments speaking with his friend, the kind, thoughtful young woman working the cash register. He can picture how she stood and looked at him while they spoke.

In the many years since moving away from that section of the city, he never forgot about that special place. In the recent year he reconnected with his life-long friend and the memories flowed between them of the early days of their youth, their high school years, and the time between their last visit together.

Nowadays they are in frequent touch via the Internet. Each message exchanged inspires him to write something expressive, sometimes in private, sometimes more openly. Accompanying each message is his dream to order his favorite Chop Suey dinner and share it with his friend in-person next time they meet. While that desire may not be 100% possible, at least half of that wish may come true. Such is the promise of a long-term relationship.


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