Isabel Quintero writes a lovely personal essay about divorce, longing, tacos, and Mexican cuisine and culture. (Careful if you read this when you’re hungry — I really wouldn’t be surprised if you were salivating by the end of it!)

I could have ordered asada or buche, but the al pastor eclipsed everything else. It was like the first time I had good sex—I didn’t know it could be like that. I ate seven tacos. I didn’t want to stop but my body told me to keep going and I listened to my body. Nothing I’d eaten in an empty lot or at liquor store counter or food truck in California compared to the level of excellence that was served to me on a bright blue plastic plate. I watched the taquero slice with such swiftness that his knife was not a tool but an extension of his thick brown arm. These tacos had to have been made by hands that inherited this particular kind of magic making.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.