hand-pulled noodles! HAND-PULLED NOODLES! I text you, attach a photo of noodles with beef, onions, and bell peppers in broth. It’s garlicky and warm and delicious, everything I crave when I’m craving noodles on a cold winter’s day — and it’s been a cold winter’s day.
Lagman is from the Uyghur people, and it’s a food common in Central Asia, specifically Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. It’s thought to have Chinese origins (the word “lagman” is thought to come from “lamien” or “lo mein”), and it can be served in a broth or pan-fried. Typically, there’s a lot of garlic, onions, and bell peppers and some kind of meat, though I think pork is avoided because the Uyghur people are Muslim and pork is not halal. The broth we had tasted like there was some tomato in there as well, making for this interesting blend of Asian and Western flavors — which was also there with the fried dumpling/empanada-esque thing we got as a starter. The name eludes me, but it was delicious, hot and steaming and filled with beef and vegetables and served with a tomato sauce on the side.
How was Sheepshead Bay? you ask, and we’re Facetiming as I wait on the subway platform for the Q. It’s almost eleven and cold.
Fine, I say. Luckily the place is right by the subway. We should come here next time you’re in Brooklyn.
I never say no to noodles.
You’d like the tea, too. They add raspberry jam to sweeten it.
Yeah? How was that?
I don’t know. I just drank the tea. I liked the tea.
And how was your friend? First time meeting in person? you ask.
Good. Not awkward. We have a lot in common, but there were also a lot of other people there, I say, and I wonder at the expression that flickers across your face. I wonder if I should change the subject, if it’s weird that I don’t want to talk about my friend, don’t want to linger on this weirdness and let it sit between us. I haven’t seen you in over a week, and I miss you.
Another friend of mine, L, is moving in with her boyfriend, and I’ve been thinking about what a commitment that is. It’s a beautiful, wonderful thing, of course, to have someone you want to commit to and share your life with, but, sometimes, it scares me to think about the human thing that is change, that is, sometimes, someone meeting someone new and feeling that spark of attraction and letting that doubt creep in, that conviction that life is all about change and maybe nothing needs to be forever — maybe this, what we have, maybe we don’t have to be forever.
Is L all moved out? you ask.
Not yet. Tuesday. When are you going to come build me furniture? Shelves and a dresser? And I might want to hang shelves. And a mirror. What’s that look for?! You look like you’d be handy.
… I have no fucking words for that.
I’ll buy you all the langam you want.
… fine. I’ll borrow my friend’s fancy toolkit.
You don’t have your own toolkit?! I’m kinda disappointed.
Again. No fucking words for that.
For that it’s worth, I want us to be enough. I want us to be enough forever.