“What is that?” asked the director, poking my bottle with a pencil. “What are you drinking now?” I looked over my shoulder. I was painting a rather dodgy flower on our chalk board. If all the minions in the grocery store can paint produce in such exacting detail, I can surely replicate a single flower. “Basil seed . . . banana . . . honey . . . ” I murmured, deciding that no one would possibly mistake the flower for flames of destruction if it were pink rather than red. “They look like pollywogs.”
“Like what?”
“Tadpoles. The seeds look like tadpoles.” I made some noise of affirmation. The flower was growing wildly.
“They’re crunchy, Lola. It’s actually pretty good, despite its looks. Hey, I might have to get me some of this stuff.” She walked off holding it up to the light, looking at the little seeds suspended like so many polka dots.

Two days later a case of basil drink appeared at school. I grabbed one and toasted Elsa during break. “To cultural understanding via oral – via food.” She smiled. “I wish the director were feeling better,” she said, picking at the label of her drink. “What happened now?” I asked, stomach sinking. She shifted one shoulder and shook her head. “I don’t know. She just says she has a headache and doesn’t feel too well and – what’s wrong, Lola?” I had covered my mouth with both hands.

I was thinking about mono.