Crambe repetita (45)
At 6:30 in the morning I boiled myself a bowl of instant rice noodles. I added a small piece of French cabbage (the last of three heads of cabbage that Bunny had eaten, and possibly the cause of death), a third of a can of tuna, half a can of mushrooms, an egg, and the leftovers from last night’s sweet-and-sour fish at Yongyao’s restaurant. I stood in the kitchen, washed the pot I’d used to heat the fish, and peeled a large cantaloupe, and ate it while leafing through the books that my roommate had planned to sell and had left outside the kitchen. Ever since returning from Tokyo, I would often go to Camira’s place for dinner. She’s a close friend and can lift me out of any depression. When she cooked she would often put on an air of authority and say, Cuisiner c’est l’invention! Then she’d mix together whatever random things were left in her refrigerator. I smile when I think how cute she is. Now I’ve begun cooking more too, using her method, blindly mixing together ingredients while murmuring to myself, Cuisiner c’est l’invention! What’s contagious in a friendship is truly frightening.
—Qiu Miaojin (Last Words from Montmartre, p. 46)