My favorite foods are no more, and that’s because as of eight weeks ago, I stopped eating meat. These days, if I find myself yearning for food for the soul, instead of reaching for chicharon dipped in vinegar and garlic, I look for a few ears of sweet corn and remember my late cousin, Randy.
Randy used to come over to the house after school with a huge bag of freshly harvested sweet corn purchased along Banilad Road, and while he and the other cousins and my brothers sat outside on the stoop trading stories, or by the kitchen table in my small two-bedroom apartment, I boiled the corn and then afterwards, we’d sit and shoot the breeze. Sweet corn always brings back my memories of Randy, who died shortly after he passed the bar with honors, his dreams of becoming a city mayor like our grandfather, gone in a blink of an eye when a decorative boulder along a resort waterfall topped over him while he was on vacation. A freak accident, sure, but it’s one that I still find so difficult to believe over 15 years later.
But with every bite of sweet corn, his memory always returns. I see him. I hear him. And he’ll always be there.