Picky Cherry

Originally published on January 25th, 2013 by Dimitri Bouniol. #FNADNST

Cherry was afraid of the unknown when she was little.

This fear of hers was most obvious when you watched her eat.

Despite her name, she had never had cherries until she was 12.

Nor a variety of other delectable foods.

She simply enjoyed the same meal she was used to, every day of her short life.

It wasn't clear exactly why she was so afraid of things she didn't know about.

She knew that if she tried something new, she might like it.

But there was still something deep within her that prevented this.

Once she turned 12, however, something changed about her.

Until that point, she had been living with her grandma in a little house far from most villages.

It was a cozy lifestyle there.

Not too many people would visit.

Day in and day out was the same.

But once she turned 12, something inside her made her a tiny bit more curious.

She hadn't really explored the house much, despite living in it all her life.

She didn't even care about who her parents were either — it just didn't occur to her that her father would have had a diary hidden under the floorboard in the room she slept in.

That day, she got bored of her current lifestyle.

As Cherry was walking back and forth in frustration of not knowing what to do for the day, nor wanting to do anything to begin with, she noticed the faint difference in sound her foot made as it knocked onto the wooden floor.

Repeating the movement to make sure it wasn't her imagination, she knelt down and knocked it with her fist.

Realizing that the plank was a bit loose, she ran to the kitchen to grab a fork, and pried the floor open to discover that diary.

After fetching it, she quickly closed it, making sure no one was looking, and brushed the dust off of the old notebook.

Cherry soon forgot about her boredom, and started flipping through the pages.

It was filled with writing — some long passages, some short lists — and even had detailed sketches of things she had never seen before.

There were maps included as well, and even writing that looked like a whole bunch of other drawings altogether.

She chose a random page, and started reading.

"Yesterday, I discovered this wonderful fruit! I don't know what it's called yet, but it has a delectable sweetness to it, combined with a delicate sourness…"

Skimming ahead, she continued reading.

"… I think I'll collect more and bring some for her! I'm sure she'll be happy to try this delicacy. The natives here called them a 'Cherry' — what a wonderful name!"

Suddenly, Cherry herself became very interested in the contents of the notebook.

She had never before thought about what her name meant, but for this person to describe it with such enthusiasm, it must have been a good meaning.

For the next week, she poured herself into it.

Little by little, she discovered that the writer was her father, and he was always trying to make her mother happy.

Together, they had set off and discovered many cultures, but the thing they had most fun describing was the foods they encountered.

In fact, almost the entire notebook was filled with recipes they had encountered in their travels.

When Cherry showed her grandma one of them, which her father had said was the best thing he had ever eaten, she had no clue what half of the ingredients even were.

Dissatisfied, Cherry continued to drown her thoughts in her parents adventures until she could no longer take it.

Just 3 months after she turned 12, she left a note for her grandma, and left in the middle of the night.

She knew that it was irresponsible of her to do, but she didn't want to admit this sudden change in her.

Thankfully, her notebook detailed what it was like to go on journeys, so she adequately prepared herself for the adventure ahead.

Upon reaching the first village, she was exhausted beyond description.

She had never traveled so far before, and to do so in one go took its tole on her.

Tired of life and full of doubt whether this was a good idea, she fell asleep on the side of a road.

Luckily for her, a gentle person had found her, and picker her up bringing her into his home to get a proper sleep.

When she woke up, her nose immediately reacted to the sweet fragrance in the air.

It was a smell she had never encountered before, so full of mystery and complexion.

"Did you wake up?" the man asked, while serving her a bowl of soup that made up this fragrance.

However, no matter how interesting it smelled, it did not make her want to eat it any more.

She had never seen a soup colored in such a way.

"Go on, don't be shy" the mad continued.

Cherry picked up the spoon, and twirled it a few times in the bowl.

What was she doing, she thought.

She mustered up all the courage to leave and explore new things, but had hit a roadblock.

The notebook, unfortunately, how never outlined what her father did when he didn't want to try something.

In fact, he seemed like he was willing to try anything.

Helped by the growls of her stomach, she listed the spoon, full of the wonderful-smelling soup, and swallowed it in one go.

