An hour later, I woke up from my nap, and put my coat and shoes back on. I didn’t know how long the interview would take and I was determined to see some of the city before I left, just in case I didn’t come back.
I tucked the key in my pocket after I locked the door, and headed downstairs.
“Do you have a map of the city I can borrow?” I asked the same lady who had given me the key.
She handed me a folded sheet of paper from behind her desk. “Here you are!” The Inn is marked with an x, so you’ll know how to get back. Dinner is available from 5 ‘till 8. Be sure you’re back plenty before dark, lots of thieves and pickpockets come out then.”
“Thank you ma’am. I’ll be sure to return before dark.” I left the Inn, the map in my hand. I turned on to Vitmond Road, but instead of turning on to Culle, and going to the train station, I went straight.
My destination was the big museum. Mother had said that she had went there once, and that’s how she knew so much about our history, even though she had lived in the same place almost all her life. It was clearly marked on the map, and best of all, it was near the Inn. Only three streets and a few blocks away. Unfortunately, Brook Avenue was fairly far away, and I would have to leave at 8:30 in order to make it to Mr. Teller’s office on time.
Five minutes later I found myself in front of a magnificent stone building, with stone steps leading up to the door.
I climbed the steps and went to open the door before finding it locked. I was about to turn away and look for another way in, when I noticed a sign posted on the door.
Sunday to Thursday: 10:00am-5:00pm
Disappointed, I walked back down the steps, and headed towards Culle Street. I decided that I would visit the museum the next day if I had time, and instead go to the city center. Brooke Avenue conveniently was also in the city center, so I could find my there as well.
Although most of what I’d seen of the city was busy, I was unprepared for the crowds of people in the center. The smell of cigarette smoke filled my nose and mouth. The constant sound of footsteps and talking made my head spin. For a split second I felt a painful stab of homesickness, but I knew I was here to enjoy the city, not spend the whole time wishing I were at home. Besides, if I weren’t here, I’d be working at the river with Darren, or trying to find the cheapest food at market. I kept my head down and walked on. Everybody seemed suspicious and I kept my distance from them all.
Brooke Avenue was quieter, populated mostly by coffeehouses and offices. I breathed a sigh of relief when I could hear myself think again.
39 Brooke Avenue was a small building with about five different offices in it. Mr. John Teller was the third name listed, and I wrote room 3 on my map as a reminder.
I went back into the city center to try to find a souvenir for Mother and Darren. I knew I couldn’t just get a pretty ornament; it had to have a use. As I walked around, covering my nose from the stifling smells, I saw someone selling small bottles of spices. They were much cheaper than they would be at home, priced at only one and half clinks for a bottle.
“Can these be used for anything?” I asked the man sitting behind the counter.
“Oh yes! These ones can be used in any an’ everything!” He held one up for me to inspect. “They’ll put the taste right on. Makes everything taste good!”
“Which one do you recommend?”
He stared down at the bottles for a minute. “I think this one’s real good!” He passed me a bottle. “They’re all worth gettin’ though.”
I reached into my shoe and pulled out two clinks. “I think I’ll get one bottle.”
He took the coins and gave me back a half clink. “Good choice! You’ll see soon enough it works good as I told you.”
I tucked the small bottle into my pocket, and started heading back towards the Black Wolf’s Inn.
I got there twenty minutes later and returned to my room. I pulled out the bottle and placed a pinch on my tongue. It tasted rich and salty, and as good as he said it would.
After a hearty meal at the Inn, I headed to my room and began reading a book I found wedged in the side of the mattress. It was quite dull, but it gave me something to do.
At 11:00 I slipped under the covers and tried to fall asleep. I had told the women at the desk to knock on my door at 8:00, so I could be up and ready to leave by 8:30.