“People laugh at me.
My hat. My accent.
They joke that I must be broken because I do and say the same thing every day.
I purchase my supplies from the caravans.
Flour. Eggs. Salt.
I replenish my water supply from the boy at the filtration plant.
I make and sell my noodles.
The laughing. The joking.
These are services I quietly provide.
These people awake each morning to a dynamic, dangerous, and ever-shifting world. Those they love leave and sometimes never return. The only thing standing between them and death is a makeshift wall of scrap wood and corrugated steel.
So, yes. Every day I offer them what gifts I can.
Levity. Consistency. Reliability. Noodles.
And every day I say the only thing I can – a question to which I offer only one answer.
Na-ni shimasu-ka? (What will you have?)
When I give you my noodles, know that I’m giving you the closest thing to love that I understand.
I’m giving you everything I have.”