Seconds after I post awful haiku, I am siezed by a longing to go back to Malansing Street, Malabon, go to all the sari-sari stores littering it and buy me some Zeb-Zeb, Pom-Poms, putoseko, nougat, fake white rabbit, fake tootsie roll, and chicharong parihaba. Maruya I could buy at the wet market or fried lumpia for my dose of veggies. Wash it down with pink scramble from one of the vendors along the road. Go back home with bacteria and a virus or two, tummy full of air, and mind full of memories. That may or may not, in fact, have happened. It may turn out that I actually ate Zeb-Zeb, et.al. not in Malansing Street, Malabon, but in Road 4, Pag-asa, Quezon City. Right now, though, I'm feeling Malansing. So Malansing I remember.
A couple of months ago, I was in Tatalon with some classmates. We were walking around, touring the place like the upstart wannabe community psychologists we were so horribly aware we are, when I spotted Pom-Poms dangling from the window of a sari-sari store. I did not react calmly. I remember there was frantic pointing and a jump for joy. It was exciting to come across a snack I used to enjoy as a child. Granted, the packaging was different (now orange where before it was a sunny, summery yellow with blue lettering) and the cheese curls were bigger (and, again, orange where before they were smaller and a sunny, summery yellow). But the sentiment was strong as ever.
I bought some and as I opened a Pom-Pom, a classmate said, "Pahingi. Gusto kong matikman ang alaala mo." Whoever said it's impossible to purvey profundity via childhood chicheria has obviously never met a left-leaning activist/community worker/masseuse/alternative lifestyle guru before.
As I had my first taste of Pom-Poms in possibly a decade, maybe even more, I was overcome by a feeling of... blandness. Yon na yon? Evidently, yes. That was it. Fake cheese and air. And all I have to show for it is bad poetry. Well, that and the realization that all the foods I ate when I was younger and more foolish/wiser will never taste as perfect as they do in my memories. My classmate was right. It is the memory we taste. Not the food. Lord, definitely not the food.
I guess I like to eat memories.