can't say no to him

chapter 1 of 5 — inspiring the hunger

Growing up as a healthy vegan family, Dusty and his Dad were both lean people. Dusty was growing tall at about 6'1" and weighed about 165lb--just an inch and 5 pounds less than Dad.

A few weeks after Dusty's 17th birthday, his mother died on impact from an unexpected landslide in the mountains. The trauma caused by her loss was certainly carried by Dusty and his father, both needing time off school and work respectively for grieving.

In the first month following the disaster, Dusty and Dad had lost their appetites. They both dropped 10 pounds unintentionally. Dad noticed his son's smaller frame... Dusty was still growing, and he needs good food to help him thrive. If his mother was around, she would have made sure he was well fed. She wasn't around, though. Despite being clouded with misery, Dad knew he needed to fulfil the duties mother had left behind. It's time for the family to journey back towards happiness.

Dad: 'Dusty...'
Dus ty: '...'
Dad: 'Dusty... I think... we're not eating enough lately...'
Dusty: '...'
Dad: 'It's been hard since... you know... and I guess neither of us feel like eating... but your mother wouldn't want us to become frail and unhealthy...'
Dusty: '*sigh*'
Dad: 'C'mon, let's go out for dinner tonight...'

When it comes to eating meals lately, Dad had been dishing himself half portions, and regular portions to Dusty... but Dusty was leaving his plate half-untouched. Dad thought about this. If he takes Dusty to a very expensive restaurant, Dusty would feel financially obliged to finish his food. At least in theory...

They went to "Umami & Jackfruit", an upper-class Japanese restaurant well praised for their plant-based 'imitation meats'. Walking into the restaurant, Dusty's senses were awakened by the intense aromas of fine food. It distracted him from his misery, and Dad saw the fog in his son's eyes gently fade away. When Dusty sat down, he felt a pain in his tummy, and realised it was hunger. Dad ordered the banquet set for both of them, and every 10 minutes they were greeted with a new dish. At $70 per person, Dusty didn't want to waste his dad's money.

The jackfruit pork was swimming in a glossy sour plum and sweet pineapple sauce, the tofu duck was oozing with salty vegetable fats, the mushroom-protein beef was laced in a spicy curry, the soy-protein chicken was seasoned with maple syrup and a hint of lemon, and the black-bean stirfry had the most varied of vegetation. Stuffing themselves with rice between meals, Dusty and Dad were starting to feel full, but with each meal so enticing, so delicious, they simply couldn't hold back. Their 8-course meal was concluded with a classic deep-fried banana fritter, glazed with rice malt syrup, dusted with icing sugar, and surrounded by the creamiest coconut ice-cream they'd ever had.

Dad was so pleased to see his son eating so enthusiastically, and neither of them let an ounce of leftovers on their plates. Maybe tonight was the start for them to get their lives back on track again.
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