Rather than taste something, as she had expected, she felt a burning sensation go down her chest.

"Easy there!" the man said while rushing for a cup of water.

"You need to blow on it first, like this:" he said, while lifting a spoon himself, blowing on it twice, and drinking it.

Following his example, Cherry tried again, and this time properly aquatinted herself with this soup, which was the best tasting thing she had ever had.

After the meal, she enthusiastically told the man about everything she wanted to do, about the notebook, and about trying these things called Cherries.

Unfortunately, the man didn't know about cherries, but he did know about some of the ingredients listed in the recipes she showed him.

After a long night's with of sleep, the girl continued her journey.

Following the man's instructions, she heard east to find another village.

He had brought out a map, and traced back the route her father had took to get there, and although his map wasn't nearly as detailed and didn't include any of the farther villages, he did find the first few from where they were.

Continuing her journey, Cherry discovered all sorts of delicacies.

Little by little, she was less afraid to try new things.

Of course, every now and they, she would discover something that was truly not edible.

One example was when she failed to make a trip to the next village, and had to camp out for the night.

Hungry, and enthusiastic of all the different things she had eaten up until then, she picked up a piece of wood and started chewing on it.

Unfortunately for her, she was greeted by a handful of bitter termites, and vowed to never do that again.

The policy she came up with for herself was to try things at least twice.

The first was to discover what she was eating, and to create an unbiased opinion on it.

The second was to discover the more subtle flavors it had.

Usually, that second bite made her always want to have a third, just to "make sure", but that usually meant she liked it.

As she sampled more and more foods, she was able to isolate individual flavors herself.

It was truly a great skill, since she was able to offer suggestions to the cooks of the regions she was visiting.

Many times, her suggestions greatly improved the dish she was eating, leaving the chef so happy that they didn't require payment for the food.

Others, Cherry was less lucky though, since the chef in question only felt disrespected, a state you don't want to put them in when you don't have any money to pay for the food to begin with.

Unfortunately, no one had yet known what a cherry was.

She nonetheless continued her journey.

Little by little, she got closer to the regions described in the surrounding pages, and continued to try new things.

At this point, she was no longer afraid of trying anything, but she still felt this emptiness much like she felt when she discovered the notebook.

She needed to, no matter what, find out what this cherry tasted like.

One day, as she was asking a merchant if he had heard of such a fruit, she had explained her story.

That merchant however knew a lot more that she did apparently.

As she got half way through her story, the merchant widened his eyes and asked her who this person was.

When she answered her father, and told him her name was Cherry, he started laughing, and explained that he was good friends with him.

She spent the night with this man's family, and thoroughly enjoyed the meal his wife cooked for them while listening to stories about her parents.

She also learned that they both didn't have much time to live when they set out for their journey, so they decided to try everything the world had to offer.

Little after her father had returned home with her pregnant mother, he passed away, while her mother also died during childbirth.

Although the man was so sad to tell Cherry this, she didn't mind.

After all, she didn't want to meet her parents through her adventure — she wanted to free herself of the restraints she had stubbornly set on herself.

The man did have one good thing to say though.

She told Cherry to follow him outside to the back of the house.

Although it was dark outside, she could clearly see the silhouette of a large tree basked in moonlight.

"When I heard your father died, I planted this tree in his honor. He gave me many instructions toward how to grow it properly… it was quite hard! But I managed." the man proudly recounted.

Cherry slowly walked towards the tree, and with help from the man, got a boost just high enough to grab one of the marble sized fruit hanging from their long stems.

Having been warned to not chew too hard, she tried one.

It was unbelievably sour!

He explained that they weren't quite ripe yet, but would be in a few weeks if she wanted to stay.

After that, she had to promise to go home, as her grandma was probably worried sick, but she complied.

Every day, she say outside watching the tree.

As thanks, she would help around the house, and all three of them tried the many recipes her father left them.

When the day came that they were finally ready, the man went out and picked a whole bunch without letting her know.

Since she was out in the village buying them ingredients, the couple started making an assortment of dishes out of the cherries.

When she got home, she had unsuspectedly tasted all of them, begging them to tell her what the ingredient was.

The man's answer was to give her a single cherry, which she enjoyed with a huge smile across her face.


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