December 17, 2014 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“Gaikvya, you have to eat something.” Her teammate, Kelmoor, prodded her gently with a finger. “I know that you don’t like it but you have barely eaten all day, or yesterday.”
Gaikvya wrinkled her nose. “I know that I must eat the food to continue to do well.” She didn’t want to continue to do well. It had started raining, out of season, hard and cold, the night before. It had sent her back home, in her mind, to the way the rain landed on the rush-and-metal roofs. She didn’t want to hear the sound on the metal-and-mud buildings anymore. She didn’t want to smell an ocean that was just different enough from her home ocean.
“Gainyana, if you don’t eat, then you will fail your classes, and so will we.” She didn’t know where Kelmoor had come up with the nickname, but he had decided she needed something longer since her name was so short, and Gainyana it was. She hadn’t told him it was a type of fish, the gainyana-da. She liked it better as her own secret.
“Here, maybe this can help a little bit.” Pizhraa, their second teammate, plopped down in the seat to the other side of Gaikvya. “Gai, I know that everything is tasting strange and unpleasant to you, so I talked to a couple of the Instructors in Art House. They understood – one of them, her mother was from the east coast, actually – and they found me these.”
The spice case was a west-coast sort of thing, its little containers all set into another container, lidded for moving around, because the west-coast and northern Calenyena spiced everything and then spiced their spices for good measure.
Gaikvya opened it anyway. She didn’t want to be rude and her teammates were trying to make her feel more comfortable.
When the lid came off the case, scents and tastes snuck into Gaikvya’s nose and assaulted her mouth. These weren’t the sharp, earthy smells of a normal west-coast spice case. These were sharp, astringent, salty…
“You put my house in a spice case. You gave me a bit of home.”
“I thought maybe…” Pizhraa gestured at the plate of uneaten food. “It would make it taste better?”
“It already makes life taste better. Thank you.”
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