The Parables

Cooking Mama

I can’t cook. My mom frequently reminds me of my shortcomings as a young lady. But, I beg to argue that I can.

I grip the stylus in my fingers. The Nintendo DS balanced in my other hand. Back and forth in rapid succession, my hand becomes a blur. Chopping vegetables. Slicing. Or even dicing. I could suddenly distinguish between the intricacies of different motions. The precision behind cooking. The artistry of it. Whether it was sautéing or boiling or broiling or frying, I was a chef. Satisfactory was not good enough, it had to be cooked to perfection.

Sandwiches and pasta were no longer my specialties. The delicacies were infinite. Pizza. Omelet. Pork Cutlet. Beef Curry. Fried Octopus Dumplings. Shrimp Tempura. Soba. Udon.

With the mastery of these recipes, it only seemed rational to me that my skills should transcend this digital world. But they didn’t. Forever a beautiful illusion of culinary expertise.


Spyro: Ripto’s Rage

I place the disc in my PS2. I hadn’t played the game in nearly a decade. My cousin and I had conquered it together when we were children. Luckily, it is backwards compatible. The loading bar creeps slowly. The purple dragon soars across the screen. I gasp.

My memory has failed me. I remembered a glorious, verdant vista with monumental castles and portals. Detailed, breathing characters. But, returning with older eyes I see its defects.

Cubic forms. Nothing like reality. My mind had given them substance. Nonetheless, the world was real to me as a child. A crystal clear vision of mystical lands and creatures.

I was not limited by the confines of the realm of Avalar. The course of the game. Searching for a deviation. I was captivated by the things I could do in free roaming. Find hidden caves. Glide through the air. Explore aquatic grottos.

Discover hidden orbs. Emerald. Cubic. Beauty.


In The Groove

I place the quarter on the edge of the large screen. Signifying that our turn is next. We wait and watch.

Every Saturday morning for months when I was in 7th grade, my dad and I would go to the arcade in the mall. Not forced, but by my own choice. For hours. I was not rebellious. Quarters. I found solace with my family although I had friends. We played In the Groove. My cousin had introduced it to us. An exercise outlet beyond basketball. Another game my dad and I could bond over. To conquer together.

My dance instructor. At first, my feet did not function. Uncoordinated and graceless. My aunt told me I couldn’t do it. That I had no rhythm.

But, my dad and I were a team. Best friends. Not weak. We pushed one another and practiced. Not simply a father and his young daughter. But, respected among our comrades. Our friends. Improving with every weekend. A growing confidence in front of our audience. Our scores soaring. From medium to expert. Competitive by nature.

We inhale. Eyes focused. The arrows surge down the screen in metallic splendor. Glowing with every accurate step. Our feet pounding against the plastic. Synchronization. Sweat dripping. We exhale rapidly. The music reflecting our every movement. Tightly clinging to the bar behind us. Balancing our bodies as our feet shuffle like tornadoes. Swift. Nimble.

I smile at my dad as we descend from the platforms. We high –five. Back at home. In the arcade. I set another quarter on the edge.

Medium: India Ink and Bristol Board (6 ft x 3 ft).

(The wall comic was adapted from the original excerpt featured above, so it does not exactly match.)

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