“It’s spicy, Dad.”
Her face turned red and she was looking for water. It was a Tilapia for lunch. Boiled with ginger, olive oil, onion, garlic, turmeric, lemon grass, coconut milk, clove and other spices. We just moved less than a week to a new place. From the old one where I received terror and had to be forced to moved out. I got terror because of my political activity. It was my first cook at the new house and it was presented for her.
“Do you like it?”
She nodded. Her face was blossomed in red but the smile is big enough to express how happy she was. I came closer and kissed her forehead. It was a perfect lunch that years after still stays in head.
That day, I thought it will last forever. Waking up next to her in the morning before each of us part away doing our work. Then after that, few hours later two of us will have lunch together before having dinner somewhere at the heart of the city. I was hoping it will not last for years, but for the rest of our life.
I was wrong. She left me after nearly half decade loving me tireless.
* * *
“I will get fat and broke my diet if I keep coming here.” She said it in sarcastic tone.
“You will always cook for me and it will be always good foods. The problem is, you are a good chef. Hardly to say no if someone cooked delicious foods for you.”
I was cleaning dishes after cook. Her words did not need a respond nor answer. It wasn’t a question after all. It was a statement.
“I need to loose weight. That’s why I am on diet now. I want to get thinner. Maybe losing another five because it’s good for my health as well. So now, your foods are the biggest challenge for me.”
She was standing next to me and watching me clean the cooking tools.
“It’s amazing to see how you could cook complicated dishes using only one pan with limited cooking tools. It looks simple but the result is rich, both in style and taste.”
“Cooking were never about tools. Home cooking in particular does not related with how many cooking tools you have in your kitchen or use when you cook. It’s only about the recipes, the way you cook and served it. That’s why, some people said that passion is another recipe for home cooking. But for me, love is the secret ingredient.”
“Love? Ah, you just made it up.” She pinched my arm.
“No, I am serious. Love is important ingredient for home cooking. I’ve been cooking for more than a decade. But, never succeed to imitate my Moms foods. Always tasted that something were missing from it. Regardless that, I’m using the same ingredients and cooking way. From a simple cuisine to the most complicated one. Always failed. That’s why, I still love to eat her foods till now.”
“Wow. What a serious explanation.”
She was surprised. I just smiled. It was enough. She got my point.
* * *
“We can open a restaurant in Indonesia. Serving foods from your country. I think it will be a good idea. I will find partner to collaborate with us. So, it can be a join business where we can express and share our love through foods to others and get some income at the same time. Kinda a mixed between passion and business. What do you think about it?”
She did not answer it. It was a difficult question for her. It means, she need to move and stay in Indonesia. Something that never been discussed by two us.
In fact, I told her for many times that I will move and stay in her country. It will be easier for two of us. She doesn’t have t to changed her job and I can find a job there. I can be a freelance journalist, freelance researcher or open a restaurant where I can serve Indonesian foods. But that day, I was proposing completely different thing.
“Or maybe we can find someone who could help us. One who can be a chef with good skills on several cuisines. No need to sell many kind of foods. Four or five cuisines sounds good enough. As long as it unique, people will come over again and again.” I hold her hands. Wishing that she will say yes.
Couple weeks later, without her agreement, I started seeking for maecenas. Less than a month, I got a friend who interested with the idea. He wanted to know more details about it and asked me to meet and explain.
“Do you know this guy?”
“We both are members of the Green Party of Indonesia. I met with him couple times and I think he can be trusted.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, of course.”
She kept quite. Later on I knew, she never interested with this idea.
* * *
“You haven’t cook for me since you arrived.”
I just smiled because I haven’t ready with answer. I need to delay time so I can think another proper answer without making her angry or disappointed.
“Why? Are you lazy to cook for me?” Her eyes were getting big. Staring strong into me. She looks tired.
“No, of course not. Always love to cook for you.” It was a fake big smile from me.
“So? Why you always said no every time I asked you to go to the market, buy meat and ingredients, so you can cook for me?”
“I am lazy for now. But, I will do it tomorrow. I promise. I still have works to do now.”
“Yes, you are lazy because now you’re getting fat. Have you seen yourself in mirror? Your belly is getting big. Had you listen yourself while sleep? You are snoring so loud and it’s so annoying. I can’t take a rest well after a long and tired day of working. With less sleeping at night but still need to wake up in the morning to work.” She refused when I was trying to hug her.
“You are selfish. You never do sports, keep drinking beer behind my back and keep lying about smoking cigarette.” Her eyes looked wet.
“Another promise? You are bad on keeping promises, Andre. Do you realized it? Sorry, I cant take another one from you.” I was trying to answer before she blocked me with that strong sentence with high tones. She’s angry and it was because of me.
She walked away that afternoon, after changed her clothes within five minutes. An early sign, that months later, she left me forever.