Out of My Own Expense

by jkatejohnston

11 May 2014

Dear Max,

Yesterday Enzo and I rode scooters to the light rail station and took the train way out to Rancho Cordova to the Koreana Market. I’ve written about this paradise before, and it’s still paradise, a kind of Noah’s Arc of food of the world: tea and candy and seaweed and rice and salt from Japan, spices and syrups from the Middle East, cheese and butter from France, pickled herring and other pickled things from Sweden, Russian rolled cakes and Persian flatbreads (baked here, I hope), tanks of live frogs and carp and catfish and one turtle and, Enzo’s obsession, sturgeon.

We looked at them for a very long time, twice, and what I want to get down is Enzo’s marvelous shy physical alertness. He was all attention, and I love the way he stands and then crouches down and stands again, so straight and easy, shy but holding his place among the grownups.

After the first round of looking at sturgeon, we walked around and did the tiny bit of shopping on my list, and near the end of a long aisle of tea and candy from all over the world, all beautifully labeled and displayed, we came to a tall end cap of Doritos, all flavors. Enzo stopped in his tracks and held out both arms in a gesture that seemed to mean something like: Ta-da! Or maybe just love.


“One time, twenty electric eels killed three men, make that cowboys. They were found with their fists doubled up, which only happens when you’re electrified.”


“It means when you’re stunned by electric.”


Enzo and I were playing checkers. We each had four Kings and nothing else. “We’re even-Steven,” I said.

“We’re so even-Steve, I might explode.”


After watching his fishing show: “When I’m grown up, I’m going to be catching monsters. In size and attitude.”


He just turned over our Mother’s Day presents: a dark chocolate candy bar for me and a milk chocolate candy bar for Teresa. “Out of my own expense.”