Take a seat, iha. Watch their hands and mouths unfold tales and thawed paper: our yearly review. Watch carefully as your young hands do the same. The round table brims with unwrapped delights: shanghai, gulay, pancit or turon, countless bowls spinning in a trance. Hold the paper in your palm--a plate for now--then take a dollop of that, or the sugar-dusted saba (the only favourite she could remember); no need for a scale or cup! Measure with the eye and the 30-year-old spoon; not too much or it would be difficult to wrap--not so little the story starts as you finish. Dip a finger in water and swipe a half-moon smile on the edge. Roll and press to the shape you like, then fry until your Tita’s last breath (your mother waiting to speak next). Grease wets the empty platter, a young cousin’s mouth victoriously stuffed and stolen. Their siblings bitter and lovingly fight. Repeat until there is no tsismis left yet enough dishes for everyone to take home--enough to never notice your stolen “taste tests.” Repeat this year after year, or until your hands wrinkle without need for water. Round and round the table goes, where Titas once sat now had cousins to fare. The youngest will sit where you once stared, their chin an inch above the same china plate. You will fold your hands into theirs, knocking on their door with a favoured treat. You will remember the knock on your metal screen, the wrinkled hands holding a still-kept memory. Though she could not always speak the language we do, mouth shaped in the mother tongue, she always fed you with fried rolls and a dollop of her fading life. Home is a wrapper made of flour, salt, and water, to wrap and to hold our family chatter.
Moore Queri is a third-year university student studying literature.