Let’s Talk – The Anticipated Crossroads

“Let’s Talk” is the title of his email.

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew 4 years ago when he decided to leave Ireland and asked for his old job back. He didn’t tell me. He lead me to believe for 7 months that it was his old boss that asked him to come back. Considering the financial situation we were in, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew when his condo was for sale and he wouldn’t come down the price. “If I did, it would mean that I didn’t care about that extra $XXXX…” He said. When it didn’t sale and the contract was up with the realtor. It sat empty.

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew when there was an explosion of jobs in his field from entry level to senior levels and he didn’t apply for one of them. “I haven’t been working in the industry for 3yrs. They won’t hire me.”

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew when he’s job finally came through that he offered no solution or arrangement for our marriage, for our relationship, for us at all. He left it all to me.

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew when he moved back into his condo, even though “our” arrangement was  for 3 years, that he filled it up with all the luxuries of a permanent home.

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew when there were no “I miss you”‘s. … Not without prompting anyway, and always with a bit of disdain as if I trapped him into saying it. And the “I love you”‘s are so few and far between that I can count them on one hand.

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew when he wouldn’t engage in conversation in the one Skype call that he allowed a week. – I think I’ve pulled all his teeth.

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew when I was thrown into a desperate situation because of him. A situation that would break me with the slightest stumble and his response was that it wasn’t his problem. When I told him that the Doctor’s found cancer cells in my bloodstream. “Sorry to hear about that.” He said. I knew then too.

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew when I asked him when he was coming to visit me. He said that he didn’t have any plans too, and wouldn’t discuss any options other than he didn’t have any plans too.

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew when he couldn’t even write “I love you” in, quite literally, an 11th hour email on Valentines’ Day. How he couldn’t be bothered to call and say Happy Birthday in person per say. Instead, jumped on the Facebook Bandwagon Birthday Bomb.

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew when I got a Facebook message on his scheduled Skype call that he was in New York and was going to spend the week in Boston over the 4th. It was the first that I heard of it. He didn’t know when he was going to be available.

I know what he wants to talk about. I knew when I saw the roads intersect. I knew when  I stop running and walked slower and slower and slower, …  I can still see it up ahead …

I know what he wants to talk about. We Skype tonight. Just a few more steps. So here I am …crossroads41

F is for Fish Sauce, Flavour, Phan Thiết and Phú Quốc

I am so hungry … and so home sick …

Chris Galvin

nuoc cham and fresh herbs

The Vietnamese alphabet has no letter F. But it does have the letter PH, as in phở, and also Phan Thiết  and Phú Quốc, two places famous for fish sauce. The former is a southeastern coastal city. The latter is both Việt Nam’s biggest island and a district that includes this island and twenty-two smaller ones, tucked under the curve of Cambodia’s coast, in the Gulf of Thailand.

In his book Bút Khảo Về Ăn (Notes on Eating), Dr. Lê Văn Lân relates an old folk tale that he remembers his mother telling him. Here’s my rough translation:

A long time ago, a northern village held a feast-tasting challenge to open the spring celebrations. The banquet table groaned under a spread of the rarest foods of the mountains and seas. Whoever could correctly name the tastiest dish would win. According to tradition, the competitors entered one by one. A single drum…

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