Something New

Illustrated by Elisa Chavarri

“Just try it! You’ll like it!” Amara says with a wide grin, her mouth already full of something green. I gulp and look at the bowls in front of me. One is full of something yellow and mushy and another has red paste in it. The smell coming from all the food is making my eyes water. Amara says that spices are the most important part of every meal, but I think the spices are making me sick. This isn’t what food looks like at home, I think. I wish I had a bowl of macaroni and cheese in front of me.

“Excuse me,” I mumble, pushing away from the table. I hurry to the bathroom and lock the door behind me, splashing cold water on my face.

“You just have to eat one bite. Just one! It’s always good to try new things,” I tell myself in the mirror, repeating what Dad says whenever he wants me to try something new. Jada, God created a big world full of wonderful things! You’ll never know what you’re missing until you try it! But it doesn’t work, and my stomach still hurts. I sigh and sit on the floor.

When Amara invited me to come over last week, I could hardly wait. Amara’s new to my school this year, and until she came, I didn’t really have friends. I believed Amara was God’s answer to my prayer for friends. I was so excited! Amara loves reading as much as I do, and I love her accent. She even teaches me how to say things in Hindi. Hindi is the language she spoke at home in India. I think everything about Amara is super cool.

Except, right now, everything isn’t super cool. Pretty soon, Amara and her family are going to wonder where I am. But if I try to eat something, I might gag. Or worse, I might throw up everywhere and Amara will never invite me over again.



Read the rest of the story in your January issue of SHINE brightly!