NINETEEN, 2.0

The tea burnt her lips, but Gina wasn’t worried about it, as, after all, the good taste was all that mattered. Life’s simple pleasures, usually hard to find, had managed to find their way to her, finally. Food, drink, kisses, nothing ever mattered more than the taste, and the good taste had been hard to find of late.

A raunchy, raw smell was perhaps the worst, one that reminded her of the garbage can she grew up beside as a young girl. But if the final product ended up tasting like a salted pretzel, with the texture of a gummy bear, then what did the smell have to do with it, anyway?

She waited for the burning to die down, then sipped the tea again. Across the table, Gina’s brother, Sam, stared at her. Sam had a look in his eyes that balanced on the fence between pity and hatred, and Gina couldn’t place exactly where the hate came from. Gina did not have a hateful bone in her aching body. 60 years on this planet, in this city, with barely any memory of their parents, or even Sam’s existence.

But, Sam was Mayor, now. He’d admitted that the photos of her in the paper had scared him, enough to come and see her, give her some money.

Good.

Gina had spent her last dime on that photographer, and this tea would be the first of many good-tasting things to come her way, an idea that gave her a chuckle.

Sam frowned, “You find this funny, then?”

“Sam, all I’m laughing at is your inability to appreciate an opportunity. Now, smile for the cameras, won’t you?”

She raised her mug, smiled at the reporters outside, and after a few seconds, so did Sam.

“Give them a taste of all the good that is to come,” she whispered, sipping the rest of her tea.

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