My Lola says two cups water for every one and a half cup rice and I measure. I measure carefully—I tap the plastic black measuring cup hard against the Formica and watch the rice seize and settle, seize and settle, until it lies flat, beaten. Then I dump it. I dump the water in on top (Two cups! Two cups!) and I swish my fingers through the grains. Lola tells me Over the sink! and I move, my fingers making tsunamis in the rice cooker bowl. The water drains, white as milk, and we fill it up again, still swishing, swirling. It drains again, and Lola says Yah, okay, good, and takes it from me. Her fingers are gnarled and brown—browner than mine, but then, I am only half Filipino. Her tongue can make the quick clacks and ngs of Tagalog, but she can’t say the Fs of English. She calls me her pipty percent pilipina girl, and I grin. She is old. Her feet have walked the dusty roads behind caribou flicking tails, and her eyes have seen the low swoop of American bombers, silver-bellied above Tacloban Bay—but that was many years ago, when she thought she would care if her boy married a white woman. Now she has me, her mestiza girl, and when our fingers are both in the pot, rustling through the grains of rice, you can see that my fingers are knobbly like hers, brown like hers, moving like hers. Ready to eat, like hers.
Gabrielle Soria is a native of California, currently residing just outside of Bangkok, Thailand. She writes poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, and plays.