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Brunch @ 5pm (Before Mom Gets Home From Work)

Brunch @ 5pm (Before Mom Gets Home From Work)

My favorite depression meal starts with me
briskly snatching a cream-coloured ceramic bowl
from the bottom stack of mis-matched plates and tupperware,
collectable hand-me downs from the other Filipino families
spread across Forest Lawn to Falconridge and beyond,
buried deep in the back of the carob cupboard.

I pause,
taking account of my acute asthma,
before blowing off herds of dust bunnies
bundled up in dense honeycombs embedded now in my bronchioles,
uncovering sporadic small dents from the last time I shoveled,
instead of scooped, my meal with a silver painted brass spoon.

I open the pantry and scan the top shelf,
contemplating on what to choose, between the crushed-up Cheerios,
the one fourth of Fruit Loops left, the Frosted Flakes with the sucrose
and sodium slowly flaking off, Cocoa Pebbles combined into boulders,
or the cardboard box of Life left abandoned and untouched.
My barren bowl gets filled half to half-way full.

This is me attempting to convince myself
that I still conjure the competency to make choices
while tolerating the decisions of both a clamoring child
waiting till supper and an adult doubting if I am really twenty-two.
With a leftover plastic fork,
I sift serving-spoon-fulls of Tim’s cocoa powder
on top brittle cavern mounds of cereal, before splashing down with flash floods
of nearly expired almond milk fetched from the front of the half-opened fridge.

I spend however long it may take
piling ingredients on top like a desperate dessert lasagna
or a blind-folded jenga game with fugacious gaslighting,
anticipating the results will remind me of candied happiness;
the signature saccharine mango float found in Filipino house parties.

Yet, I taste bitterness;
an unsavory, indigestible, partially perished,
spoiled, overly-seasoned, oven-burnt off-brand frozen lasagna.

I host a banquet for the compost bin,
I assure myself next time should be different
before I clamber back into my bed sheets–
bundled up burrito-style.