One day to go.
I've gotten pretty good at the whole food thing. The way it works is the servers come by but, because you can't look up or around, all you see of them are their hands and the bowl or tray of food they're carrying. You let them know how much you want - if you want more or none - by a series of hand gestures. The food has been consistently good vegetarian fare with lots of various forms of soy products. However, I don't care how hungry I get or how indiscriminate I am supposed to be, I will never like lima beans. And, after the first day, I drew the line at the morning rice soup which I may never be spiritually sound enough, from a Buddhist point of view, to choke down. I will always discriminate against that.
At lunch, which was always our last meal of the day, I'd finished all I'd been served. After that, tea or hot water was served. Next thing I knew, a white-aproned waist appeared in front of me with a plate of cookies in its hands. Oreo cookies. I thought it was a joke.
In violation of everything I knew I was supposed to do, I looked up at the young guy holding the plate and, without a word, using only my eyes, asked if he was for real, if he was actually offering me an Oreo cookie. After six days of green and white fare, the sight of that cookie was a shock, a joke, a punch line. He smiled a "yes" back at me.
That moment, that exchange of delight, was even better than the cookie.
12 July 2007