After lunch, I bump into two of my friends, Isabelle and Diana. I love these eighteen-year-olds, who exude energy even when they’re clearly exhausted. One of them, Isabelle, who is from Eastern Europe, offers me a hard candy. I don’t really like hard candy–while my sweet tooth is tusk-sized, it prefers dark chocolate and homemade baked goods (preferably involving chocolate)–but I accept. It’s a Mentos, one of those fruity flavors that tastes nothing like fruit.
Isabelle watches me chew on the candy. “What do you think of the–” she pauses, contemplates, then mimes sucking on a candy by pushing her tongue into her cheek.
“Mm, it’s nice,” I say.
She doesn’t seem satisfied, and turns to my other friend. “How do you say–” Then she points to her tooth.
Great. I must have some embarrassingly giant herb wedged between my teeth. I need to start carrying floss.
“Um, is there something in my teeth?”
“No no no!” She says something to Diana, who is attempting to translate.
“An ulcer?” Diana offers.
No. Please no. I arrived in Israel with two open cold sores on my lips, which didn’t help with my natural self-consciousness. I felt like I should have worn leper bells. Had they recurred already?
“I have an ulcer on my face???” I ask.
“No no no!” After another moment of consultation, she arrives at the word: flavor.
“Do you like the flavor?” she asks.
“Mm, it’s nice,” I say. Then I head out to check my teeth/cold sore situation.