Dim Sum & Friends
“Every time I see you falling, I get down on my knees and pray.”
The techno-rhythms and words of New Order blared in Sharon’s car as six teenagers were squeezed inside. We were going down to Kensington Market as part of our late 80’s ritual, coming from “Asiancourt.”
Finding parking and walking through alleys to get to Pearl Saigon was all part of the adventure. The whole way, in the car, while parking and through the alleyways, me and my friends chatted about our week at school and our part-time jobs so we could have the extra cash to shop at all the second-hand stores in the market.
The owner of the Saigon knew us by now. Every Sunday brown-faced me and my Asian girlfriends would enter the restaurant and fight the crowds for a table to fit us all. That day I had news for them.
“Did you see what so-so was wearing on Thursday?” Sharon asked us.
“Of course!” said Catherine. “Fuchsia is not a colour to be worn or a colour to be missed.”
That was all I heard the conversation. My mind was drifting on finding the right words to tell my girlfriends my news.
“Donna!” Yoko snapped her thin fingers in front of my eyes. “Come back to earth.”
“Oh, sorry.” Okay, now was my moment. “Ladies, this is the last time we’re having Dim Sum together.”
I almost let the tears fall. Meeting with my friends over Dim Sum was like the therapy I’m lucky enough to have OHIP cover now. It was a good, old-fashioned, positive moaning session.
“Oh ma God. You don’t like the food or something, Dee?” asked Sharon.
“No, that’s not it. I’m going to school in Ottawa. I got my letter on Friday.”
There was silence. Out of those six girls who were my chums, the silence continues to this day.
I never knew then that it would take more than a decade to eat Dim Sum again and have my morning sessions. This time I had one companion, my friend David. He would pick me up from downtown and we would drive to the market. The first time we went, I marveled at the fact he took me to the same place. We even parked in the same lot and started our moaning (I guess his groaning and my bitching) in the alleyway on our way to the Saigon.
I still do shopping in the market with whatever job I have at the moment. Now my tastes have changed. I shop for Shea Butter at 426, drums from Uganda at the African shop on St.Andrew, and incense and candles at the store next door.
What hasn’t changed is my love for Dim Sum and friends.