I am sitting in our green and yellow, 1970's style kitchen with the hop-scotch linoleum floor. I don't know what the pattern is actually called, but it is comprised of a multitude of tired dun coloured rectangles that are just big enough to fit one of my feet. I twist myself into different shapes in order to keep from stepping outside of them.
My mother is making Som Tam--- smashing slivers of green papaya inside of the reddish-brown mortar. It's a familiar racket, one that I can tolerate: not like the sound my father's blender makes, which sends me scurrying to the other side of the house, hands over my ears. The sound of Som Tam is rhythmic, earthy.
One half of the papaya is covered in saran wrap, exposing its guts. The papaya's guts are full of white and black seeds. They remind me of ants and little white ant larvae. My mother gets up to answer the phone and I slip my fingers under the saran wrap and fill my hand with the seeds. Because they are round, I attempt to bounce a few of them on the floor. They don't exactly bounce but they do skitter away in different directions, many rolling under the dishwasher and the oven. I want to taste them. I place one on my tongue and chew. The taste is spicy and unpleasant. My mother returns then, and tells me to throw the seeds in the trash so that I don't choke on them. I dispose of the seeds indignantly. She is treating me like a baby.
I don't know it now, but I should treasure it. Someday I will miss being someone's baby.