We ended our long day trip out to Long Island today with a stop at Tangra Masala, one of my all-time favorite restaurants that specializes in Indian Chinese food in my old neighborhood in Queens, Elmhurst. As we are ordering and eating, I am remembering how I wanted to take Ed to eat here when he came to New York, but there was no way that my mom or dad would have been able to eat it. My mom would have been annoyed it was Indian anything, and my dad would have passed out from how hot and spicy the food was. So in the end, I never got to take him. Ed loved hot and spicy food. He and I both got our mother’s pretty considerable heat tolerance. He also loved Indian food, but as a family we never ate it together unless it was just the two of us.
I thought a lot this evening about Ed and all the things he never had a chance to do, things he was pretty much robbed of because of our parents and how they prevented him from evolving and growing into a true adult. Something as basic as eating at this restaurant, or as frustrating as not being allowed to go to a cousin’s wedding because he would, in their opinion, shame the family, or as terrible as not being allowed to drive the family car into his thirties — the stories just get more and more ludicrous as I remember them and write them all down. Some of these things have been forced on me as well — I rarely got to drive despite being licensed to drive. My mom praised other people my age for driving and being independent, yet she refused to give that opportunity to Ed or me. Without being aware of it, they just didn’t want us to become adults, even though they thought they did everything they could to make us into adults. “Just be an adult! Can’t you do that?!” My mom would scream at Ed a few times a year in his 20s and into his 30s. Most of the time, Ed never yelled back. He knew he was powerless. Neither of them would ever empower or imbue him with the confidence and self-respect he needed to have a fair chance at life. My life at home is full of painful memories, all of which end in Ed’s premature and untimely and unfair death. These memories always seem to creep into my head at the most random times.