Last night after I dropped off Big Guy, I did something I would not have known how to do without college friend: I went into a Chinese grocery store. I'd been in this one once before, but that night my kids swarmed around choosing "mystery candy" (treats unlabeled in English), and I hadn't been able to give the place proper attention.
This time I was solo, and I strolled the crowded aisles with pleasure. I picked up fabulous green beans for under a dollar a pound, bright green Chinese broccoli, crunchy baby bok choy. There were bags of frozen sweet-bean buns, salted fried broad beans, and knockoff digestive biscuits for the kids. Rice wine for cooking, fresh noodles for tomorrow's dinner. Four bags of food for roughly $30.
I hopped back on the train and opened up Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip, which had Big Guy in Bing-worthy laughter on the way out. I nibbled a few haw flakes, and enjoyed my book, and thought fondly of my long-ago friend, whose life still enriches mine today.