Grandmother H rarely sat at the table with us for dinner. Perhaps because her back was bent so badly with arthritis, or perhaps because she had long grown accustomed to having her meals at ground level. She had a tray to herself, bowls of dipping sauces, rice, soup, single-servings of whatever my parents and my brother and I shared at the dinner table.

I can picture her sitting on the carpet, but I can’t remember what color the carpet was. Some kind of dark mauve? It was traded out for wood flooring many years ago. She used her hands to eat with a deft neatness that I never acquired. I wonder if she was ever lonely, whether she ever wished that we’d all eat together, on a slightly raised platform like in Cambodia. She would sit facing the sliding glass doors that looked out into the backyard. Maybe the all the green comforted her.