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Miso Soup (Revised) (standard:other, 944 words)
Author: Robert L. RevlandAdded: Jul 30 2001Views/Reads: 2240/1332Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A young couple converses over soup and braves a hard winter in New York City

A few months ago, I happened upon a small, clandestine soup shop in
SoHo, run by an old Japanese woman who refused to serve anything but 
soup.  The woman spoke no English and understood almost nothing that 
was said to her.  She spent the whole day sitting behind a counter, 
knitting next to an old, clunky radiator.  Once in a while she would 
get up and whack the radiator with a cane, scolding it in Japanese. 

The soup shop itself was a simple affair.  Plain, cracked white walls
enclosed a small room with a few tables in it.  The room was lit by two 
big, harsh lights on the ceiling.  The door was nearly invisible from 
the outside, masked by the darkness of the narrow street. 

It was the middle of a freezing winter blizzard.  Janet and I sat at a
table under the stark light, sipping hot miso soup from small red 
bowls.  I smiled at her. 

"Good soup," she said. 

I nodded slowly in response.  "Janet?" I said after taking a sip of my


"Do you have any idea of how youíre going to get home?"  Janet lived in
the far corner of the Bronx, twenty blocks from the nearest Subway. 

"Sure.  Iíll take the Subway." 

"And then walk twenty blocks through the freezing, blinding storm."  I
gave her a questioning look. 

"No.  Iíll take a bus." 

"Youíd freeze to death waiting.  I donít even think the buses are

She sat on that for a second, sipped some soup and shrugged.  "Well, I
guess Iíll have to walk then." 

"Janet, stop kidding yourself.  Come home with me." 

"What?  No, my mom would kill me."  Janetís mom was the most oppressive,
overprotective woman I had ever met.  When Janet told her we were 
having a relationship, she didnít show up at school for two days, and 
when she did, it was obvious that they had had a fight.  And I mean a 
real fight.  There were scratches on her arms and bruises on her face.  
It was horrible.  That was the last time I had asked Janet to stay with 
me.  She had freaked out and yelled at me.  Janet was always jumpy and 
paranoid, but she had calmed down since then, thankfully. 

"Your mom would say itís the smartest thing youíve done in weeks." 

Janet laughed, a hint of nervousness in her voice.  "I doubt that. 
Besides, that wouldnít mean much, coming from my mother.  Iím going to 
go home." 

"Come on, Janet!  Stop being ridiculous.  You canít go out in this
weather and walk twenty blocks!  Thatís suicide!" 

"Well, Iím glad to know you care, but Iím going to do what I think is
the right thing to do." 

"Youíre going to do what your mother thinks is the right thing, not what
you think." 

"Donít tell me what I think.  Thatís the problem with you, you always
think you can tell me what to do.  Well, Iím sick of it!  Weíve been 
together for three months and as sweet and sensitive as you may be, you 
still canít figure out that I donít like that!  Youíre almost as bad as 
my mother!"  That was a blow.  Being compared to Janetís mother was 
like having a museum exhibit done of "Amazing Similarities" between me 
and Machiavelli. 

"Janet, Iím sorry if you feel that way, but youíre overreacting.  Youíre
right, I probably do that a lot, and Iím sorry, but right now, Iím not 

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