Where would we be without books? Books teach, inspire, guide and heal us. Whatever the subject, you can always find a book on it. Yes, now we have Google, but the tangibility of a physical book communicates with an individual on a more human level. A level that understands from personal experience the struggles, curiosities and enjoyments that Google can never live up to. I say some things should stay in the past, but books should remain far into our futures.
If there is any inkling inside you to write, this is the day to take pen to paper and connect with the many souls who will be your readers! For those interested here is a rough glimpse of a tasty tale I started writing during National Novel Writing Month (NNWM). If you make it to the end you’ll a least be one recipe richer. Enjoy!
This book is unlike your typical foodie mystery. Here you are in control of your adventures with food. I recommend you use all your senses to help you face the dangers lurking in the kitchen. Sharpen your knives and prepare your mind. If you make the wrong decision, you might be eating alone, out of a can, and in some back alley. Lucky for you, the choice is all yours and you can always go back to choose a different spicy journey. Ultimately, through curiosity and courage you can change your life one meal at a time. By the end of the story, you will have a menu of recipes for a full course meal, that tells your story.
Your adventure begins with a simple, long awaited, getaway trip, that turns out landing you in a familiar, yet foreign country. In order to get back you will need to master the mystery spices that highjack your life. With an unforeseen luggage swap, you inherit a tin filled with unlabeled spices. Soon you learn that these are not any ordinary spices and that it was no mistake that you now possess them.
Arriving to the airport, you are filled with a jolt of excitement. As you step off the airporter, you adjust your mask and grip tightly to your proof of a negative COVID test. With no planned itinerary, a single carry-on, and a book, you feel as though you are almost skipping your way into the airport. This is your solo week. A week to just rest and recover from the political games played at work over the last year. Seven days where you do not need to pick up after anyone, not even yourself. You grin to yourself as you already can hear the ocean waves splashing up against each other and you can almost feel the sand tickling the bottoms of your feet.
Arriving to the ticketing kiosk, you set your carry-on bag down and commence the tedious process of checking in. Once you grab your boarding pass, your heart drops to the pit of your stomach. Your carry-on is missing. You quickly scan 360 degrees around you with no luck. Panic begins to set in, and you feel yourself starting to perspire. Heart pounding so intensely that you feel like falling over. As you lean against a wall, your gaze suddenly focuses in on what looks like your luggage just sitting next to the garbage can in front of you. Then you hear your name called out, “Melinda Cruz…” Your flight was boarding, and you have been given a last call. You rush, grabbing your bag and running to get through security and finally to your gate. Out of breath, you plop into your seat, buckle up and shut your eyes.
Wake up we are landing!
Opening your eyes, with blurry vision, you orient yourself to your economy seating in the middle of the plane. Rubbing your eyes, you can now make out the two exit signs in front of you. Feeling your stomach push up against your diaphragm as the plane begins to descend, you tighten your seatbelt and squeeze the armrest. Looking around, you sense the unsettling commotion, and you ask the kind woman sitting next to you, “What’s going on? How did we get to Chile so early?” The woman looks over to you with soft, wide eyes and explains how they are making an emergency landing in Peru. “PERU! What? Why,” you question with a tone of fear. “It’s alright. We will just need to request a transferring flight once we land and go through customs,” she explained reassuringly. There is something in her voice that really makes you feel safe.
As you thank her, you cannot help but to notice a beautiful silver bracelet that she is wearing, with intricate carvings and imbedded jade stones. “That is a stunning bracelet you have,” you tell her admiringly. She stretches out her arm and turns her wrist as to marvel at it, as well. As she thanks you for the comment, you also notice a tiny marking on her wrist almost like a burn mark. You can’t quite make out what it is, but it reminded you of those horses and cows that are branded, back home. Hers looks like a fat knife with rounded edges at both ends. As much as you want to ask her about it, you do not. The plane safely lands, and you clutch your bag while standing hunched over waiting to join the single file line out to customs.
Finally, making it through customs, you are told by a staunch, short man behind the ticketing counter that there are no available flights for another 5 days. Accepting your predicament, you start thinking through your next steps. Being that you have tried for most of your adult years to forget about being Peruvian, you wonder if you should contact any of your relatives or not. Like many dysfunctional families, you have spent years avoiding awkward, painful memories and have invested in counseling to reassure yourself that “family” does not have to be blood, just loving people you share your life with.