Fola sat at the table, staring in disbelief at the dish before him. At this point, Wahala by Portable is the only thing that he wanted to hear from the blasting speakers in the outdoor area. The pasta, tossed in a greenish-white cream, was speckled with chamomile leaves and artichokes. He couldn’t understand why the Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, would use such bizarre ingredients in their pasta dish.
As he sat in silence, lost in his thoughts, he heard a stern voice break through his reverie. “Fola, what’s wrong?” It was Dumebi, his girlfriend, staring at him with a furrowed brow. He realized he had been lost in thought for several minutes.
“Don’t tell me you’ve started with one of your food trances again. Today is about us, remember?” Dumebi scolded him, but with a hint of amusement in her voice. She knew how passionate he was about food and often jokingly referred to him as ‘Opeyemi Famakin the second’.
Fola chuckled sheepishly and replied, “Of course, it’s about us, Mebi. But come on, why would they use chamomile leaves in pasta? It’s just so…weird. I expected more from a well rated Chinese restaurant.”
Dumebi laughed and shook her head. “Okay, why don’t we pretend the last ten minutes didn’t happen and start this over?.” Fola leaned in and kissed her hand, relieved that the tension had dissipated.
As they started to eat, Fola struggled to enjoy his dish. The chamomile leaves gave the pasta a strange, bitter taste that he couldn’t quite place. He watched her as she happily dug into her bowl of basmati rice and couldn’t help but feel envious of how she enjoyed restaurant foods without needing to constantly explore new and unique flavors.
Just as he was about to give up on his dish completely, he noticed something strange happening in his mouth. His tongue felt swollen and tingly, and he could feel his throat closing up. Panic set in as he realized he was having an allergic reaction.
“Dumebi, I think I’m allergic to something in this dish,” he managed to choke out. She looked at him in alarm as he reached for his glass of water, trying to wash down the sensation.
The waiter rushed over, looking concerned. “Sir, are you okay? Is there something wrong?” Fola shook his head, still struggling to speak. “I think it’s the avocado cream,” he managed to say before breaking into a fit of coughing.
Dumebi quickly called for the manager and explained the situation, her face etched with worry.
Fola couldn’t help but feel a sense of dread as they left the restaurant, because he knew that this wasn’t the end of his food allergies. ‘Would I have to stick to basics now?’ Fola pondered.
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