For iftar (breaking of the fast) dad fried up some frozen epok-epok (Malay-style curry puffs) that he’d bought. I knew it wouldn’t taste good. I haven’t had legit good epok-epok since…well, I’ll tell you later. And if they’re frozen? Even worse.
I expected it to taste horrible so didn’t bother to make a comment. But dad did. “Those epok-epok were terrible, weren’t they? The potato curry was sweet?! Who makes sweet curry?!”
I decided to chime in with the honest-to-God truth – “No one can beat mum’s epok-epok. I have not had good epok-epok since mum died.” Dad said, “Yes. Hers were the best ever.”
One of my aunts tried to replicate mum’s recipe a few years ago and nervously asked me to judge it, knowing full well I know my epok-epok, having eaten mum’s my whole life and that I probably would not like it. And I didn’t. It wasn’t bad. It was better than most other people’s, but it was nowhere close to mum’s. She knew that, so she wasn’t hurt or anything. But since then whenever she makes them she never calls me over. 🙂
Yesterday my cousin A#2, who is eleven weeks pregnant, went for a checkup. At night she told me all about it, and then lamented, “If your mum were still here, I’m sure she would be so happy. I’m sure when the baby is born she would give him or her ‘kiss 1 and kiss 2’.”
See, my mum loved children, and she doted on her nieces and nephews. (She was especially close to A#2, which is why she is forever coming to me with her thoughts on my mum. I like it. It makes me feel less alone.) She liked to kiss their cheeks and before kissing each cheek she would proclaim, “Kiss 1/kiss 2!”
My cousin made me cry at 11:45pm and I told her so. She was sorry, but she was crying too.
This is the thirteenth Ramadan without her and it has not gotten easier.