Sei is slicing lemons to make lemon tea when he remembers that Kai liked lemonade. His hand slips; he cuts his finger.
Kai liked lemonade, and would bring home a bagful of lemons from time to time.
So many? Sei would ask.
Kai would just smile and say, I like lemonade, and put them away in the refrigerator.
That's too many, Sei would tell him, and note down the cost in their budget.
They'll keep. Kai would say, and that was the end of that debate.
They did keep. There were still two left in the refrigerator when Sei left Japan.
His finger stings, both from the cut and the acid juice. Sei puts his finger in his mouth and sucks at the cut as Kai used to do for him. He tastes the salt-iron of blood and the sourness of the lemon. The stinging recedes, superseded by the sensation of warm wetness around his finger.
Sei pulls out his finger and presses the cut against the wet pulp of the bloodied lemon slice for a moment, then discards the slice and washes his hands. He applies a plaster and continues cutting lemon slices.