Egg or Soybeans

This is a loose continuation of the post Running Late.

On those mornings when my father isn’t available, my mother sends me to my friend’s house so that I can walk to kindergarten with them. I leave home early at the same time as my mother leaves for work, then she drops me off at my friend’s apartment.

“Come on in, come on in!”

When I arrive, my friend’s mother welcomes me into the familiar living room almost as tiny as ours. There, I find my friend and her little sister sitting at the low table, wearing grumpy faces as if they had just woken up.

Behind them, their mother is running about in a great hurry. She grabs open the fridge door and calls out in a loud voice. “Egg or soybeans?”

Egg or soybeans? What a random question is that? I stare at her waiting for a further explanation, but none is given. Instead, two sleepy voices reply next to me.

“Egg,” says my friend.

“Soybeans,” says her little sister.

The next moment, my friend’s mother takes out one egg and one package of fermented soybeans out of the fridge and place them on the low table next to two bowls of rice. The egg is poured on one of them, and the fermented soybeans on the other with a little bit of soy sauce.

“There,” she says, handing them chopsticks. “Now, eat, eat!”

Both my friend and her sister start eating mechanically without changing their expressions.

But sitting next to them, I’m all fascinated now. Because at my home, I never get to eat a bowl of rice with egg or fermented soybeans for breakfast. My regular breakfast consists of a few different dishes with lots of vegetables. But this? I love the simplicity of it!

That afternoon, as soon as I get back home from kindergarten, I eagerly tell my mother about my friend’s breakfast I witnessed in the morning.

“Their breakfast is so simple,” I explain almost breathlessly. “Her mother asks ‘Egg or soybeans?’ And if you choose egg, you get a bowl of rice with egg. If you choose soybeans, you get a bowl of rice with fermented soybeans. I think it’s so cool!”

Of course, my mother won’t do that for our breakfast. But in my mind, I keep replaying the amazing breakfast I saw at my friend’s place over and over.