The fifth time I repeated my credit card number to the Chinese food guy, I was annoyed. I rifled through the papers on my desk and considered other take out places. It took three tries for him to get the number right and he then put it in twice, getting some message.
“Another card my friend,” he said “try another card.”
“No” I said.
So he did it again, saying it out loud and on the sixth try, inverting the numbers of the expiration date. So then there was the seventh try. I was about to say never mind.
"What does -- he spelled some letters unintelligibly to me.
"I don't know," I said. "It sounds like it's something to do with you."
He calls somewhere. His wife, who makes all this smooth as ice, is not there.
I presume he calls her. I hear him shouting right in my ear in Chinese, clipped and plucked a, language of pizzicato strings.
"Okay okay" he says.
Eight try, ninth try, He spells the letters to me.
"S-e-t -G-l-o-b-e "
"Set Globe. That's definitely something to do with you."
"What is Globe? What is Globe?"
I try to think of other words, earth, round, something you have to fix, a button you have to push.
Then "AH Ah AH" whatever it is, he remembers, finally. He does it. My credit card goes through....
"I'm sorry, " he apologizes, "My wife knows how to do it and she is not here.
She had to go to the hospital."
" O she okay" he says, "she is having a baby."
I remember how he was looking for an apartment and how months ago we had talked about my first apartment. He said he went to see it and they said they only wanted someone that was 50. I envision now how lovely it would have been for them-- all those built-ins and the huge kitchen, access to the yard and the clothesline.
When he arrives, he chides me. Where was I Saturday? He had called me, because I did not place my order on Friday or Saturday as I usually do.
"I was worried about you, my friend," he says.
I remind him hot, hot it was.
"I didn't eat everything, I ate very little," and still had most of last week's broccoli in garlic sauce, my favorite hot or cold, in the refrigerator.
I change the topic and ask him the baby's name. He says he doesn't speak English very well and maybe I can help him with a name.
“Well what is he like... “ but then i learn, he isn't here yet.
“She is in New York. She is going to the East side”
“ What you're not with her? She's in New York City? OOO!”
“Well, I had to open the restaurant” he says. This is his second child. He couldn't let the restaurant be closed.
“O the baby isn't here yet! And she is in New York City to have the baby” tears well up in my eyes.
And i am so glad that i didn't blow up or curse him out or say never mind as he fumbled through the part of he business that his wife did. Tears blurr my vision, I start mumbling blessings... I am so overwhelmed with the what's and the why's. I was glad i had said the baby should have a Chinese name not just an English name, and he says “Thank you my friend for caring.” as he backs out the door, waving at the cats.
I feel so overcome by all that i didn't and don’t understand, why i'm in a wheelchair and female and black and feeling the huge lack of what all i once was and had, and here he entrusted me with something precious, this American newer than me.
And i weep and weep when he leaves and i don't quire know why.
It's the worst egg foo young ever and the best broccoli and shrimp fried rice.
I say a prayer for him and his new baby and wife.