Orange juice

When I was about four years old, my family would make a regular trip to a large shopping mall in the outskirt a few times a month. While my mother did the shopping with my little brother, my father would take me to the small fast food restaurant next to the parking lot, and we would spend the time away from the crowd enjoying some quiet reading time.

The fast food restaurant was called Dom Dom. There, my father would always purchase an oolong tea for himself and an orange juice for me, sometimes accompanied by a small bag of fried potatoes. Right below the cashier counter, at my eye level, there was a decoration of yellow plastic pipes in the shape of the letters “Dom Dom.” While my father paid, I would always caress the shiny surface of these yellow pipes.

It was always the same seating that my father and I sat. The first table by the window. Once seated at our familiar table, my father would take out his new book from his bag, and I would take the first sip of my orange juice.

The orange juice had a lot of ice in it. As soon as it touched my mouth, its coldness always stung me like a bee. While I was immersed in the experience of this orange juice, my father laughed at me over the table. “Your eyes are closed!” He pointed at my eyes and laughed. When I argued that they weren’t, he asked me to take another sip. When I did, my eyes closed again at the sting of the cold orange juice. I was surprised. “There! They’re closed again!” My father somehow liked this scene, and every time I took the first sip of my orange juice, he always watched me and laughed.

After some reading time over our drinks, we would walk back to the car and wait for my mother to finish the shopping. That was the ritual we repeated each time we went to the shopping mall. To this day, whenever I drink an orange juice, I always think of the plastic table and chairs of Dom Dom, my closing eyes, and my father’s laugh over the table.