At one we gather. I make a mess. They laugh; like me better for relinquishing culture and cutlery, for so happily, wholeheartedly, looking foolish.
I do it very well.
But I am trying to do it better. I have learned the rules of pass and reach, the hand to tuck, the time to suck, the etiquette of the exit.
Right now the table groans with the shared moment, the level plate.
My fingers squish, squelch, cup, caress food into touch-love creations, little amateur arts. The rice thickens, swells with the bright burst of yellow spice, the green gasp of chilli, a slow rising ginger sting.
I scoop and swirl the burn ball onto my pink tongue-tip with a quick thumb-flick. I am getting adept. It is as much about the consistency of what you reach for, as in the play of firm fingers.
I sit and smile, consuming colour meal by meal, eating heat; the ache of tumeric blazing, the parched earth Paprika. I wonder whether I am altered inside, whether I will grey back once the red sun runs from me.
I know I am toughening up, mouth roughening, but I still break shamelessly for the bottle and the jug. I cannot not want to be quenched.
After all I am still myself, with moon skin and forest eyes. I am not so changed. I have other fires to I gather myself around.
There is a peaceful fullness in the pursuit of a plump grain of rice, in good food and misunderstood conversations. There are worlds to explore, lifetimes to live serene.
I should be satisfied. I am full, and yet I want, wait.
I want to feel more, taste more, touch more. My hand taps out a tempo I want to dance to…