The Other Nose

Entering the kitchen, I pretended that nothing was wrong, exchanging a dobroe utro with Valera and Svetlana, my hosts/surrogate parents, as they bustled about the tiny kitchen in their usual morning frenzy. I sat down to salted fish, sauerkraut, and unhulled buckwheat, a bouquet of smells that twisted my stomach every morning since arriving in Russia.

But there was no hiding; right there on my brow, not high enough to tuck beneath a cap, which would have been impolite to wear at the table anyway, was a second nose.

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