The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Annabella is a Chinese girl who lives in the United Kingdom, but is from Hong Kong. She speaks Cantonese and English. She’d like everyone to know that she really likes strawberries. When she was very young, her grandparents owned a small takeout restaurant that served both English and Chinese food. It consisted of a counter, small kitchen and living space in the back.

The smells of sweet and sour pork mix with those of fish and chips as my grandparents scrape leftovers into the rubbish bin. My mother and uncles help them with the washing up after the restaurant closes for the day.

My little cousins and two-year-old self decide to help out as well, and start to throw away the rubbish into the rubbish bin. We dump everything we deem garbage into the container and pat ourselves on the back for our service.

My grandparents begin to clean up the tableware, but there is a problem. The plates they have just cleared of uneaten food have disappeared. My cousins and I stand confused as our family begins to search my grandparents’ little takeout place for the missing platters.

The shop is very small, with just a counter for serving customers and a kitchen in the back, all visible from outside through a glass window in front. It was through this glass window that a passerby could possibly see my mother and uncles scouring the store for lost plates.

Eventually, they do find them.

A look of disbelief takes over my mother’s face as she slowly lifts the plates from the rubbish bin. My uncles help her, and one by one each plate is removed from the garbage and set back on the counter to be washed.

My grandfather starts chuckling, which soon turns into a hearty laugh, as he realizes what has happened. My cousins and I, young and impressionable as we are, had seen the adults throw food in the trash. Naturally, we came to assume that’s where everything went when it was time to clean, and had thrown the plates in as well.

My mother sighs and grandfather keeps laughing. It’s not my fault I didn’t know any better. I’m only two.

I suppose the plates will have to be washed extra well today. 

Annabella

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Grandparent's take-out restaurant

Annabella is a Chinese girl who lives in the United Kingdom, but is from Hong Kong. She speaks Cantonese and English. She’d like everyone to know that she really likes strawberries. When she was very young, her grandparents owned a small takeout restaurant that served both English and Chinese food. It consisted of a counter, small kitchen and living space in the back.

Tags: China, food, yukijudai
Decade: 1990s
Rating:
Recorded by Anneliese Warnke on November 29, 2014
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