Long ago when I had not yet taught my self-righteous, nosy aunts that children are terrible little creatures they still liked to believe that they could get me to eat rice.
I had stopped eating rice all the way back when I was three but my aunts seemed to think there was nothing they couldn’t fix. This was a long time ago, back when everyone played snake and everyone thought color display on phones were silly luxuries. In these ancient days where decent screen locks were still a distant dream they should have known better than to plot on their phones. I was a nosy kid, and I decided that snake was a futile game because a bigger snake is not a happier snake. The only other thing I could do on people phone is read their private conversations. For a bunch of prudish, know it all they forwarded a lot a dirty or “spicy” SMS jokes to each other.
I don’t remember how the day started. I watched a little DBZ on T.V, played with my cousins till they were forced to go kicking and screaming to some religious seminar. I went back home and decided I would ride my bicycle inside the house. It was a huge, old bungalow with plenty of empty place inside its walls so it was easier than you imagine. I had read some text about trying to get me to eat rice one aunt had sent that morning. She was the one who subscribed to the spicy messages for her service provider- “Spice Mobile”. She was the only one who didn’t have snake on her phone [such an abomination!]. She still gave me her phone when I said I wanted to play games on it anyway.
I rode by the kitchen and had a gagging fit when I smelled the rice. It was potent and mixed with pickle. This made me think of people eating it, which made me want to throw up. There’s nothing I hate more than the sound of wet rice being moved around. “Why do you look so sick? Close your mouth a fly must have got in.” I turned around and there was my cousin licking rice of her fingers. I couldn’t understand how people stomached rice. I wondered why no one else felt as disgusted by it. I shuddered. My aunt with the spicy mobile came in and offered me rice on my favorite plate. I was only in third grade but I expected a little better. I cycled away, too fast for them to catch me. I grabbed a mango from a basket on the living room table later.
I wished some day there would be a channel that showed nothing but anime as I tried to scrape away the mangos skin. I just bit into it, realizing that I forgot where I left my bike. The mango tasted terrible. I looked down and realized to my horror that the mango had rice in it. I was horrified. Was there no limit to the lengths people would go to make me eat rice?I imagined have to live the rest of my life in fear. Worrying that underneath ever chapatti would be hidden grains of rice. Maybe I’d have to live on an IV drip forever.
I saw a piece of rice move and was relieved that it couldn’t possibly be rice. Then I realized what it was a hopped up and down spitting and rubbing my tongue. Why can’t those maggots go eat rice? They looked so similar anyway.
I took a nap to recover from the traumatic day or at least I think I did. I can never sleep during the day. Five minutes of sleep and I assume I’ve spent an entire night in deep slumber. One of those stupid shows about obese dragons was on cartoon network so I went downstairs completely disoriented. Downstairs another aunt was complaining about mangoes. Apparently they wanted to pretend they didn’t see me and say nice things about rice, hoping that this would get me to like it. Third graders get no respect.
I went up to her and was certain I was dreaming. They wouldn’t really expect me to fall for that in real life, would they? No one would have a show about purple dragons, would they? Since this was a dream I went up and flicked rice at my aunt’s face. I expected the rice to start moving like maggots since this was a dream. She gaped and I thought she wanted me to feed her. I hated how it felt on my hands. I went out and unchained my dogs who always howled all day long when they were tied up. I threw pebbles on a few people who I could see from our house on the hill. I wondered why my dream wasn’t ending.
When I got back home I realized it was never a dream. People had lined up to shout at me. Luckily my dogs where still loose and had pooped all over the front porch. So no one wanted to stay outside for long.
I spent the next few weeks paranoid about every mango, nap and smell of rice I came across.