Spilled Miso Soup

I am three or four in this memory. My mother is accompanying my little brother’s stay at hospital, and it is just me and my father at home.

Every evening, my father takes me out for dinner. Unlike my mother, who is careful about healthy diet and sticks to “eat at home” scheme as much as possible, my father does not hesitate to eat out. He loves eating out whenever he gets the chance. Nothing fancy, though. Our home is located near a university, and there are many small and cheap restaurants designed for students. Those make up my father’s go-to list.

The very first night without my mother, he takes me out to the tiny Chinese restaurant right across the street from our apartment. Being a big fan of Chinese food, it has been his natural choice. And I am all excited to eat out with my father wherever the place is.

The restaurant is very dark. As we enter, I see a red counter table dimly lit by yellow lamps. That is where my father and I sit and place our order. Since I am too small to read the menu, he chooses something for me.

As we wait for the food, I look around. This place is really dark, and kind of magical. I always saw this restaurant from the back window of our apartment, but never imagined that the inside would be like this.

Just when I am taking in all the details of the restaurant’s interior with a great sense of wonder, our meals arrive, and my father hands me chopsticks. Still dizzy from excitement, I reach for my food absentmindedly.

Suddenly, something hot spills on my lap. When I look down, I find the bowl of my miso soup knocked down, its content dripping down on my skirt.

“Daddy!” I cry out in panic. “The miso soup spilled!”

My father, who was about to get to his food, turns around and abandons his food altogether at the sight of the hazard I have created.

“Oh, dear, dear, dear!” He immediately speaks to the staff behind the counter, and somebody comes around to clean the table and the floor. In no time, there is not even a trace of my spilled miso soup except my wet lap. My father gives me paper napkins to soak up the soup from my skirt.

We then quickly finish our dinner. Neither of us has not quite recovered from the shock of the spilled miso soup.

“That was so embarrassing!” exclaims my father as soon as we leave the restaurant behind. “We’ll never come back here. Spilled miso soup. What a bad memory!”

I also have something to say about the incident. “Daddy, that miso soup was hot!” I say it as if serving a hot soup were a crime. “I won’t come back here again!”

And an agreement is made that we will never eat at this restaurant again. But regardless of our intention, the memory of the night is to be remembered forever.