Every now and then a little spiciness is good for the soul. I like to have something Szechuan to remind me I’m alive in this world and still breathing. Ice cream is great to have on hand in case things go very wrong. Or milk. It’s the milk that makes things better. Since I’m not from that part of China, I don’t have to have spicy all the time and I’m certainly not used to it. So when I do order some from my favorite Szechuan restaurant in town, it’s a treat for my soul. I remember being seven and told by my dad to try a piece of a big, fat, green pepper (I honestly don’t even know what this pepper was called, just that it was big, fat, and green) that he told me wasn’t that spicy and really was once I tried it. Now, maybe it wasn’t that spicy for adults, but it was super hot for a seven-year-old! I also remember sharing this story in one of my writing classes and describing the way my dad observed me with “tricky eyes.” I ended up jumping up and down, which ironically, is also a level of spiciness described in China, and then running to the faucet to stick my tongue under there. My dad laughed and laughed. Someone in my writing class liked my use of “tricky eyes” during workshop hour and I appreciated the compliment. I don’t know, but it seems any time I have spicy foods now I think of that moment in class, which makes me think back to the memory of my dad in that moment of my childhood. He’s gone, but spiciness brings him back.

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